It turns out the debate about exporting horses for slaughter is pretty far from simple. Salon lays it out: On one side are those who argue that it’s cruel and terrifying for the horses involved. The other side: If you can’t slaughter the 100,000 unwanted horses that pop up annually, how do you dispose of them humanely and economically? Slaughter allows for a whole range of useful activities:

“Horse meat is eaten in France, Belgium, Italy, Japan and many other countries. Most every part of a horse is used: hides for leather; intestines for sausage casings; tails for paint brushes; hooves for glue. Historically horse byproducts went into pet food in the U.S.; even now, several zoos here import horse meat to feed their lions and tigers.”

Sounds good. On the other hand:

“Nancy Perry, the Humane Society’s vice president of government affairs, explains that unlike cows, chickens and pigs, horses live and work closely with people. They’re also flighty, fractious and easily frightened. These traits make them ill-suited for industrialized slaughter.”

Overall, a fascinating read that is more likely to leave you on the fence about horse slaughter than on either side of the issue.

Image source: Flickr member Mike Licht, under Creative Commons

See more articles