By Bonnie Erbe
Whatever penalties South Florida authorities divine for the person or persons responsible for a rash of brutal horse slaughtering in South Florida will not be severe enough, IMHO. Since January, 19 horses have been taken from their barns or pastures, some slaughtered in their stalls, most killed by slitting open their throats and letting them bleed to death, a process that takes hours.
This is a long and cruel and painful death of the most unimaginable kind. According to Richard Couta of the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, this type of slaughter is “cultural” in nature. I have a less diplomatic way of putting it, but suffice it to say it is most often driven by the desire from among uneducated persons to fulfill some so-called cultural or religious need.
South Florida is a polyglot melting pot of immigrants from many different cultures including the Caribbean, Central and South America, even Asia. It should be noted for the record the consumption of horse meat is popular even among educated peoples in France, Belgium, Japan and Italy, although these cultures do not require that the horses be slaughtered by slitting their throats and bleeding them to death. But it is even less tolerable that educated persons would consume horse meat, because they should know better than to partake in such cruelty.
Nonetheless, Mr. Couta says some of the horse meat sells to immigrants from developing nations for $40 per pound. They incorrectly believe horse meat helps cure AIDS, blood disorders and other ailments, which of course no kind of meat whatsoever can cure.
On a personal note, I know a man who raises goats on his farm outside Washington, D.C. When his first crop of babies was born, he advertised them for sale. A family of Caribbean immigrants came by to pick up one of them. He was told their religious beliefs required them to slaughter the goat at its home, in the same manner the Florida horses have been slaughtered: by slitting its throat and watching it bleed to death. The experience was so horrifying, this man now breeds only a handful of babies each year, and sells them exclusively to 4-H club members and others who keep them as pets.
Mr. Couta is asking that anyone with information about the Florida killings contact him via his Web site. That is the least we can do.