December 01, 2011

Obama Administration Lifts Horse-Slaughter Ban

President Obama recently signed a law ending the ban on horse-slaughter plants.
A June report by the Government Accountability Office, Congress‘ chief investigative branch, said the ban depressed prices for horses in the U.S. and led to a surge in reports of neglect or abuse as owners of older horses had no way of disposing of them, short of selling them to “foreign slaughtering facilities where U.S. humane slaughtering protections do not apply.”
The usual suspects are upset.
A bill to ban horse slaughter and export of horses for slaughter has been introduced in the House and Senate, and the Humane Society of the United States said it would redouble its efforts to try to enact that legislation.
Simply, there are more horses in the United States than people want. I have heard of livestock auctions imposing additional fees on people wanting to sell horses, because your average saddle horse does not sell for very much — if it sells at all.

Horse-rescue operations can take only a few of the unwanted animals.

Meanwhile, despite its much-touted adoption programs, the BLM is feeding and storing hundreds of wild horses in corrals away from the public gaze, as I blogged in 2008. Your tax dollars at work.

Still the HSUS plays the cultural-taboo card, together with a little fashionable France-bashing:
Michael Markarian, who oversees the Humane Society Legislative Fund, which lobbies for animal protections, said any state that allows a horse-slaughter plant to open will face pressure.

“People will not be happy about their community potentially bringing in one of these plants,” he said. “Americans don’t eat horses, and don’t want them butchered and shrink-wrapped and sent to France or Japan as a delicacy.”
Because all the feasible alternatives, like letting them starve, are so much better.

Related — if you want to move to the theoretical — an article on meat taboos with an interesting response from Boria Sax.


Janeen said...

It seems a lot more respectful to me to use the meat of unwanted or unneeded animals than to throw it away. If there's no human market for horse meat in the US, I'm sure it could be used in food for pets or exotic animals (like French people).

Peculiar said...

Always makes me think of Medieval Iceland, where some parts of the country kept eating horse as their pagan ancestors did, while in other parts it became taboo post-Christianity. It's slipping my mind at the moment which saga contains the fighting words "picking mare's ass out of your teeth."

Chas S. Clifton said...

Janeen, the taboo is so strong, as you probably know. Consider this response to the bill: Obama "abandoned the horses".

Chas S. Clifton said...

Peculiar, a citation, please!

Peculiar said...

Found it, in the bit where Skarp-
Hedin goes around insulting everybody:

"'Who is that big, baleful man, fifth in the line, the one with the pale, sharp, ill-starred, evil look?'

'I am called Skarp-Hedin,' he replied, 'and you have no cause to pick on me, an innocent man, with your insults. At least I have never threatened my own father's life, as you once did. You have rarely attended the Althing or taken part in lawsuits, and you must feel more at home milking the cows at Oxarriver with your scanty household. You would be better employed picking out of your teeth the bits of mare's arse you at before you came here - your shepherd saw you at it, and was amazed at such disgusting behavior.'

Thorkel sprang to his feet in fury and snatched up his short-sword. 'This is the sword I got in Sweden,' he said. 'I killed a great warrior to get it, and since then I have used it to kill many more. And when I get at you I shall run you through with it and pay you back for your obscene insults.'"

Njal's Saga, Chapter 120, trans. Magnusson and Palsson

But it's all only a build-up to the one where everything really hits the fan: "' are, as I have heard, the mistress of the Svinafell Troll, who uses you as a woman every ninth night.'"

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

I was going to chip in by saying just how good eating horse is, and their blood makes the most amazing black pudding, but I'm totally distracted by Peculiars saga knowledge!

LSP said...

Top saga.

I love horses but for goodness sake, their meat tastes alright.

Bushwacker -- thanks for the black pudding reminder...

Holly Heyser said...

“Americans don’t eat horses, and don’t want them butchered and shrink-wrapped and sent to France or Japan as a delicacy.”

Perhaps we should hunt them instead.

Chas S. Clifton said...

"Perhaps we should hunt them instead."

Now that would truly be the "Paleo diet," come to think of it.