Is Soft On Horse Slaughter?

By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Interesting that supposedly liberal sports an article about horse slaughter that reads, in part, like a cheat sheet from the slaughter industry. I have written about the despicable horse slaughter industry from a decidedly antithetical perspective. I would have thought a progressive mouthpiece such as would share my views on this issue. Instead, the piece on horse slaughter, although written by a self-professed horse and donkey owner, seems to favor the slaughter industry:

Not many people realize slaughtering horses for meat has been big business in the U.S. for generations. Yet in recent decades, public sentiment, matched by state and local laws, has risen against the practice, and in 2007 the last three U.S. horse slaughterhouses were shuttered....Which is exactly what has been happening in the two years since horse slaughter stopped here. The number killed in Canada and Mexico doubled to 49,000 in 2007 and rose to more than 72,000 last year, according to trade data.

What the author doesn't tell you is that even though these numbers are still horrific, they are down from the number of horses that used to be slaughtered in the United States before domestic horse slaughter was banned. According to the Humane Society:

Prior to the closure of all three foreign-owned plants in the U.S., over 100,000 horses were being slaughtered in the United States and processed for human consumption. Now, tens of thousands of live horses are transported across the border to Mexico and Canada for slaughter. After these horses are killed, their flesh is shipped to Europe and Asia for human consumption. Their owners are often unaware of the pain, fear, and suffering their horses endure before being slaughtered.

So, yes, the unspeakable suffering these poor horses endure when they are shipped abroad for slaughter must also be banned. And the Humane Society and other animal protection groups are working with Congress to pass such a ban. But the argument that it is more cruel to horses to ban slaughter here is fatuous at best and promotion of a heinous industry at worst. Ban it here. Ban slaughter of U.S. horses shipped for slaughter to Canada and Mexico. But most important, Congress should place controls on overbreeding of horses, which in turn increases the number of horses sent to slaughter.

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By Bonnie Erbe