A Horse of A Different Color:
Last month the Federal Court, through the action of a number of animal welfare groups, temporarily blocked attempts to slaughter horses in the US.
According to the Huffington Post, if the temporary block is lifted the horse meat would be “exported for human consumption and for use as zoo and other animal food.”
While I understand the outcry over these incredible animals being slaughtered, I also find it hypocritical. No one seems to be talking about the elephant in the room, or rather, in this case, the cow: Speciesism.*
The outcry over horse slaughter in the US (at least that which is being reported) appears to have little to do with every animal’s inherent right to life and more to do with the horse’s historic place as a companion animal in the West, as well as their significance to certain Native American Tribes (although some tribal members support the practice of horse slaughtering to “cull” the wild horse population.)
Let’s also be clear that if horse slaughter is outlawed in the US it doesn’t mean that the horses currently slated for slaughter (from racing, carriage work, the circus, breeding stock and wild horses) will be saved. Although some horses may be rescued due to the publicity this legal battle is creating, most likely the majority will still be shipped to another country and then killed.
Just because it isn’t happening in the US doesn’t mean it isn’t happening somewhere else.
I am by no means in support of horse breeding, abandonment or slaughter. I hope they do outlaw all of these practices in the US and abroad. But if we don’t address the bigger issue here (how we view certain animals as friends and others as property, food, clothing and objects for our entertainment) then we will be fighting the same battle again… and again… and again with more single-issue campaigns and court cases like this.
If we really care about horses and animals in general shouldn’t we turn that care into action? Shouldn’t we stop breeding them for our use? Neuter and spay when needed? Adopt and shelter instead of buying? Refrain from killing and eating them? Viewing them as property? Isn’t it time to adopt a vegan philosophy that is truly in tune with our “love” for animals?
I think so.
*Some of the slaughterhouses slated to start butchering horses were formerly used for cattle.