I'm having a hard time sorting out my emotions on this...
If you've read this blog regularly, you probably know that I live in Lexington, Kentucky, the self-proclaimed 'Horse Capital of the World'. The Bluegrass is known for its limestone-laden soil that is so good for raising horses. Even many of us in the area who are not connected to the horse industry have a special place in our hearts for these remarkable and noble creatures who have been so much a part of humanity's civilisation for thousands of years. [Thousands of people in the area showed up on a couple of rainy November days last year to be extras in the upcoming Seabiscuit movie, partly because of this. It really amazed the film crew. The Lexington premieres sold out quickly, weeks ago.] Certainly the horse is revered in American history--they were indispensible to settlers and native peoples alike. Regardless of how you feel about horse racing or opulent horse farms, most Americans find in reprehensible to slaughter horses for their meat, much as a Hindu could not fathom killing the cows that provide so much in their culture.
So it's a bit of a shock to learn that Ferdinand, the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner, was apparently sent to a slaughterhouse in Japan.
The knee-jerk, although certainly not necessarily the best would to ban those from countries that allow the slaughter of horses from running horsesKentucky Derby or ban Thoroughbred sales to these countries. But that's not particularly feasible, especially given the fact that there are still two (foreign-owned) operating slaughterhouses that process (what a word) horses. Both are in Texas. Some horses who wind up there are obtained fraudently. Selling a horse at livestock auction can be a lot like offering up a free pet--you can't guarantee that the beloved animal will not wind up abused or dead. The horse industry and some politicians are trying to change that. So here are links, if you're interested:
- Text of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act
- About the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act
- Sign a petition supporting this act
- Facts on Horse Slaughter from the Humane Society of the United States
If you wonder why this act only deals with slaughter of horses for human consumption and not, say, for pet food, it has to do with the difference between slaughtering and rendering, as described here. [If you want verification regarding their description of the position of the American Veterinary Medicine Association's position on what constitues humane euthanasia, read this.] Basically horse products in pet food result from the disposal of dead horses, not the transportation and slaughter of live horses. Therefore, in order to have horse products in pet food, they have to have been a by-product of the slaughtering for human consumption of horsemeat. Got it?