August 13, 2013

Should Wilbur go to waste?

Horse slaughterhouses, and discussion thereof, raise firestorms both emotional and ethical. As does the issue of wild horse management that lies behind this, to some degree.

Texas had two slaughterhouses until 2007; interestingly, a survey by an animal rights group says that, in 2003, 89 percent of Texans were unaware of them.

Slaughterhouses in New Mexico and Iowa, planned for opening, are now on hold after court injunctions.

As I said, there's an issue behind this: Wild horses of the West.

Yes, ranchers don't want them on Bureau of Land Management land in the West, that's one sub-issue. But, since those ranchers also want cougars killed, and have done so, and there's no wolves on those lands, and coyotes can't take down wild horses, if we pulled cows off all that land and turned it over to the horses, this wouldn't be like 15,000 years ago. Eventually, those horses would be rib-showing specimens similar to those we've had at ever more upper-middle-class faux ranches in the last few years.

(And, speaking of that past, the Navajo Nation is in favor of horse slaughter, FYI.)

Yes, wild horses can be sterilized, but that takes a lot of work, and even more if you removed all those cows from the land and let the horse population mushroom.

As for the injunctions against the would-be slaughterhouses? Hey, I'm an environmentalist, but I agree with the companies that using the National Environmental Policy Act to hold horse slaughter to some special standard beyond cow, chicken or pork slaughter is silly. At the same time, having the USDA inspect for the presence of drugs like bute IS legitimate.

As for issues with people eating horses? What makes a horse special? Ahh, some will say: It's smarter than a cow.

Yeah? So is a pig, so if you're eating bacon yourself but fighting the right of others to eat horsemeat, you're a bit of a hypocrite.

You only really have "standing" to talk if you're a vegetarian.

And, if you're in love with "the romanticized West," well, that was a myth all along. And, before 300 years ago, the reality was horseless for 10,000 years.

I'm not saying I "favor" horsemeat for dinner, or horse slaughter. I do favor rational, mythos-free discussion of the issue.

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