Monday, March 30, 2015

Horse Slaughtering Pros and Cons

Horse slaughtering has been a controversy for several years.  Some see horses as a companion animal that should be protected, and others see these animals as meat for consumption.  Advocate groups and legislatures have tried to limit and even end horse slaughtering in the United States.   From 2005 to 2011, lawmakers prevented the USDA from spending money to inspect horse-slaughtering facilities.  This prevention essentially stopped horse slaughtering in the United States.  However, it did not stop the transportation of horses to Mexico and Canada for slaughter.  In New Mexico, 19,000 horses were shipped across the Mexican border.  Currently, there is a law, Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R. 1094/S. 541, which will not only stop inspections but also end the exportation of horses across the two borders.  This would effectively eliminate the business of transporting horses.

Although horse meat is not generally being consumed  in the United States, there is still a market for the meat in Europe and Asia. This is fueling the business of horse transportation despite 80% of Americans being against the slaughter of horses. 

Despite public opinions, there is a potential economic gain in allowing horses slaughter within the borders of the United States.  The meat could be an U.S. export to the Asian and European countries; it could provide income revenue for the states and cities that allow it.  Jobs would be created in the areas that allow it; there is an economic positive for those that are involved.   Some would say that slaughter is also an alternative to neglect and abuse of unwanted horses. Slaughter would be a quick end, instead of the torment and pain that comes from being abused or starving to death.  Also, some people think that the choice to eat horse meat is one that is personal, and that the animals should be allowed for human consumption.  This goes hand in hand with the economic growth argument: there is a potential market for horse meat consumption.  Many who want to consume horse meat, or want the option too, akin the animals to similar animals such as chickens, cows, and pigs. This does raise the question, “what makes horses so special.”

Many would say that horses are special because they are companion, work and athlete based animals which is more so than their farm companions, and because of this, horses are normally given drugs to either enhance performance, prolong life, or similar reasons.  This could be potentially hazardous for human consumption if not regulated.  Similarly, regulations that could potentially regulate the sale and toxicity of horse meat are limited to non-existent.

Recently, New Mexico was confronted with the issue to ban horse-slaughtering and to monitor the boarders for horses being transported.  Three bills that addressed the issue were tabled in committee. There are no horse slaughter houses in New Mexico, so their denial of the bill will not make much difference in that respect.  Yet, New Mexico has a problem with an overabundance of horses.  Is tabling of the bill the government’s way out of an overabundance issue?  They can allow the horses to be transported without the trampling public opinion.  If it is, then it was smart on their part and a very easy out.

No comments:

Post a Comment