The Politics of Hypocricy: Horse Slaughter
So, I’ve been hearing a lot about the proposed horse slaughter plant in New Mexico these past few days, and a lot of that is because U.S. District Judge Christina Armijo has decided that she will make a decision on the legality of opening said plant by the end of October, which is, in legal terms, working at the speed of light.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that the current treatment of horses after they have lived their “useful” lifespan is terrible, and that is one of the primary arguments fin favor of allowing horse slaughter in the US, that it will give horse owners an option for ending their horses’ lives in a “humane” way that does not involve shipping them to Canada and/or Mexico for slaughter. Right now many many horses that go through this terrible process are in terrible shape when they leave their homes, and in far worse shape when they arrive at whatever slaughter plant they are intended for.
So, naturally the answer to terrible treatment of animals is to kill them before they can be treated terribly, right?
Am I the only one here that doesn’t get it? (Probably not, since this is a vegan blog)
I will give the pro-slaughter lobby this credit: I’ve been wondering for a while what the difference is between cows and horses, why one was food and one wasn’t, when they seem so similar, and, well, they agree. There’s not much in the world that offends me more than deliberate inconsistency, and at least they’re taking one more step towards being consistent. Of course that begs the question of when dogs and cats and guinea pigs become food, but somehow I don’t think there’s enough profit in that. Yet.
Deep down, I can see that putting a horse to sleep when he or she is in pain all the time is the right thing to do. I took part in putting my dog to sleep years ago, and while it was terrible and painful, it was the right thing to do. However, we didn’t then cook and eat him. Shocking, right? The current horse-slaughter lobby might call that a gross waste of food, and that we should have shipped that meat over to China, so that we could have made a few dollars on him.
Forgetting the ridiculousness of the “That’s good eatin’!” argument for a moment, however, is the insane idea that somehow slaughter is humane. On what planet is killing someone or something “humane?” According to dictionary.com, humane means “characterized by tenderness, compassion, and sympathy for people and animals, especially for the suffering or distressed.” I challenge anyone to find a single word in that definition that is in any way related to the word “slaughter.”
(The three definitions of that word, by the way, are 1.the killing or butchering of cattle, sheep, etc., especially for food. 2. the brutal or violent killing of a person. and 3. the killing of great numbers of people or animals indiscriminately. Just sayin’.)
Now again, I’m going to attack the animal slaughter industry, because they hold up such amazing standards of animal treatment. Never are animals tortured, kept in tiny crates, or forced to walk on broken legs to their ultimate death.
Oh, wait. That exactly how food-animals are treated. Silly me.
Are we going to allow another animal to enter the world of torture and inherent cruelty? And, if so, are we doing it because we have to, or because we’re being greedy and selfish. . . again?
As Americans, and humans, are we so fixated on greed that we no longer care about need? If you cannot properly care for an animal, why do you have one? Selfishness? Greed?
According to Baylen Linnekin, on reason.com (an admittedly conservative website), “I hope for the sake of chefs, butchers, ranchers, consumers, and horses alike that neither the courts nor Congress ever saddle this country with another horsemeat ban.”
Well, having been a person who, before going vegan, used to encourage propel to try any and every type of cuisine, from Rocky Mountain Oysters to pizza, from Chinese dogmeat to tofu, I can understand the thought that people should eat everything, cooks should cook everything, and no one should judge another person’s culture for what they eat.
I now look at things a bit differently. Animals have personalities. They have thoughts. Dogs are on average as smart as a five-year-old human child, and pigs are smarter than dogs. Horses are among the smartest animals on the planet, and, well, has anyone even bothered to test the intelligence of cows?
I guess now, I realize that animals are not objects, they are individuals, and in the same way that I wouldn’t have eaten my dog nor shipped him to China for butchering, I won’t eat pigs, or cows, or chickens.
Or horses, no matter what District Judge Armijo decides in October.
If you want to get involved in this, urge your legislators to support the SAFE act opposing horse slaughter here.