14 Nov 2010 - Horses Need Our Help-Humanely.

I continue to get e-mails from people very concerned about what is happening to abandoned horses. The number of abandoned horses has grown sharply since Hollywood movie stars were able to convince State Legislatures as well as Congress to ban the slaughter of horses and the export of horse meat from the United States.

With the downturn in the economy, many horse owners are finding it impossible to properly care for their horses. Rather than have officials find those mistreated animals on their farms and ranches and be criminally charged, they are hauling them away, turning them loose in state parks and public forest land where the animals ultimately die of exposure, starvation, disease or are killed by predatory animals. I would ask the Hollywood stars and animal rights groups if this is really a better way for a horse to end its life instead of going to a USDA-approved slaughter plant, being processed into meat and then exported to foreign countries where horse meat is part of the human diet. I don’t think so.

Part of the argument that bothers people is the idea of consuming horse meat. But horse meat is part of the diet in many countries and cultures of the world and there have been times when it has been served in this country. I remember eating horse meat on our farm when other meats were rationed because they were needed to feed our troops in World War II. And that occurred in cities as well as on farms.

Checking my 20th Century history book, I found this story. “Sept. 27, 1946 - New Yorkers are eating horse flesh in increasing amounts, it was learned yesterday as supplies of standard meats stayed at a record low, black marketing spread and poultry prices soared to $1.00 a pound. Ceiling prices on choice cuts of horse meat are 17 and 21 cents a pound. Former Mayor LaGuardia has called the eating of horses a sign of degeneration, while Health Commissioner Weinstein says horse meat is ‘as nutritious and as good as any other meat.”’

I certainly am not advocating or suggesting that you eat horse meat, but I am strongly suggesting that humane slaughter is a much better way to end the life of a horse than the way we are doing it now. It gives owners who can no longer care for their animals in a humane way a much better alternative than turning them loose; and it provides food for hungry people in other parts of the world.

Perhaps with the change of leadership on the House side of Capitol Hill, legislation could be re-introduced to deal with this problem in a realistic way. I think it is worth a discussion with your legislators because I certainly don’t see the Hollywood opponents and their followers coming up with the billions of dollars it would take to provide managed “dying farms” for these unwanted horses.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.