Horse Slaughter

When they are alive we hit them with whips, we kick them, and when that doesn’t work, we fit metal spikes to our boots so they really notice when we kick them. Then when they go too fast after being whipped or kicked or spurred, we haul back on the lump of metal that’s tied into their face But it’s OK, we can show we love them, by not letting anyone eat them when they are dead.

Yes eating horse meat is really sick. Hitting them with whips is normal. Kicking them is normal. Sticking metal spikes on our boots before kicking them is normal. Jamming lumps of metal into their incredibly sensitive mouths is normal. Eating them, something the human race has been doing for 50,000 years at least, and probably a lot longer, is so weird that anyone involved is a pervert.

We make horses commit incest, we force fathers to mate with daughters, brothers with sisters, and boast about it, and that is OK. But eating a dead horse is the ultimate evil.

In the USA, horse slaughter is today’s big emotive issue. Europeans are paying mad money to get good old mustangs into the kitchen. Figures of $20 and $40 per pound are bandied around that apparently us Europeans are paying for horsemeat, and crazed Cubans are roaming the streets of Miami hacking steaks out of living horses to cure the AIDS that all Cubans, and probably all Europeans, suffer from.

The only person promoting the idea that horsemeat cures AIDS is Richard Couto, who is quoted saying “There’s a monstrous demand for horse meat,” said Richard Couto, an investigator with the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Animals. Horse meat is a delicacy in some parts of the world. Couto was horrified by what he calls a growing black market trade. “Ninety percent of the edible meat is taken off the carcasses,” said Couto. “Many times the legs are taken. The animal is decapitated.” Couto said horsemeat sells for up to $40 a pound. A 2,000 pound horse could bring $8,000 in the black market. “These people are doing this for a living,” he said. Couto said it’s a third world custom, where horse meat is not only a delicacy but a magic elixir. “They think that horse meat is a cure-all, that it’s going to cure blood disorders,” said Couto. “It’s going to cure AIDS — that it helps with the side effects from chemotherapy.”

There are glowing descriptions of vigilante groups, armed to the teeth, “hunting these people”. But it’s based on a lie.
“The horse community is getting edgy and very upset,” Gustinger told ABC News. “We’ve started community watches, people are patrolling their yards with guns to the point where some of the horse owners are looking forward to it. They’re starting to hunt these people… they want it stopped,” she added.

I am a European, currently AIDS free as far as I know, and I don’t pay $20 a pound for any meat. There is a horsemeat industry in Europe, as there is in most of the world. The USA has decided that eating horses is uniquely evil, probably done by people who eat cheese and don’t invade Iraq or wherever the target is this week.

Of course this statement is wildly over the top, the USA has no more of a common voice than the UK, but there seems to be a strong and vocal group in the USA saying that those who eat horses are evil, mad, AIDS infested, axis of evil, destroy destroy…..

And yet the people who are most vocal in defence of the horse, happily accept that you can buy a whip to hit a horse, yet you can’t buy a whip for any other pet. Try buying a gerbil whip, a hamster whip, a dolphin whip.

Sticking bits of metal into the mouths of animals to give control has been used by fishermen for millennia, and very effective it is too. Apparently bits made very effective punishments for slaves, and were popular for punishing attractive female slaves as the punishment was very effective but left no scars. Horses are the only other organism whose mouths we stick lumps of metal in.

Kick your dog in the street, and see what happens. Kick your gerbil, boa constrictor, cat. Then try fitting metal spikes on your boots before you kick your pet in the street. When the vigilantes have finished with you, ask why you didn’t show a little common sense and stick to kicking horses, where even fitting metal spikes on your boots, is approved.

So you don’t eat them when they are dead. Just maybe, the horses would do a swap for a cows life. No bits, no whips, no boots no spurs. Then, when you are dead, someone eats you. Doesn’t sound that bad.

Cruelty in slaughter houses is a different issue. Temple Grandin has done more than anyone else to improve the lot of animals in slaughter houses, and McDonalds, to their credit, have taken a lead in ensuring her words are listened to. So if animals are being slaughtered cruelly, get Temple Grandin on side. The legislation is there, and she knows how it works.
Cruelty in shipping is another issue, and again Temple Grandin is one of the leading authorities.

Horse Slaughter is being used as a focus for some very unattractive, very racist stuff. The global total for horsemeat is some 4.7 million animals,  so it is not a small, localised issue. Richard Couto is promoting the idea that primitive third world cultures are the problem. The issue in Miami appears to be a small group of sadists cutting up animals alive for some very strange reasons. In the UK, horse mutilation is a recurring problem, but we don’t start hunting down ethnic groups. We accept that someone in our own society is very sick.

Eating horses is a lifestyle choice. We eat lobsters and their eating habits are disgusting. We eat snipe, but not blackbirds, highly intelligent pigs, but not dogs, shrimps not insects, snails not slugs. There is nothing that somebody won’t eat, and that someone else won’t claim is disgusting, or cruel or both.
Food isn’t about logic, till you are very hungry, when it becomes abundantly clear that the horse is a large lump of meat, remarkably similar to a cow. And that people are large lumps of meat, remarkably similar to a pig.
The debate on horse slaughter is critical to horse welfare. Horse slaughter is the killing of horses for commercial purposes and should be humane, as the slaughter of any animal for commercial purposes should be humane. If there is a well regulated, legal trade in horse meat, horses have a value and are less likely to be dumped. Surplus animals can be sent for slaughter, as already happens to four million, seven hundred thousand every year. Is America going to rescue all of them? Is America going to pay for imposing its moral decisions on the world, or is it going to use horse slaughter as a chance to preach the superiority of the American way, and feel smugly superior to all those ghastly foreigners?

This topic is too complex for simplistic, racist, chauvinistic attitudes. If America is going to dump its horses into Canada and Mexico for them to slaughter, it can’t act holier than thou. They have to ban the export of horses, and then they can control the whole issue, and take the costs and the blame entirely on their own heads.
At the moment, the US is just shifting the blame onto their neighbours, not the most gentlemanly attitude. But then that is exactly what we do in England, let the French kill our surplus, because WE are too kind to eat them, we would rather they were shipped quietly, out of sight, to another country so we can blame the French.


You see, you all thought this was a rant against the Americans, for their horrible behaviour, but they are only doing what we do, and it doesn’t look very attractive. I think we are going to have to look at what we do to horses, and why.
If we produce a surplus, we have to deal with it. Our breeders are producing a surplus, and have NO plan, other than letting everyone else feel guilty and rescue their rejects, or at least the ones that aren’t shipped quietly for meat.
If slaughter is the answer, and I think it is, then we MUST do it in this country. We are producing the problem, we have a moral responsibility to sort it. I have no problem with people eating horses, if they are slaughtered humanely, as close to home as possible, I do have a problem with whips, but then you might have guessed that.


5 Responses to Horse Slaughter

  1. Neal says:

    Hear hear!

  2. David Grant says:

    Good piece, Simon! The biggest horror in Europe apropos horse slaughter remains the long-distance transport of live horses in appalling conditions. The double-decker lorries have gone, as far as I know, and there are mandatory stops and feeding/watering stations – but these are frequently ignored.
    In the age of refrigerated transport, there is absolutely no need whatsoever for transporting living horses for days across Europe. They all, or almost all, go to Italy. And most come from within the EU. But the EU continues to drag its heels, although it has known all about this since the late 80’s.
    I stand to be corrected, but I am 99.9% sure that the export of live horses (for meat – obviously not to race or whatever) from the UK was banned some years back.

    • The transport issue is horrific, and the solution is plenty of local, high quality abbatoirs, but that requires people accepting that abbattoirs are necessary, and accepting them in their back yard. Then the transport issue disappears.
      The other half is the breeding issue, and this ludicrous fiction that each horse and pony has to be bred for its role in life. If you apply that principle to people it is treated as snobbery, racism or just total moronic stupidity. In horses it is accepted as fact when it is, surprise surprise, snobbery, racism and totally, moronically stupid.

    • PiePony says:

      I think you are right David, but horses are shipped from Wales to Ireland and then on through Europe. The passport system is a joke, even when a passport is marked as not for human consumption there are exploited loopholes and hardly any law enforcement checks.
      For my previous horse I was there from conception to death and burial. For my current young horses I suspect they will outlive me, so I had best remain healthy and active for a long time yet.
      Where animals are produced and sold for meat then of course, slaughter at home or a local abbatoir is preferable, but there is a profit margin on each transaction in the chain, with sheep dealers and horse dealers alike. Live transport is about profits, but I guess you already know that. Susie xx

  3. Pam says:

    I don’t agree with slaughtering any animal. When are we going to get an abbatoir for morons! thievies, muggers, muderers, child abusers and all the other scum that rome our land. Leave harmless animals alone.

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