Thursday, November 02, 2006

Speciesism rears its ugly head

Mills of the gods

The United States Senate stands ready to debate and vote on the "American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act" (H.R. 503/S.). The House has already overwhelmingly passed this measure. Turns out that about 100,000 horses are slaughtered each year and shipped off to other countries for food. People have been eating horse, since people have been eating. It just never caught on big in this country.Probably because beef tastes better(I presume) and we have all the space we need to raise cattle. But we could have gone with the horse. It was a conscious decision on the part of our forefathers to eat cows , pigs, sheep, goats and even baby lambs and calves (born and unborn) instead of cooking horse.

I assume that the decision was made on the basis of the horse being a more reliable animal for transportation than the cow or goat (or chicken or duck for that matter). So the horse got the opportunity to live a longer life as a bearer of burdens. The cow got the shorter life, but, until the advent of the feed lot, arguably a better quality of life. No one asked it to pull a stagecoach or ride into battle against people firing guns at it.

So now, having only recently passed the Chimp retirement home act, which set up a series of old age homes for chimps to live out their last years in comfort, our Congress is on the verge of saving the nation's horses. This means that inevitably, Congress will have to pass some type of law to take care of the soon to be ageing horse population.But that's for another day and another Congress.

Doesn't it strike you as unfair that the United States would essentially ban the eating of horses and not lift a finger for the cow ? To me it is like passing a law stating that we can't euthanize dogs, but leaving cats out of the bill. What makes a horse more heroic than a cow, or a pig, or a goat ? We can't ride cows, but horses don't give us milk. It seems to me that the cow has done its part too and ought to participate in our country's largesse.I think it is time that the USA made a decision. Either we are meat eaters or we are not. Either animals are owned by humans and diposed of by them, for food or profit ; or, animals are our companions sharing the earth with us and we have no right to own them, work them, consume them or dress them up in tuxedos and make them smoke cigars.Turn them all loose I say. Let them fend for themselves. We have been feeding them for thousands of years, let them find their own browse and pasture, not to mention those big blocks of salt they like to lick. But it is not fair to signal out one species out over another just because we get sentimental about them when we watch "National Velvet" or because they carried John Wayne through some tough scrapes.

All of this does have a sad note to it. Whenever anyone says that they are so hungry "they could eat a horse", you will have to inform them , No you can't, it's against Federal law. On the bright side, it will piss the French off.


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