Horse Slaughter Essay
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The topic of horse slaughter doesn’t usually come up very often in everyday conversation. Horse slaughter is more of an implicit subject, which your everyday person doesn’t know much about. Because it is highly controversial, it has gone through the cycle of being banded and then reinstated twice in the last 5 years. With being involved in the horse industry my entire life, I have witnessed the effects first hand. Some people see it as killing pets, animal cruelty, and morally wrong.
However, I see it as a source of income, a way to stop the starvation and abuse of horses, an export industry for the United States, as well as a quality meal for in times of despair. The history of people eating horse meat dates back to the early 1800’s when the French were at war with Russia. Emperor Napoleon advised his starving soldiers to eat the dead battlefield horses. Because horse meat is sweet, lean, protein-rich, and finely textured, it sufficed as a quality meal.
Due to the high cost of living in France, in 1866, the French government legalized the consumption of horse meat because it could be bought at a lower price than pork or beef. (Sherman) Countries like France, Belgium, Germany, Chili, Japan and many others still consume horse meat today. The history of horse meat for human consumption in the United States has a similar story. “No longer will the will the worn-out horse wend his way to the boneyard; instead he will be fattened up in order to give the thrifty another source of food supply.
This new meat is to be put upon the city’s platter under the protection and encouragement of the Board of Health. The Board at its meeting yesterday made several radical changes in the Sanitary Code, and one of them was to revoke the present section that forbids the sale in this city of horse flesh as food. ” (Allow Horse Meat for Food in City) This is a segment from an article by the New York Times, published in 1915. Also in the article, Health Commissioner Haven Emerson discussed that the houses that slaughter horses are to follow the same protocol and inspections as any other slaughter house does.
During the 1930’s low supply and high cost of pork and beef made horse meat rise in popularity. Again during World War II, people were again in the same predicament. Inflation during the early 1970’s raised the cost of traditional meats; Time Magazine reported from Carlson’s, a butcher shop in Westbrook, CT, that they were selling over 6,000 pounds of horse meat a day. (Weil) In 2006, the House of Representatives voted to end horse slaughter; the bill passed to make the killing and selling American horses for human consumption an illegal practice in the United States.
Today in the US, people do not consume horse meat on a whole sale basis. But because many other counties do, the exporting of horse meat is a huge industry. When the ban was in place, US horses were being transported to Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered instead. From 2006 to 2010 the increase in horses being exported to Canada and Mexico was 148 and 660 percent. They are loaded up on trailers and shipped across the boarders, often times going days without food or water until they reach their destination. The regulations, or lack thereof, are different than in the US. Shesgreen) Valley Meat Co. owner Rick De Los Santos brings up valid points in his interview with NBC News last week. The majority of people, who are against slaughter, are getting caught up on the “ick” factor of killing our “pets”. However, the process is the exact same for cows and pigs.
The horse is struck in the forehead with a tool known as a captive gun. The captive gun an air pressured gun which launches a metal bolt against the horses head rendering it unconscious before it is exsanguinated, “bled out. Meat plants are inspected regularly, expected to follow code, and are fined heavily if found otherwise. He also makes mention that he is sending horse carcasses to Mexico instead of live horses. If the horses are killed in the US they are still under regulation. (NM Meat Plant Owner Defends Horse Slaughter Plan)
I often hear the statement “Dead horses don’t help the economy! ” But before it was banned; the export industry in the US was nearly $65 million dollars a year. That is $65 million dollars that could be coming into the US, but isn’t. Shesgreen) Mr. De Los Santos mentioned in his interview that due to the closing of his plant, he laid off over 160 workers at his small scale plant. With our economy in its current state, I believe we should not be cutting corners with people losing jobs or missing out on opportunities to make money. On the contrary, “Horses were never raised or bread specifically as a source of food because they have a much lower grain and grass efficiency rate then cows do. They take a lot more food and time to fatten up.
Their immune systems are also not as strong s cows and they have the tendency to get sick easier; which can cause weight loss,” explained veterinarian Kathy Ott, owner and senior vet of Clearly Lake Equine Hospital. I did an interview with Dr. Ott knowing that I would receive a perspective of the opposing argument. She referenced that because horses are not specifically raised to be consumed; the vaccines, medications, injections and feed that they receive have not all been certified or regulated by the FDA. (Ott) Humane Society says; owner responsibility is the answer. It is a matter of personal responsibility when someone takes on a horse as a companion or work animal.
If an owner can no longer care for a horse, that person has a responsibility to seek out other options for placing the horse or to have it humanely euthanized, rather than simply try to profit by selling it to slaughter. This is a valid point; however, in the state and federal legislation passed thus far in the US, the right to kill horses humanely has never been challenged, with the exception of those falling under the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program. In the USA, horses remain property and anyone can “humanely” kill his or her own horse without fear of sanction including euthanasia or gunshot.
How are do we know everyone one out there kills there horse on the first try? They could have possibly miss the vein or miss the shot. PETA is not against horse slaughter! PETA is disgusted by the idea of transporting of horses to foreign destinations, which increases their stress, probability of sickness and injury. They believe that the previous congressional action that ended the slaughter of horses in the U. S. was terribly inadequate solution, and had only made matters worse for the problem of unwanted and abandoned horses. The organization is a major advocate of local euthanasia or gunshot.
They are constantly looking to find a better solution to unwanted and abandoned horse problem. Slaughtering is at the bottom of their list; however, right now it is necessary to prevent more suffering and starvation of the unwanted horse. (PETA) On November 11th, 2012, President Obama signed the ban to abolish the ban on horse slaughter. Horse meat, for the past 100 years, has had an influential effect on America. It has helped us in times of need, as well has been a huge amount of income for the US. With it still being so controversial on an ethical basis, I am sure it will continue to go through the cycle of being banned and reopened.