Champing at the Bit


A horse is a horse, of course (of course). But can it also be dinner? For some, the answer is a resounding yes. For others, the idea of eating Seabiscuit can be off-putting (but really, doesn’t a seabiscuit sound like a delicious variation on the hush puppy?). If the Senate passes the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (it was approved by the House in September), it won’t be a choice anymore. Granted, the bill concerns horse as property more than it does horse as food, as it actually outlaws horse slaughter, not horse eating, but the end result is the same. I can’t help but wonder what the difference between a horse and a cow is in this case. It’s not as if there’s a shortage of horses and this bill promotes equine sustainability. In fact, there are only three horse slaughterhouses in the entire U.S., and nearly all of that meat is exported to countries like Belgium, France, Italy, and Japan, where not only is horsemeat a delicacy but American horsemeat is viewed as the best example of said delicacy.

The act of horse slaughter is no more cruel than any other kind of animal slaughter, so the bill doesn’t seem to exist in an effort to reduce animal cruelty. And so, why is horse slaughter being banned? This ban (which seems as if it’s a lock to become law) seems to exist only because horses are, like, cuter than other edible animals. People who spend lots of time around them discuss the emotional bond that they feel with their horses, similar to the way people feel a bond with cats and dogs. But then, it should be the prerogative of those people not to slaughter or eat their horses. Do we really need laws in place telling us what is or isn’t good eating? I wonder what butter-poached horse steak would taste like, anyway.

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