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While horsemeat consumption is on the rise throughout Europe, few if any, are willing to admit they are eating animals such as wild horses, family pets, race horses, or mares who had been kept pregnant for their entire lives to develop Premarin (Pregnant Mares' Urine), which is used for estrogen replacement therapy.
thousands of horses, both wild and domestic, who are slaughtered in three US slaughterhouses, two in Texas and one in Illinois, every year for their meat. In 1999, 62,813 horses were dragged through these slaughterhouses on their way to satisfy culinary demand in Belgium, France, Italy, Japan and other countries. With beef consumption dropping dramatically throughout Europe as a response to BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) or “mad cow” disease, and the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease, consumers are looking to other sources of meat, including horse.
Lawyers and animal rights activist are calling on the federal government to ban the practice of slaughtering horses for human consumption.
Following a CBC investigation that aired last week, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition and prominent Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby on Wednesday released a video and report detailing alleged animal cruelty and inhumane practices at a Saskatchewan horse slaughter facility.
The video, taken with a hidden camera at Natural Valley Farms in Neudorf, Sask., shows horses slipping around inside the kill pen as handlers struggle to stun them properly. Some are still conscious when they are finally put to death.
Calling the commercial trade in horses for food "ridiculous," Ruby said one of the primary arguments for shutting down the industry entirely is because it is impossible to regulate.
"No one seems interested in policing it, no one seems capable of policing it,"
Horse slaughter businesses in Canada have grown by 75 per cent since laws were passed in the United States in 2006 making it illegal to kill horses for human consumption, according to figures from the food inspection agency. It is still legal to ship horses outside the U.S. for slaughter.
According to McClatchy Newspapers, the three plants slaughtered more than 90,000 horses in 2005, largely for distribution to parts of Europe and Japan, where horse meat is considered a delicacy. The meat, which is lean and high in protein, is also sold to zoos. Two plants are in Texas, and one is in Illinois.
Some people eat horse meat and others obviously find just the thought of that to be wrong. But even if you personally don’t believe that horses should be used as food does that give you the moral right to pass laws that effectively stop those people from eating horse meat?
Let’s face it. Whether you slice it or grind it, fry it or BBQ it, meat is meat. Whether it comes from a cow, or a pig or a chicken or a dog or a horse it logically makes no difference.
As a friend of mine pointed out, Arabs and Jews don’t eat pork and the Chinese love it. Hindus don’t eat cows. Some cultures eat dogs. Is any one morally superior because of their diet?