Friday, January 07, 2011

Horse meat back on the table

Yes - bad, tasteless pun intended.

The whole unpleasant question about using slaughtering plants as a means to deal with "unwanted" horses is rearing its ugly head again. (Yup. Also intended.)

The Wall Street Journal ran a big article yesterday. This time, not only are ranchers tried to bring the slaughterhouses back - a growing number of animal welfare groups are apparently buying into the idea. They are finally confronting the fact that closing plants in the U.S. did not actually stop the problem, it just shifted the problem to Mexico, where the doomed creatures are subjected to an even a less humane fate.

What I don't get here is why are these "welfare" groups first thinking about this now? It's not like this argument wasn't debated endlessly when the Cavel plant in Illinois, and the plants in Texas (sorry, the names escape me) were closed a few years back.

And what's wrong with some of the alternatives? I personally like the suggestion that anyone who wants to buy a horse should pre-pay for euthanasia. If you can't afford it, well, then you probably shouldn't be buying a horse in the first place. I don't see why a vet couldn't hold the money in escrow, much like a lawyer holds money in trust for clients. If the vet eventually performs the euthanasia, it becomes an earned fee. If the client changes vets, the old vet just transfers the funds to the new vet's trust account. And if the horse passes on its own, the money would just be returned.

It's concerning that the very groups who should be gearing back up to fight this second (or more?) wave are rationalizing a way to capitulate. And my guess is that these slaughter advocates will find a very sympathetic ear with the new, uber-pro-business Republicans in Congress. (Not to veer off on too much of a political rant, but have you been reading about these folks??? Their zeal to repeal the new health care law has apparently not been dimmed by either the GAO's warnings that such a move would cost 230 billion dollars, or even the fact that some of them didn't see the need to get sworn-in before seizing power. Yeesh...)

(And if you have a chance to read the WSJ article, don't miss the part where it talks about Wyoming's law allowing prisons to serve horse meat to inmates, uninspected no less! Don't even get me started!!)

At any rate, on a more positive note, a new Canadian poll suggests that politicians' stances on farm animal welfare would affect their vote. (And another shout-out to Doug Powell at Kansas State for finding this story.) Way to go Canadian voters, eh?

No comments: