They eat horses, don’t they? Just in time for the holidays (and remarkably coincident with the end of the Fall Meet at Churchill Downs), President Obama last week quietly signed a law passed by congress that lifts the 5-year-old ban on federal funding for horse meat inspections; thereby allowing the sale and consumption of viande de cheval.
And, while it is doubtful that any “Surf & Turf” restaurants here in Louisville will have the audacity to start putting filet d’Mister Ed on the menu, the change in the law may serve to add a sense of urgency to the speed ratings of horses in claiming races, come the Spring Meet.
By allowing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to resume horse meat inspections, the new law will effectively allow the operation of slaughterhouses in the U.S. that butcher horses for human consumption. The last U.S. slaughterhouse that butchered horses closed in 2007. But now, our president wants us to start eating horses again.
Pro-slaughter activist Dave Duquette, president of United Horsemen, predicted to The Huffington Post’s Justin Juozapavicius that domestic horse slaughterhouses could open in 30 to 90 days with state approval, and eventually as many as 200,000 horses a year could be slaughtered for human consumption.
What’s that you say? You find the idea of chowing down on Secretariat a bit repugnant? Well, horse is commonly eaten in many European countries; but since under Mosaic Law horse meat is considered unclean because it conformed to the formula of an animal that was not at the same time cloven-hoofed and cud-chewing, it is generally banned in Islamic and Jewish countries.
Back around 732 A.D., Pope Gregory III (who must have been a horse lover) began a concerted effort to stop the pagan practice of esu equorum, and was responsible for the reluctance of many Nordic people to embrace Christianity for some time; largely because they were reluctant to give up eating horse meat. In some countries the effects of this prohibition by the Catholic Church have lingered, and horse meat prejudices have progressed from taboos to avoidance to abhorrence.
And according to Keith Dane, director of equine protection for The Humane Society of the United States, the horse slaughter process is rife with problems. The FDA and the European Union have banned the use of phenylbutazone in animals raised for food because of its cancer-causing properties, and the drug is as common in American horses as Aspirin is in people. “Americans don't eat horses, and they don't want them inhumanely killed and sent abroad as a high-priced appetizer.” The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (S. 1176/H.R. 2966), now pending in congress, would ban slaughter of American horses for human consumption.
Interestingly, during the 2008 campaign, then-candidate Barack Obama said, "Federal policy towards animals should respect the dignity of animals and their rightful place as cohabitants of our environment. We should strive to protect animals and their habitats and prevent animal cruelty, exploitation and neglect.... I have consistently been a champion of animal-friendly legislation and policy and would continue to be so once elected." Obama announced that he had co-sponsored legislation to stop the sale for slaughter of wild free-roaming horses and burros, and signed on as co-sponsor to the bill to ban horse slaughter for human consumption. When asked specifically during the campaign, "Will you support legislation ...to institute a permanent ban on horse slaughter and exports of horses for human consumption," Obama gave an unqualified "Yes."
Learn more: Horses could soon be slaughtered for meat in US (Ky. Post)
Learn more: Stophorseslaughter.com
Contact: Complain to the White House
But, on the other hand: Eathorse.com
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