Time to Step Up for Horses

Two days from now the House of Reprsentatives will begin to debate H.R. 503, called the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. The legislation is designed to put an end to a vile industry that long ago should have been put out of our misery. Last year, approximately 100,000 horses were brutally killed in this country-- filleted while they still were alive-- and then processed into meat at foul, polluting, dark, foreign-owned slaughterhouses. The meat then is shipped overseas for human consumption. Is that the sort of industry you want in this country? Is that the way you want to see horses treated? Think it doesn't say a lot about us as a people that we haven't already put a stop to this machinery of death?

As devoted readers of the Bench know, I am not a neutral observer on this one. I own two horses and I have recently become an outspoken advocate against horse slaughter. When I read the bogus, hysterical arguments against the pending legislation I think of the rationale that pervaded our experience in Vietnam. Then, we were told that we had to destroy villages in order to save them from the Viet Cong. Now, we are told, we have to brutally kill horses in order to save them from neglect. The argument was a fallacy in Vietnam and it is a fallacy now.

You don't need to be a lawyer or a lobbyist or even a horse enthusiast to decide where you stand on this one. Either you stand with the slaughterers or you stand with the horses. Either you continue to give these foreign-owned companies a free pass to kill our horses under indecent conditions or you decide enough is enough. What we would never permit to happen to our dogs and our cats is happening every day to our horses. Is that okay with you? All of you who wrote so passionately about Barbaro, the great Thoroughbred, and who sent him flowers and cards and candy; is horse slaughter okay with you?

Nothing in H.R. 503 precludes any horse owner from euthanizing his or her own sick or injured horse and the money our government currently spends subsidizing those grim companies -- two are in Texas one is in Illinois -- could be spent ensuring that the horses who aren't slaughtered are humanely treated. If you want to help the horses, go to this link and follow the instructions. It's time.

By Andrew Cohen |  September 5, 2006; 4:15 PM ET
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Awesome article...see what the Pet Lady says about the issue...my very best to you.


Humanely yours,
Alicyn Leigh
Pets columnist and more...
The Long Island Press

Posted by: ALICYN LEIGH - Pets Columnist for the Long Island Press | September 5, 2006 09:26 PM

Andrew, frankly, I don't get your objections. Are you against the use of horses as meat or do you believe that horses can be used for meat but should just be euthanized in a more human manner?

These are two very different principles to stand on. If you're against the first, what's the principle? Are you a vegetarian? Are you against the consumption of all animals by humans? If that is the case, then the methods of euthanasia are irrelevant. It wouldn't matter whether the horse was killed in the calmest, most peaceful manner possible. So, if that's the case, don't start making irrelevant arguments about horses being "brutally killed".

On the other hand, if you're simply against inhumane euthanasia methods, then you shouldn't be supporting the banning of horse slaughterhouses. Rather, you should be pushing for a change in the euthanasia methods.

I suspect, based on your post, that you actually don't fit either principle. In fact, I doubt you have a principle at all here, other than a small-minded one of wanting everyone else to regard horses as you do.

Your desire to ban horse slaughterhouses is merely a desire to project your own personal feelings onto the government and make everyone else in the country and the world live them. Frankly, I find that kind of attitude to be one of the most detrimental to our constitutional democracy.

You fit right in with religious conservatives who don't want government interfering with their lives but absolutely want government to interfere with the lives of (fill in the blank: gays, Terri Schiavo, etc.).

Just because you don't want to eat horsemeat doesn't mean you have the right to tell others the same. I hope that you post again about this issue and explain whether you have an actual principle on this or just want your own personal preferences foisted on everyone else.

Posted by: Don't get it | September 5, 2006 10:29 PM

Oh, and as a side note, I have no desire to eat horse meat. However, so long as I believe that eating animals is morally acceptable (it was certainly acceptable throughout our history and our bodies are designed to accept meat), I cannot object on principle to the slaughter of horses or the eating of horse meat by others.

Posted by: Just don't get it | September 5, 2006 10:31 PM

I completely disagree with the previous poster. To answer the questions you asked Andrew: I am not a vegetarian, but I am against the use of horse meat. More to the point, I am against profiting from something that goes so against the grain of our culture.

Why horses and not cows, bison, rabbit or any other kind of meat? I don't know. Somewhere along the lines, we drew a cultural line at horses. It would be unfathomable to walk into a US restaurant and find horse meat. If we find eating horse meat unpalatable, to be we should find profiting from the practice equally unpalatable.

Posted by: kc | September 5, 2006 11:57 PM

Actually, kc, you couldn't have disagreed with my previous posts because all I did was ask questions.

You certainly fit into one of my categories -- the unprincipled one who does not mind imposing his/her own personal values on the rest of society.

Posted by: don't get it | September 6, 2006 08:22 AM

I have a rescue horse but I still don't think this is a good idea. My horse was taken away from cruel owners. Is that a better life then going to slaughter? Where exactly do you think these horses will go? I know how much money it takes to care for a horse especially one that is injured or older. Who is going to pay for the feed, vet, farrier, shelter for these horses? Are the folks that want to save these horses willing to fund the shelters needed to care for them for the rest of their lives?

Posted by: Horsegal | September 6, 2006 08:24 AM

Wow, horse slaughter equals Viet Nam rational. I thought this was a legal blog, not a "I'm wealthy enough to own horses and I am emotionally aghast at the thought of eating these magnificent beasts." There's not much diffence between cows and horses. If you're going to eat one, you might as well eat the other. Judging from the initial Karr comments, and now this, Mr. Cohen is quite the emotional fellow. Mr. Cohen, the next time you're cutting into a 24 once porterhouse at Mortons, don't think too hard about where it comes from.

Posted by: Dave, Freeport, IL | September 6, 2006 09:04 AM

Most importantly Horses are not bred in America to eat. And this is an American issue not a Vegetarian issue. Comparing cattle with Horses is like comparing a pigeon with the Bald Eagle. A very high percentage of the Horses that are slaughtered are Thoroughbreds.The meat from Race Horses is filled with many different drugs. Why anyone would be allowed to eat this meat is beyond me.
The USDA is got some explaining to do !
Many Horse owners wake up to find their beloved Horses stolen. Stolen and then sold to slaughter. These Horses are being transported from auctions in crowded cattle trailers that are too short with no food or water for up to 2 days and many arrive at slaughter house DOA. They are then killed like cattle with a captive bolt gun. The farthest thing from being humane that I have ever seen.Horse owners need to step up to the plate and take responsibility for their Horses and humanely euthanize them like we do our cats and dogs. Bill Heller Author of AFTER THE FINISH LINE THE RACE TO END HORSE SLAUGHTER said he could sum up this complicated issue in just 4 words "NO NEED JUST GREED". The American people will show how they feel about Horse Slaughter in America when we win big tomorrow Sept 7th in Washington DC.

Posted by: Carrie Gobernatz | September 6, 2006 11:19 AM

Well said! Thank you!
Bay Minette, AL

Posted by: Robin | September 6, 2006 09:13 PM

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