Decency, Compassion and Honesty Took a Hit from the Darkside
“Anyone who feels strongly about cutting up horses (including wild mustangs) for food needs to have their voices heard now. “
Been dying for a thick, juicy horse burger but can’t find a meat market that sells the good stuff anymore? Did killjoy animal lovers thwart your plan to send a holiday gift box filled with flash-frozen tenderloins de Flicka to your Uncle Pierre in Bruges? Are herds of dadgum wild mustangs running through your neighborhood again, dropping horse pucky all over your croquet course?
Well, don’t you fret, Tex. Sharpen up the old meat hook and fire up the barbecue because horse slaughter is on its way back.
Like people in most other civilized nations, Americans — as a rule — do not eat horses. We don’t eat dogs or house cats, either, though some folks do in other parts of the world. We generally regard horses, dogs and cats as pets, friends and partners, not as four-legged Sloppy Joes. For the time being, dogs and cats are safe, most likely because there isn’t enough meat on their bones to offer much profit potential.
In 2007, horse lovers and animal-welfare groups convinced Congress that the slaughter of horses for human consumption is despicable, barbaric, not something Americans should support. Congress voted to cut off funding for all horse-meat slaughter plants, which effectively closed down those few remaining in the U.S. But ever since, Big Agriculture has been plotting a return to the glory days of sending tens of thousands of horses to be butchered, then shipped to Belgium or Japan for sale in markets or restaurants.
A few rabid ranchers have been out in front on this issue, telling Congress that we are really missing out on some big money by allowing American horses to be shipped to Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered instead of carving them up right here at home. The same folks who have pushed to reopen the slaughterhouses are the loudest voices in support of clearing public lands of wild horses, which, presumably, are nice and lean and would be great in a stroganoff. They put some money together, hired a select group of pro-meat lobbyists (such as former Texas Congressman Charlie Stenholm), then let nature take its course. We all know how things work in Washington.
The Government Accounting Office conducted a supposedly impartial study, one that appears to mirror the propaganda written by slaughter proponents, and that’s all the cover Congress needed. As of this week, a conference committee focusing on a massive appropriations bill containing budgets for Agriculture, Justice, Commerce, HUD and other biggies very quietly removed the ban on funding for horse-meat inspectors. One minute it was there. The next it was gone. Poof.
What it means is that unless the full Congress discusses the issue before passing the larger appropriations bill, then horse-meat plants will be back in business very soon. “The roadblock has been removed,” crowed Wyoming representative and rancher Sue Wallis, the most vocal of the pro-slaughter crowd.
Anyone who feels strongly about cutting up horses (including wild mustangs) for food needs to have their voices heard now. It seems doubtful that any of Nevada’s congressional folks are major supporters of horse slaughter, but chances are that what happened in the conference committee is not a high priority. An angry public could help change that.
One issue not given consideration by the pro-slaughter folks is that since the 2007 ban, European countries have raised their standards for horse meat. Most American horses are so riddled with chemicals and contaminants that the meat could only be sold abroad if someone looks the other way. Most of it will likely not pass health inspections. That won’t matter a bit to the bloodthirsty folks with dollar signs in their eyes, but it should matter to the rest of us.
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- Congressional Conference Committee Appropriations Bill Would Require Taxpayers to Subsidize Foreign Horse Meat Industry (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- Pro-Horse Slaughter Monsters: Are They Worth Any Notice? (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- Ag Bill Passes Without Prohibition Against Federal Horse Meat Inspectors (rtfitch.wordpress.com)