Friday, December 2, 2011

To Eat, Or Not To Eat... Horses

NPR recently reported that President Obama signed a bill in November re-opening American slaughterhouses for horses. Many people - meat-eaters and vegetarians alike- are up in arms over this decision. When we think of horses, we think of beautiful, majestic creatures running through open fields, we think of pony rides we took as young children, and of books like Black Beauty that instilled in us a love for horses. How can we possibly kill and EAT them?? Well, if you're a meat-eater, the answer to that question should be simple: "Easy!"

The only meaningful difference between cows and horses--where eating them is concerned--is that we've been culturally conditioned to see cows as food and horses as pets (and at times tools and vehicles). If you open your heart and let the scales fall from your eyes, it's easy to see that cows are every bit as beautiful and majestic as horses. Cows have emotional lives, they feel pain and pleasure, and they are able to form meaningful relationships with each other, with other animals, AND with humans! Not so different from horses. Cows confined in factory farms SUFFER every single day of their existence. Even cows raised on so-called "humane" farms are met with a terrifying demise, kicking and fighting for their lives until the very end.

Of course I don't want horses to be slaughtered for food. I don't want any animal to be slaughtered for food. But as I see it, there are only two logically consistent positions to take. If you eat cows and other sentient beings, there's no logical reason for you to have a problem with people killing horses for food. If you do have a problem with people killing horses for food, you must realize that they are not at all meaningfully different from the other animals you consume on a regular basis, and vegetarianism is the only option.


Karuna Veg said...

Beautifully said - in this culture, our violence toward certain animals for food borders on a form of mass insanity and repression that we have to compartmentalize to live with -- this horse issue can be unnerving (and liberating!) to contemplate.

Nicole said...

Very well said. There is a lot of hypocrisy that is coming from the brain washing we receive from birth. It is very hard to make people connect the dots that it is no more ok to eat a cow than a horse. Thank you for pointing that out.