Racism and Horse Slaughter
I was planning to write a post called What You Don’t Know about Quebec Will Kill Your Horse but I’ve noticed that as soon as someone (usually a fellow Canadian, and sometimes, some Americans) discovers that I’m a Quebecker, they turn away as if I had cooties; we’ll get to the reasons for that a little later. Right now, I’ve decided to discuss how insidious human proclivities (you know, bad and/or malignant habits) creep in to animal advocacy arguments and yes, even those against horse slaughter…one of them being racism. (Before you continue, note that I am not playing Camille Paglia to Germaine Greer. I revere Greer and I think Paglia was a misguided, co-opted pawn, but I credit Paglia with introducing weaknesses in the feminist argument which, taken separately, were useful correctives, but taken as a whole, did more to harm the feminist movement than the book, Fascinating Womanhood, did…but, I digress).
So let’s return to how animal advocates’ arguments sometimes degenerate into distracting and useless racist polemics. Case in point: I was on somebody’s FB this week on a post shared through my link to a petition to China to stop giving baby turtles in plastic bags as souvenirs to tourists. The third commentator wrote: ”Well, what do you expect from people who throw pots and pans down the stairs to name their children?” Won Hung Lo, and all that. (Of course, he had an Italian family name, and as we know, Italians eat horsemeat, In Sito Horse Protection notwithstanding, so they’re another entire nation consigned to hell.) The FB owner didn’t get it, so he replied: ”you know, the yellow horde” (he spelled it “hoard” btw, so we know how low his knowledge base is). Instantly, the next few comments were about how the “Chinese” eat dogs and cats, etc…and I don’t remember the rest of the detritus because after deciding not to enter the fray, I left that person’s FB. (And yes, good point, reader: the only one who questioned who the tourists were, providing the “demand” for this heinous “supply” of slowly suffocating creatures, was left in the dust of the racist comments that buried the whole point. In short, once the racist element took over, all other relevant points were ignored.)
The next day, there was another outburst on another site, this time against the Japanese, and this one was particularly offensive because it followed someone’s calm and circumspect description of cultural differences. (Remember these were all so-called animal or horse advocates.) The comment was: ”So how do we get those Japanese to stop eating horsemeat?” “Well,” I was tempted to reply, “when you shut down all those illegal slaughterhouses in Florida, then maybe we can approach the Japanese government with (fairly) clean hands, and ask if they would stop importing our horses for the high-end dinners served to (probably) visiting WASP Americans or their Asian wanna-be’s.” But I didn’t. And the reason I didn’t is the same reason that I don’t write to Sue Wallis or here in Canada, Bill des Barres: there is no reasoning with people who are unreasonable…or people who slam entire populations based on–what–that some of their citizens eat horsemeat? I mean, do we really, really think that all few billion Chinese are, as we speak, chowing down on Trigger? Mind you, that in part explains some people’s utter disdain for Quebeckers. In their minds, horsemeat for Quebeckers… “…is what’s fer supper!” And all those horse-eating epicureans in Ontario, well…’nuff said.
Oh yes, except for you and me, everyone is disgusting….which brings me to the recent internet virus, or, um, phenomenon: the young man who posted a supposedly horrid, graphic picture of a horse bleeding out, taken at his father’s abattoir. N o w what’s the problem? Didn’t we already cover this in blog post Oregon? In fact, that boy’s picture is much less horrifying than dozens I’ve seen (and you’ve seen, too) shown in the four videos distributed by our own CHDC, and (shading my eyes), Animals-Angels USA. What seems to have upset everyone is that it was posted by a young man, and/or his father runs an abattoir and/or his father’s hypocrisy in chastising his son for facebooking a picture which shows what happens every three minutes in a horse abattoir–or, and this is the most comical: that FB permitted it. Have you seen some of the junk posted on FB? Are you kidding? Yes, hypocritical father who probably, up to now, has been thumping his son on the back, saying “One day, my boy, this (animals bludgeoned and bleeding to death)…all this will be yours!” What parent doesn’t want his progeny to continue in his line of work? (Haven’t you seen the 194os movie, Life With Father ,and countless others?)
Then, of course, because this issued from New Zealand, the whole thing somehow turns in to “Do they even care about this in New Zealand?” Here we go again…. Of course, they do! I have friends in NZ and OZ, and, at the moment, they’re more worried about “mulesing” practices on sheep, and the export of live animals across continents, never mind contiguous countries like Canada and Mexico.
Let’s stop–just stop–being so unsophisticated, so tribalistic, so…oh you know…as to think that we in North America are the only nations on earth that abhor and deplore how animals, flora and native fauna are treated on God’s good earth. There are pockets of people in every single nation in the world who feel as we do, doing what they can, where they can to stop it. Just because they don’t speak our language doesn’t mean we don’t speak the same language…get it? Capisce? Comprends-tu? Drop the hoodie and expand your peripheral vision so it’s just like a horse’s panoramic view…just think how many more colleagues around the world we’ll have.
If racism or racist views develop from loving animals, then we now have the dark flip side of the often-cited argument that people in their youth who harm animals are likely to harm people as adults. If the kind of people who make racism part of their pro-animal position always were so to begin with, then it’s a short step to a moral opportunism that hijacks the cause. Racism always harbours fascism, and as history has shown repeatedly, that road leads to hell.