On November 18, President Obama approved the lifting of a congressional ban on domestic horsemeat inspections. In doing so, he raised the possibility that horses could be legally slaughtered for human consumption in the U.S. for the first time in years. Just as important, he spotlighted a major clash of cultures.
Horse meat has long been considered a delicacy in many countries. Today, its cultivation is a highly regulated agribusiness. In Europe, the legal term “humane slaughter” is even used to denote the preparation of horses for eating by people.
But in Indian country, there is little that is viewed as humane about horse butchering. Indeed, so keenly felt are Native views on horses that they raise important questions of long-term relationships with animals who remain indispensable to the Indian way of life.
Chicago (EWA) – Jo-Claire Corcoran of the Equine Welfare Alliance’s Research Team has launched a children’s letter writing campaign to end the slaughter of American horses. Canadian partners have launched a parallel campaign aimed at stopping horse slaughter in Canada.
A similar campaign forty years ago resulted in the passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burros Act that was passed on a unanimous vote in both houses. Jo-Claire commented,
“As Wild Horse Annie proved in 1971 congress listened to the children of this country. Sometimes we do not give our children credit for their ability to comprehend. Children growing up on farms which raise animals for food, are aware those animals are going to slaughter to become food, they understand those animals were raised for that purpose.” She added, “My grandson understands the difference between animals raised for food and animals that are not raised for food.”