On Horse Flesh

I noticed with some pleasure that Congress has re-approved the slaughter of horses for meat today.

It's a terrible shame to see a horse put down for any cause.  Human beings and horses get along very well, and in an ideal world more men and women would have the chance to have a relationship with a horse.  Nevertheless, we are where we are, and the well-meaning attempt to ban the slaughter of horses has led to reliably worse results.

Horses who could no longer be slaughtered were instead left to starve.  Instead of a quick and painless death, they were rendered economically worthless.  The intention was, I suppose, that people should simply care for the animals until they died of old age; but rather predictably, what they did instead was refuse to lay out money for feed or hay for animals who could not promise any sort of economic return.  Trapped on dry lots, with neither food nor water, they were left to perish in the most brutal conditions.

If they can be sold for meat, they'll be sold by weight.  That means they'll eat, at least, until the end.  This may seem unkind but it is far better.  Good on Congress for getting one right, and for learning from its mistakes.  Let's hope it points to a trend.


Lars Walker said...

My brothers, who are horse guys, told me every horse auction features buyers from France, acquiring horses for slaughter over there. So it's not as if American horses aren't eaten already.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if one reason for restoring funding/ lifting the de-facto ban on slaughter was all the horses dumped on humane societies over the last four years by people who could no longer afford feed or stable/ pasture rental? We've had a record number of those out here. Another problem for those who would rather give an old or ill horse mercy is that in many areas, you can no longer leave the remains for scavengers but neither can you bury them without some pretty serious groundwater mitigation steps (in order to keep from polluting ground water). Not all "used cow dealers" (as they call themselves around here) accept horse carcasses. 'Tis a sad mess.


rcl said...

This law parted the clouds to give us a view of the true sky.

The commenting at the right blogs was pathetic and authoritarian.
Even Mark Levin was totally ready to toss out his beloved U.S. Constitution and empower the state to confiscate his neighbors' property. Hypocrites, defenders of liberty all selling out their principles because of a Disney cartoon concept of animal husbandry.

I'm convinced most Americans don't understand the meaning of limited government and individual liberty. America's become a nation of spoiled busy-bodies.

Texan99 said...

It's sad that anyone makes enough of a hash of caring for his own animals that his neighbors are seriously tempted to intervene. Liberty also means taking care of business.

rcl said...

T99 if someone's being cruel or stupid but within the law their neighbors should face up to them. If they blow you off and there's nothing that can be done then they get scorned.

Example; '05, 800,000 acres of blaze. Everyone's out loading horses for the Rodeo grounds or the Racetrack. Guy down the road with 8 or 9 in the pasture comes driving out with none in tow. We ask if he needs help. "Nope, they're all insured. We're just getting out." He got an earful on the spot. It didn't bother him but the word got around. They don't live here anymore.

Texan99 said...

I agree. We have one set of neighbors who are incurring the wrath of the neighborhood about both their horses and their dog. They're within the law, but they get nothing but flak from all directions. So far they've proved thick-skinned, but we'll see.

I'm a big believer in community scorn.

Mark said...

I don't know how many of you have ever been to a slaghter house. I grew up on a ranch in eastern Washington. It is another world.

As to relevance: I watched the two neighborhood butchers slaughter an old horse, for pet food I guess, two shots in the head and out with the knives. I am not sure I would want to see that again. Horsemeat has alway been worth money. Hopefully more as the animals are better treated.