In the United States, individuals for the most part are removed from the source of their food. While some people may keep gardens and produce fruits and vegetables, the majority of Americans will not keep their own chickens, cows, fish, and other sources of meat that make up the majority of their diet.
Unless you are a vegetarian, you eat animals who have been slaughtered for food. We generally take it for granted. So then, what would you say if people slaughtered horses for food. Would you be ok with it or would you be against it?
Horse slaughter is the general term used for using horses for meat. Though not as popular as it once was in the United States, horse slaughter is common enough in other countries. With that in mind, lets take a look at the pros and cons of horse slaughtering.
The Pros Of Horse Slaughter
A typical response to the statement ‘the pros of horse slaughter,’ is to laugh at even the possibility that there could be a pro to something that seems so barbaric. However, when considering the fact that horses are domesticated animals, who like cows can be slaughtered for their meat, the idea may not be as far fetched as you first think. Lets take a second to review the pros of slaughtering horses for meat.
1. Helps The Owner Gain Some Income
Horses require a lot of care. Along with the money spent on housing and feed, there are also bills that can result from the horse becoming sick or needing attention. When a horse has outlived its potential, or has expectantly died, butchering the horse can make back some of the money spent. In addition, it produces food that other people can eat. With some people enjoying the taste of horse meat, it is not hard to imagine the current market for horse meat expanding in the future.
2. Improves The Market
If a person likes something, there is an increased chance they will buy it in the future. With that in mind, slaughtering horses for meat helps support the horse meat industry. It introduces more people to the meat and increases demand for the product. For those looking to get away from chicken or cow meat, horse meat offers a prime example of something that can be easily worked into our diets.
3. Reduces The Population of Horses
Wild horse populations, like dear, tend to multiply and endanger their habitat if there are no predators around. Horse butchering can then be seen as a way to keep the population down and healthy. In addition, local municipalities can sell licenses for horse hunting, allowing a revenue stream for the local government. In addition, classes and information can be distributed regarding how to humanely kill horses in the wild, limiting the amount of suffering they would otherwise experience.
4. Control Ranch Populations
In time, even the most beloved horse will become sick, ill, and die. This process can be drawn out, painful, and very difficult for the horse. Horse butchering provides a way for any rancher to improve the quality of life for horses. Instead of neglecting poor performing, sick, and ill horses, the rancher has an option for removing the horse and producing food. This can improve the health and well being of other horses as well as provide additional resources for those horses as well.
The Cons of Horse Slaughter
With the pros out of the way, it is time to consider the cons associated with slaughtering horses for meat. From creating situations where future horses will be poorly cared for to posing a health risk for individuals as well as the moral and societal questions raised, horse slaughtering comes with a wide range of cons.
1. Risks Creating An Industry
If you are worried about the pain and suffering of animals, then under no circumstance will you ever want horse meat to become an industry on par with chicken or beef. In the United States, chicken, pork, and beef producers subject their animals to terrible and inhumane conditions. From being crammed into small compartments and force fed to having to eat other animals and things that are not normally a part of their diet, these industries cause a great deal of suffering to animals. If horse slaughtering and horse meat were to become more popular, then this could very well happen to horses as well.
2. Health Risks For Humans During Slaughtering
Slaughtering a horse can pose a severe health risk to humans in the place where it is done. Without proper supervision and care, people can inadvertently get sick from the process. Given that horse slaughtering is not that popular, it can be hard to get necessary information to those looking to slaughter their horse for meat. In addition, this may pose risk to other animals on the farm as well as any humans that are around.
3. Moral And Societal Questions
If someone offered you a plate of dog meat, would you eat it? If you were born and raised in the United States, then your response would probably be a resolute no. However, other places in the world that do not abide by our set of values, beliefs, outlooks, and expectations see nothing wrong in eating dogs, cats, hamsters, and anything else we considered pets. In addition, consider India and the general ban on eating cows. Would they see cow slaughter the same way we see horse slaughter?
While horses are domesticated and a potential source for food, there is significant backlash to eating horses because we as a society see them as more then just a meal. We think back to the glorified Wild West, to the image of people riding horses, caring for their horses, naming their horses, and even helping their horses at personal risk. Like dogs and cats, horses are more then just a meal. They represent a friend, a companion, and a even a worker.
If you want an example of how popular horses are, then look no further then the recent repeal of carriage rides in the New York City. Having been a foundation of New York City life for more then a century, carriage rides are no longer allowed through central park because of the fear that the horses are being treated poorly and are subject to poor conditions. Along with being a major point during the last mayoral election, the condition of horses has been crucial to whether or not people act. With all of that being said, there would be major public outrage at horse slaughter becoming a big thing.
Where Do We Stand?
Horse slaughter can provide a source of meat, an effective way to eliminate suffering, and even help to provide an alternative to what we eat now. At the same time, there is very little public interest in horse slaughtering becoming popular, few people want to see a horse industry with the same problems as the pork, cow, or chicken industry, and horse slaughtering poses health risks to humans.