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Interesting article on the basis of horse anti-slaughter morality

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  • Donella: We all have to eat and like it or not some animals and most humans are omnivores. There is such a thing as a food chain and humans and horses, dogs and cats all have their place on that chain. I don't consider myself a hypocrite because I will eat a cow, pig or sheep but not a dog or a horse. Yes they all suffer when they are slaughtered but they are still different. You call it sentiment or emotion but to me it is a fact. There was recently a TV show talking about which animals form the greatest bond with people and guess what? Horses were at the top of the list because they not only "allow" us to ride them, they actually try their best to please and excell. You can say it is only to survive amongst the human predator but I believe in that bond. I have experienced it. I'll leave it up to Ronald Duncan who in 1954 said it so much better than I ever could:
    Where in this world can man find nobility without pride
    Friendship without envy,Or beauty without vanity?
    Here, where grace is served with muscle
    And strength by gentleness confined
    He serves without servility; he has fought without enmity.
    There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent.
    There is nothing so quick, nothing more patient.
    ~Ronald Duncan, "The Horse," 1954

    Nobody could say that of a cow or pig or sheep regardless of its upbringing as a pet or as livestock and frankly, I feel sorry for someone who equates all mammals as "substantively the same".


    • Nobody could say that of a cow or pig or sheep regardless of its upbringing as a pet or as livestock and frankly, I feel sorry for someone who equates all mammals as "substantively the same".

      I am not saying that there is not a food chain or that you are not entitled to eat whatever you want depending on how attractive you think it is or what kind of bond you have had with an animal of that species. But other people in other cultures feel the same way about different animals and none of it has much to do with science but more with experience. You have been raised to see horses as noble, intelligent creatures that are mentally superior to other animals and thus more deserving of kindness. But this is not fact, this is your emotion...and there is a difference. And no, I do not equate them as the same, I said that in terms of CAPACITY TO SUFFER all mammals are very very similiar because physiologically they are very very similiar (and this is FACT).

      BTW..whatever show you saw, I doubt they went about the study by raising and training 100 of each: pig, cow, horse, sheep, dog ect all in the exact same way/environment. And unless they did, it isn't exactly a good study. On the other hand, many ethologists that have studied animal behavior will agree that the pig is much more intelligent than the horse. Hell, there are lots of animals that are much smarter than horses and much more capable of human interaction/bond formation.

      Not that it matters, I love horses and it has nothing to do with how much or little brains they have. I love them for other reasons, but they are not superior in all mental and physical aspects to other animals and they are certainly not more derserving of compassion because I think they are the best pets, most intelligent, most bonded whatever. The bottom line is that they suffer no more than the cow or pig that you ate for lunch. It is very unintelligent to say that an animal is more deserving of compassion and should not be eaten because YOU think it is special and above all other species. No research backs this, no science tells us that this is true. In fact, it is this exactly this irrational histeria (horse is soooooo much more important and derserving than other species) that has created the problem that horses now face: thousands of miles in a stock trailer to mexico or canada.

      I actually find this issue very sad. But not only because of the suffering of the animals, but the complete hypocracy and egocentricity of humans. With such incredible ease they discard one species with not a second thought to it's sentience and then turn around and cry buckets over another because it has a slightly different physical and mental makeup that appeals to their idea of beauty ect.

      Bottom line is that they all suffer the same way because someone wants to eat them (like Americans really need more fat and cholesterol). A cow feels thirst and fatigue at the end of a 36 hour trailer ride the same way a horse does. A downed horse feels the same extreme pain and fear that a cow does when it is drug from the trailer half dead. When a veal calf is yanked from its mother at birth and chained in a tiny dark cage, it reacts the same way that a foal would if yanked at birth from it's dam. And the mothers behave the same way as well. Believe it or not, they DO have compex social behaviors in just as significant a way as a horse. When a captive bolt misfires(and you don't even want to know how often this happens) and a cow is dismemered alive, it is feeling no less pain than a horse would feel in the same situation. Do you really think otherwise? And if not, why is it morally OK to do this to one species and not the other? Because the ONLY major difference is that we like horses more as pets than as food. Thats it. Nothin else.

      You can dislike horse slaughter all you want, you can say it makes you feel worse. It makes me feel worse. I like horses more than I like cows and pigs. I love them and the thought of them going through the slaugher process makes me sick to my stomache. But they still are not more derserving of compassion BECAUSE (and this is my whole arguement) they are not more capable of suffering.

      "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.


      • Ahem. In California it is. You cannot take them out of the state if their eventual destination is slaughter, you may not pass thru if your eventual destination is slaughter.
        Sure you can. All you say is that the animals are heading to a feed lot, or to an auction, thenOops! Hey, look! A kill plant! Let's go there instead.

        This is exactly how the US trucks get through the Canadian boarder without having to have Coggins tests on all these horses. The horses aren't going to SLAUGHTER, Oh my no! They are going to a feedlot. Once past the border, the drivers suddenly change their minds and head to the kill plant.

        If our border would start checking Coggins tests on every horse, the trailering of loads of horses fromthe US would dry up pretty quick.

        I can't get a personal show horse through with out a Coggins, but these guys can haul through a few dozen unknown horses and nobody looks twice. Stupidity.



        • Ya' know, call me stupid, naieve, ignorant, or whatever.

          But I cannot for the life of me figure out why we care so much about what happens to the body of a horse once it is DEAD?!?!

          So it seems to me that the issue is about HOW it gets to be dead.

          So why did we spend so much time and energy banning the killing of horses rather than spending that time and energy making sure they were killed HUMANELY?

          Lets face it, there are horses with nowhere else to go. Old ones, unsafe ones, unsound ones. Rescues can't take them all. The owners can't keep them all (for a variety of reasons).And although we like to say that owners should take responsibility for their own horses, some won't. Some can't. And some, by sending their horses to auction, think they ARE taking resposibility.

          And as much as we wish everyone would think like WE do, they don't. And they NEVER will.

          So, for the horses who have no where else to go, shouldn't we make sure that their last hours aren't on a horrific trailer to Mexico or Canada? Isn't HUMANE, well regulated slaughter the kindest thing we can do? Wouldn't that be a better cause than the elimination of slaughter in this country that ultimately causes the inhumane (transport, methods) part of slaughter to be worse?
          Rhythm the perfect OTTB;Spock the will-be perfect OTTB;Mia the Arab/appendix COTH giveaway


          • Originally posted by hundredacres View Post
            YOu know that there are NO other animals that are used for food in this country that travel more than a couple hours (at most). None. There are processors (of legal meat) all over the place. Nobody is driving their hogs to Canada from KY to slaughter.
            I don't believe that above statement is correct. This really isn't feasible when you are talking megafarms and agribusiness aka factory farms.

            Here's a story that makes you wonder the suffering of other species in our food chain.......http://www.pet-abuse.com/cases/9133/TX/US/. These hogs shipped from OH to Brownsville, TX. Canada would have been closer. I keep track of what makes the news in Ohio as we are a very ag. state.

            I hate FOX news but then there is this from today.......http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,374703,00.html

            I believe we need an overhaul on the entire sysem and I'm a meat eater.
            Another recall was issued for meat processed at the very same Nebraska plant that was to blame for massive recall in May. This time includes pork.

            I would like to personally thank the USDA and their inspectors.
            "Concern for animals is a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done." Harriet Beecher Stowe 1811-1896

            Ponies are cool!


            • EquineLaundry,
              It is shocking, isn't it? I cannot even imagine how often stuff like that happens. It used to be that it was "peta types" that were making all of this up but now there are sooo many videos out there showing this kind of abuse
              (anyone see the video "earthlings" on youtube??!). And as I said before, the laws in and of themselves prevent humane treatment of all animals destined for slaughter.

              I also agree with the above posterin that humane methods and laws should be first on the list..for ALL species.

              "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.


              • ROTFLMAO Some of you must live in some dream world. No other species travels more then a couple hours to slaughter?????? You people have no clue!!!!! I work part time at the largest cull cow plant in the upper midwest here in central Mn. We get cattle from Mont., Or., Wa., Neb. the Dakotas and Can. In the peak cull season those semis that have hauled them all those miles are lined up to unload for many hours some days. A couple hours? What are you people driving that you can go from Wa. to Mn. in a couple hours?

                Bottom line for alot of people is if they eat it they don't care, if they think its should be a pet then they do. I still haven't heard a logical reason to ban horse slaughter yet and the more of these statements I hear the more convinced I am people just have no clue about the slaughter industry.
                Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.


                • Well county, if that is true (it's hard to believe you sometimes) then, well, I am wrong about livestock hauling times. But I also live in the midwest and know MANY farmers who raise meat (most of my neighbors as well as my SIL's family). None of them need to ship their livestock any farther then 45 minutes. Considering I live in the armpit of this country where it seems like we have to travel 3 hours to get *anywhere* (anywhere interesting anyway) I am sort of shocked that people CHOOSE to haul their livestock hours and hours away. I Don't understand it all all. Why do they have to stand for all those hours? Why do they have to haul so far away? Is that a business choice motivated by a lower cost? If so, then shame on them.

                  Factory farming is another horrid practice that makes my head hurt. My husband is an avid hunter so we get about half of our meat from the wild (every few years we raise our own oultry as well). The other part we buy from local growers who raise their animals with consideration. It is more expensive, but when food sources are CHEAP people do not appreciate it and waste it (just like gas).


                  • Choose? They don't choose they have no choice thats where theres a slaughter plant big enough to handle the numbers. Mom and pop butcher shops are all over the country and a great way for local people to get their livestock butchered,. But theres 300,000,000 in this country and the mom and pop places don't put a dent in the amount of livestock slaughtered each week. The large commercial plants slaughter 1000's each day and their very expensive to build and operate. Theres getting to be fewer plants because no one wants one in their back yard same as horse slaughter plants were. Close up plants but have an increase in demand for numbers killed leaves one option. Truck livestock further and further and make the existing plants bigger and bigger..

                    Sorry kids you can't have it both ways.
                    Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.


                    • |One more reason to stop buying meat from the grocery chains. That's just too bad.


                      • Just a question-I don't have experience in the slaughter induustry. But is the trend towards bigger and fewer plants due to people not wanting in their backyard or same as every other industry in the USA? In the last few decades almost every type of industry/sector has gone the giant route-from the airline, retail, banks, oil-pretty much any sector you can think of.You still have mom and pop units all over-but their volume is nothing when compared to the top two or three players-and if they do grow enough, they tend to get gobbled up. Even farming I believe is now getting dominated by the giant corporate types-well at least from what I have heard second hand? So is the trend towards giant farms/slaughter plants dictated by simple economics as it is in most other sectors?


                        • So I take it that people who believe that all animals have the same capacity to suffer want the entire world to become vegetarians? Including carnivorous animals - or is it okay for them? That is what proponents of horse slaughter fear the most. That if horse slaughter is banned, then cattle and other animals will also soon be "off the table". You do that and you'll end up with even more suffering and starvation. This a bit like saying that you can't stop oppression in the whole world so it is wrong to try and save any one country or person. This discussion is about horse slaughter and I still maintain that it is wrong because of the way horses interact with people. I agree that a big part of that is because of the way horses have been bred and handled by people and I do think a horse will suffer MORE if betrayal by those it has tried its best to serve is a factor. I do believe horses can suffer mental anguish and form true and lasting bonds with people just as dogs do. People have bred and trained them to be that way over hundreds of years and it is a betrayal to slaughter them. So it is not just my emotion, it is a fact. People have taken an animal that was is essence not much different to any other and selectively bred it to retain certain traits, one of which is intelligence and another is loyalty and the ability to bond with humans and to be athletic and brave. They haven't done that with cows. In fact they have selectively bred cattle to produce more meat and milk!

                          You say that people are "egocentric". Human beings have the right to survive and use animals to do so just as carnivorous animals have the right to use other animals to survive. I just don't see why they need to eat horses and want to stop that.


                          • So is the trend towards giant farms/slaughter plants dictated by simple economics as it is in most other sectors?

                            Yes, the move towards factory farming is driven by our HUGE appetite for meat, and cheap meat at that. People want humane methods but by and large are not willing to pay for it.

                            Secretariat...if you raised a horse the way you raise a cow, ie little interaction, it will be just as feral, believe me. Some will be a little more friendly, some less. They aren't born as companion animals, they are livestock that have been made into companion animals in recent history. And I also do believe that it is wrong to discard them, I am a horse lover too!

                            BTW, humans do not need massive quantities of meat to live. In fact they don't need any (soy is a complete protein). Factory farming/ livestock raising produces more greenhouse pollutants than all vehicles on this earth and if you dont beleive me, check out the UN statistics. Secondly, most meat in the quanties americans eat it is completely unhealthy. Thirdly, it is inhumane. The reason these facts are shunned is because we like to eat it, it tastes good and thats IT.If you wanna lie to yourself to make yourself feel better (and believe me, most of the world does, so your definately in the norm there!), have at it. But your arguement in defence of horses and for eating meat is not valid or logical.

                            If people ate meat in a healthy amount, ie once or twice a week, than factory farms wouldn't exist and neither would the same level of pollutants ect and welfare issue would naturally be adressed. So, it doesn't have to be one extreme or the other, it's all about moderation. Extremes never work..as we see with the horse slaughter issue and with america's HUGE appetite for meat.

                            BTW..you cannot compare humans to wild carnivors. Last time I checked we are a bit smarter than lions and coyotes...though lately, I really don't know lol.

                            "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.


                            • ---" Factory farming/ livestock raising produces more greenhouse pollutants than all vehicles on this earth and if you dont beleive me, check out the UN statistics. "---

                              Check it out yourself before posting it like you know:

                              Cattle Don't Have Much To Do With Global Warming

                              ST. PAUL, Minn. - Since the release of a United Nations (U.N.) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report in 2006, we've heard more and more about the carbon footprints and the green house gases generated in livestock production. That report claims that, on a global basis, raising livestock generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in carbon dioxide equivalent than use of fossil fuels in driving cars and trucks. This story has appeared over and over again in the media.

                              A second study that was release by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) didn't receive much media attention, but it should. The EPA report titled "U.S. Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks" crunched the numbers to determine that 80 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions come from the combustion of fossil fuels and only 2.3 percent from food animal production.

                              Although the EPA data clearly show the FAO statistics are irrelevant in the United States, mainstream media and online sources have called for Americans to reduce meat consumption to save the planet. Beef checkoff-funded media monitoring data show that cattle and global warming was the fourth-most covered beef industry environmental story in the past 12 months. Consumers are being told they can reduce global warming by reducing the amount of meat their household consumes... "---

                              Just because you hear it again and again in the media, it doesn't make it true.


                              • EPA doesn't really mean squat and around here they do their job as well as the USDA.


                                "Concern for animals is a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done." Harriet Beecher Stowe 1811-1896

                                Ponies are cool!


                                • I don't know why I'm bothering to argue with you but ...

                                  Secretariat...if you raised a horse the way you raise a cow, ie little interaction, it will be just as feral, believe me. Some will be a little more friendly, some less. They aren't born as companion animals, they are livestock that have been made into companion animals in recent history. And I also do believe that it is wrong to discard them, I am a horse lover too!
                                  If you raised a dog the way you raise a cow .... it would be just as feral. Horses have been domesticated and they ARE raised as companion animals. That is my argument - they shouldn't be slaughtered. I don't have a problem with the Europeans raising horses for meat - I've heard they actually do that and good luck to them. I just don't want people importing European horses for tens of thousands of dollars to the U.S. for competition horses and the U.S. exporting TBs by the pound! I don't want to argue about cows - I don't care that much about cows frankly. I'd prefer it if they were slaughtered in the most humane way possible but I don't want horses slaughtered AT ALL.

                                  If you can compare horses to cows to support your arguments, then I can compare humans to carnivores precisely because people are more intelligent. I'm merely trying to show you that killing animals and eating meat is NATURAL and not something that fat Americans came up with because they like to eat meat! If someone wants to get their protein from Soy beans - wonderful, go for it, but don't sneer at me because I like to eat chicken, beef and pork. I'd prefer to go to a butcher shop to buy meat but I don't know where one is in Northern VA! So I go to the Safeway. I'd PREFER to pay more for meat that is certified "humanely slaughtered" but where is it? And by the way, I don't know where you shop but meat is NOT cheap in Northern VA.

                                  I think my arguments in defence of horses are very valid and logical - they just don't support your view of a world where we could somehow end suffering and feed the world, if those darn, stupid, meat eating Americans would stop being so greedy and practice some moderation! I'd just like to stop Europeans from eating American horses!


                                  • Secretariat, try www.localharvest.org It looks like your part of the country has quite a few listed there.