A Primer on Horse Slaughter (A)

First published in early November of 2011 – I have put this post up front because it has become buried beneath my more recent posts and readers often have to search for it.  Enjoy and don’t forget to check Primer part B, part B+,  part C (The Last Part – Possibly) and appendices, as well as the ‘Slaughter Stats and Facts’ category for updates. I have also created a ‘Featured Articles’ page to display popular blog posts.

Before I set up the Q&A format, let me say that, at no time, does this primer refer to animals traditionally raised for, and used as, food for human consumption.  Horses fall into a unique category, as North American pets such as dogs and cats fit into their own special category, justified by the place horses have always held in the history of civilisation, the building of nations; service, military and sport roles.  Even if (or especially if) you don’t agree with that statement, stay with me anyway and see if your pro-horse slaughter argument still stands in the face of the facts presented.  So, if you’re clear that we are not, at any time, talking about animals purposely bred for food, and that we are only talking about equines (vegetarians, leave the room and go have a smoke), let’s start with a few questions and then some definitions:

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Horse meat: A Deadly Mouthful

Horse meat:  A Deadly Mouthful

On ne mange pas son ami! shouted the citizenry of Montréal at a raucous demonstration held around Christmas time in 1759 after the Catholic Church had enjoined parishioners to eat their horses during a time when beef was scarce.  “One doesn’t eat one’s friends” arose from a set of rural values which held that your horse was essential to your livelihood as a farmer—as necessary to your survival as agrarian-friendly weather.  Still, traditional recipes passed down from one generation to the next show that at least some Québécois ate their horses, for whatever reason, at some point in Québec history.  In the early 1950s, my own mother’s obstetrician ordered her to eat horsemeat to “enrich her blood”, the very lean meat considered a natural remedy for anaemia.  Today, proponents of horse slaughter for human consumption argue that horse meat is healthier for you than beef, and at the end of his life, a horse can serve yet another human purpose:  to feed the hungry.  

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