While we were sleeping….
On November 18th of this year President Obama signed a bill passed by congress that funded jobs for horse meat inspectors, opening the door to horse slaughter in the continental US. Horse slaughter was never illegal, but because there were no inspectors for horse slaughter houses, it couldn’t be done.
It still went on.
Most unwanted horses were packed onto livestock trailers and shipped to Mexico for death and processing. Others were left uncared for and starving in abandoned barns, backyards, and pastures. In the downward spiraling economy, affording a horse became too much burden for many.
Yet breeders keep breeding, hoping the next foal will be the next Secretariat or Dan Patch. Perhaps the foal will sell and bring the farm income to pay the bills….
But just like kittens and puppies, what doesn’t go to a good home still has to go.
PETA supported this bill. Their thinking is that it’s less trauma to quickly end a horse’s life in the US rather than to ship it across a border where it may get worse treatment in travel and handling before its slaughtered. If it has to be, doing it here would be more “humane” than doing it there.
Others feel it’s better to have a slaughter option than none at all; a much better option than abandoning a horse to be left sick or starving. Slaughter would translate to be a lot less suffering horses.
And it could create jobs. Shippers, packers, processors, and on and on. Maybe there could even be horse cafo’s someday, providing even more jobs and giving foundation to a niche industry with its own pac and lobbyists. (I am probably wrong to think that they don’t already exist.)
I just don’t like it. Any of it.
My argument is a moral one, and moral arguments are hard to win.
I’d rather see less breeding. I’d like to see a more responsible racing and show industry. I’d like to see less backyard operations. I’d like to see more horses spayed or gelded. I’d like to see education. I’d like to see compassion for a life.
Horse slaughter is another symptom of our use it and throw it away culture. As long as there is horse slaughter, breeding can go on unabated and without any need for breeders to take responsibility or have respect for the life that was created. Slaughter won’t address the problem of too many horses, but it will enable too many horses. It’s the wrong thing to do. And two wrongs don’t make a right.
But a lot of people think they do.
It happens a lot when we are sleeping.