17 Feb 2013 - Horse Slaughter? Yes! No!

Last week I responded to several people who inquired about the current status of ‘horse slaughter’ in the United States, pointing out that currently there are no plants processing horses in this country. At the same time, I urged the Department of Agriculture to abide by last year’s mandate from Congress to provide funding for USDA inspectors in plants that do want to process horse meat for export.

I also said I knew my position would generate some angry emotional e-mails, and I was certainly right on that point. So, let me share some of what you had to say, that decency will allow me to print, in this column. A writer said “Americans do not want horses slaughtered, do not eat horsemeat, do not want it and to continue to push this issue is going to ruin, absolutely ruin, the U.S. A. beef market.”

Another person said “If a person is neglecting or abusing a horse, then opening a slaughterhouse will not stop that any more than opening a prison will stop crime. Horses are abused and neglected because of the mindset of the person.”

Another e-mail, “Perhaps individual states should start enforcing neglect-laws and /or strengthening existing laws to protect horses. Most people, however, when faced with economic hardships do not want to send their horses to slaughter. 80% of the U.S. population is opposed to horse slaughter; when will you people understand?”

Then there was this one that started, “No nasty e-mail from me, Orion, I respect you too much.” Then went on to say “Personally, I would rather not have horses slaughtered and eaten, because I am fond of horses. But that is a personal preference and not something I am going to get furious about. And, If it came down to survival, we as human beings will eat what we have to eat to survive. As you quite rightfully say, it is better to have a humane way to deal with an overpopulation of horses if they are going to be used as a food source for cultures that allow it, but even if they were allowed to run wild and nature took its course I have to wonder about those who complain about it. On one side of their mouths they cry out for nature but then object when nature does what nature does.”

Finally, “ I am a long time horse and animal lover and have owned and ridden horses most of my life. I have never sent a horse to auction or slaughter, nor do I plan to. But I do agree with you that our government’s emotionally-driven response to horse slaughter debate has caused careless and dangerous consequences. We must be realistic with what we do with unwanted horses. The costs for euthanizing a horse are expensive and people are abandoning them and neglecting them. I appreciate your tackling a difficult, sensitive and emotionally charged subject.”

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, in language I could use, on Samuelson Sez.