I’m Going To Puke Now

My vegetarian days are long over.  I’ve beheaded chickens for meat and skinned deer myself.  But this video is enough to make you ill.  Don’t watch if you have a weak stomach. 

Before I met Norm I just thought horses were pretty animals.  While I’m nowhere near as passionate as he is, we consider our horses as highly intelligent pets and companions. 

These are our “babies.”  (Click for a larger image)

horses.jpg

Needless to say, I’m staunchly against horse slaughtering.  Wild horses used to roam freely across our country, and in 2004 restrictions were lifted and now the wild horses are being slaughtered and sent to foreign countries for human consumption. 

Please don’t make this a political argument.  This is cruel and unneccessary. 

During the 2004 budget process former Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) inserted a rider to strip 30 years of protection from slaughter for wild horses and burros. Since 2004, several dozen previously protected wild horses have been slaughtered and exported for human consumption.

Thanks to Conrad Burns, 140,000 American horses are exported for slaughter every year.  He gets a million asshole points.  Please sign the petition to keep horses from being needlessly slaughtered. 

Please go here to help. 

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14 thoughts on “I’m Going To Puke Now

  1. I’m not going to make this political, but I am going to comment on how strange it is that cultural taste seems to be a literal thing. Certainly you can define a culture by its food, but you can also define it by what it will and won’t eat. People are physically able to eat and digest anything from baby bugs to, well, other people. While their might be some biological argument against us eating one another (that’s how Mad Cow started, feeding cows to other cows), the rest of it is solely cultural tradition and taboo.

    You’re right, slaughtering wild horses for export for food does seem wrong and I signed the petition, but I honestly can’t think of a logical reason why I have this sort of visceral reaction. I appreciate your attachment to your horses, but they are just that, YOUR horses. Of course you’re attached to them and don’t want anyone coming around and shipping them off to end up on a plate or in a dog’s bowl somewhere. Yet, as I also grew up on a farm, I’ve seen a great many young adults and teens raise pigs or cattle and look at them with the same fondness as they might a dog, a cat or even a baby. Holding a piglet in your arms one year and then having to slaughter it when it’s time doesn’t seem, in theory, much different.

    Like I said, I signed the petition and viscerally agree with your sentiment. I would just feel better about it if I know rationally why I felt that way.

  2. I appreciate the difference–they are indeed OUR horses. But not only do I want to keep them safe, but if I had the acreage to feed the auctioned horses as well I would rescue them all myself in a heartbeat.
    I find the whole ordeal somewhat akin to the dilemma of greyhounds who are no longer race-worthy. So many of them are put down when they could be rescued (even though I do find them ugly). Here are all of these wild horses, and some ex-racing horses, being sold for as low as $5 apiece for the slaughter now that humans are done with them.
    Perhaps it’s that I find the whole thing incredibly arrogant. Maybe it’s the whole aura of horses and cowboys. I’m not sure myself. But if I had 100 acres in Montana not one of those horses would ever again be put up for sale for slaughter.
    Or maybe it’s the fact that you know that the baby piglet, even as you hold it, will eventually become bacon. But the baby horse when you look at it is, well, just . . .not. . .food.
    I don’t know. Thanks for signing it anyhow. I know it’s an emotional position I’m taking and not a logical one. I just don’t care that it’s purely emotional. At least I’m aware of it.

  3. It’s not logic, QJ and Jamie; it’s the fact that we grew up with My Friend Flicka, the Black Stallion, Black Beauty, and so forth. I thought the Simpsons episode in which Lisa converts to vegetarianism showed it perfectly; we tend to anthromorphize that which we think is beautiful. Eating it or killing it is, in essence, destroying a part of one’s self.

    This is a dilemma I’ve faced myself, and there is some logic to it. It is expensive in food and vet bills to keep older horses, they are taking up space that could be used by working horses, and it is hellish to bury them (imagine a 1,300 lb hunk of rotting meat and you get the point. Pray that one never dies in a stall; my advice in that case is to just start cutting a hole in the wall in the first place, because that’s what you’ll end up doing one way or the other).

    Remember that horses are a non-native species in the wild in the United States, whose primary predators — wolves and coyotes — have been or are being hunted nearly to extinction. The BLM estimates that, left alone, wild horse populations grow at a rate of 18 – 25% a year. Since horses are selective grazers (they pick out only the best and highest-quality grasses, as compared to cattle, which just mow everything down); that means that you need far more acreage per horse to sustain them than you do cattle or other wildlife like elk and that, if they overconcentrate in an area, they will make it impossible for desirable species to survive — and allow takeover by less desirable plants. There has been an extensive amount of work done with using long-acting contraceptives on them, but that also has the net effect of shifting herd age and pushing when mares reproduce from their most fertile years to ones where it becomes more difficult.

    Logic suggests that culling the herds is necessary, that it is better for owners to sell their horses and recoup some cash, that some horses are just plain outlaws or so deformed that it’s not worthwhile for them to keep on living, and so forth.

    But logic doesn’t always rule human events.

  4. Well, but we also grew up with Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web and Babe and The Three Little Pigs and, my personal favorite, Piglet. I wholly agree that we lend our characteristics (and expectations) to any number of animals and livestock, but why do we then only shy away from killing horses for food? Where’s the difference to hang an emotional response on, let alone a logical one?

    Possibly it has to do with the respect level shown the animal. You’re right, NDT, that culling is necessarily for wild horses as well as for deers. Although I don’t personally hunt, I get a sense that there’s a greater level of understanding, of personalization, shown to a deer. Obviously this isn’t true across the board and many hunters just throw their beer and guns in a truck and go out to get themselves some deer, but I’m not sure how widespread that really is. So, while it’s not a pleasant realization that in order for deer to survive and not come to even worse ends, a percentage of a population must be culled, it is a necessary one and it’s at least done with an almost tribal sense of occasion.

    The horse slaughter, though, is just that: slaughter. Impersonal killing and butchering for money of a wild population. While logic may suggest culling in necessary, I doubt that the individuals who are currently doing it are approaching it with anything like the respect the average deer hunter shows. It’s just a business and it’s always disturbing when death becomes a business.

  5. There is also, of course, the sense of regality that is associated with horses. The appear on some few English Crests. They have this sense of . . .majesty is the only word I can find . . . associated with them that comes from so many places. Of course Princes and Princesses have their horses, and we have the magical Unicorn that so many children associate with horses. They have borne us through many periods in history that we’d not have survived without them. Knights rode mounts, and they were used during the beginnings of the crusades. There are the Egyptian Chariot races in which even the Pharoahs, mortal “Gods,” participated. Even the Bible mentions the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

    But the historical and biblical allusions aside, I think there’s something more to it than that. Note, QJ, that all of the pigs you mention are animated–not “real.” Yet it’s real horses that have championed the cause of Man for centuries, whether they wanted to or not. They have proven their value to us in terms far greater than food, and it seems almost sinful to treat them as the same category as cattle.

    Besides, I have yet to ride the cow or pig that can help me find my way home out of the woods on a dark night.

  6. I’ll put my 2 cents in. I know nothing about horses so I couldn’t possibly understand your appreciation for them. I am, however, a cat lover but I have no remorse over the killing of feral cats (another non-native species), for profit or not.

    Like your horses, my cats are intelligent and faithful companions.

    Apples and Oranges?

  7. “Championed the cause of Man?” Oh come on now, Jamie. It almost sounds like you’re saying it’s okay to kill and eat it, so long as it’s not cute.

    And if they’re truly championing the cause of Man, then shouldn’t it be okay to eat them when they’ve reached the end of their active championing days? Many cultures do and see no problem with it.

    You may very well be right and it may be the “majestic” quality of the horse that is the sole reason it doesn’t end up on the dinner plate in the U.S. Far from making me feel better about my own personal emotional reaction, however, that only makes me feel much more shallow.

  8. I signed it because I wanted to; pretty clean and simple.

    Apropros of nothing, have you ever looked a chicken in the eyes? Scary, primordial, stone-age life forms, those birds. Cook ’em all, says I.

  9. QJ, it’s not shallow to respect hundreds of years of a symbiotic relationship that man has had with horses. Perhaps the idea that they’ve “earned” a respite from such inhumane treatment is just me ascribing human characteristics to animals.

    Just the same, I’m going with my gut on this one and think their destruction for food purposes is ghastly.

  10. WILD HORSES MUST BE FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i mean thay were here first and we gust came in and took there land and its not fare!!!!!!! 😦

  11. we have to stop the slaughter!
    i dont care what anyone says about it!
    horses have always been faithful to mann as long as we were kind and gentle to them,.
    wild horses do not hurt anything they roam free and keep out of our way (people who dont “like them”)
    is it not disgusting to you all who support the sloughter that you might be eating your bestfriends beloved animal, whom they would bend over backwords to keep them out of harms way? for instance if you are a cat lover would you want someoone to fry your cat up and not care bout if you loved it our not becouse they simply never owned one nor understood the bond between a cat and its owner?
    the same goes for your favorite animal,
    would you want that to happen to you dog or your bird?
    no.
    so why kill horses? over half the U.S.’s population has owned or has fell in love with the majestic beauty of the horse,

    it just washes away a little bit ofr the worlds magic everyday.

  12. Miranda – the horses were not here first. Also, by your logic we cant eat beef, pork, poultry or fish either because all of those creatures also came before us. The domesticated ones were wild once upon a time and “wanted” to be free, after all.

    While I deplore the cruel methods used in the Mexican slaughterhouse, apart from that the only problem I have with using horses as food is if they are being culled from endangered populations. Apart from that I see no difference between eating a horse and eating a cow.

    As for how “majestic” they are – ever seen a buck, elk or moose in the wild? They too are majestic. But if you’ve ever hunted them or eaten their meat, then claiming that horses are too majestic to kill makes you a hypocrite.

    Everything has to eat to live. There is no escaping the food chain. As compassionate, sentient being the best we can do is make our food gathering as humane as possible.

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