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America: do what's right and stop horse slaughter

December 11, 2007

Americans can afford to do what's right. Despite this, the United States chooses to promote an unethical industry that exploits our dying horses.

To remain a dominating market force, American industries use abusive and thoughtless methods of slaughter to stay competitive, efficient, and profitable. Horse-loving Americans condemn other world cultures for permitting horse consumption, and yet tolerated inhumane slaughter in the United States. Why? There must be something wrong with the way America processes its meat. Why do Americans only show favouritism for certain animals? As a nation, the United States chooses to promote the inhumane treatment of farm animals by purchasing from the meat industry without questioning its affordability. It is America's dirty secret.

Small family owned farms are being replaced by factory farms. Over time, the processing techniques in the meat industry have become more merciless, notorious, and immoral, all in the name of competition and consumer demand. Meat industry workers cope with abusing animals by imagining the animal as an inanimate object unable to feel pain and suffering.

Horses are labeled as farm animals, yet in reality, they are pets. Pets are anthropomorphized and spoiled with brand named foods, toys, decorative collars and cages, and lots of attention. Americans treat pets as close companions and farm animals as laboring slaves. Livestock animals are excused as not having the same ability to feel emotional and physical pain as pets. They are shown no sympathy.


The neglected and dying horses are usually sold in horse auctions, sold to the mercy of abusive slaughter supporters. Profit is valued over moral behaviour. They are treated as if they were already dead.

It's not wrong to eat meat. Protein is essential for human health. If animals hadn't been domesticated for agricultural use and consumption, our nation would not have flourished the way it has. Farm animals improve efficiency in agricultural production and serve our nutritional needs.

But, it is morally wrong to abuse any being capable of suffering. Yet, horses are not respected when they are dead or dying in the US. They are burdensome to many horse owners. The cost of humane horse disposal is roughly $200-$250. Most horse owners would rather not pay the cost, so they look for alternative disposal methods. The neglected and dying horses are usually sold in horse auctions, sold to the mercy of abusive slaughter supporters. Profit is valued over moral behaviour. Horse abuse on the way to and at the slaughter houses is unacceptable, but often overlooked. Horses are weakened to the point that they can no longer stand. Horses are crammed into trailers, unable to eat or move. They develop wounds, broken bones, and bleeding sores that are unable to heal. It would cost horse dealers money to take care of the horses' medical and food and water needs. They are treated as if they were already dead.

This is why it is wrong for America to send horses to be slaughtered. Not because it is wrong to eat horse meat, but because it promotes bad ethics and behaviour. Horse meat is not consumed in this country; beef, chicken, pork, and fish are the preferred and traditional protein alternative. When they operated, American slaughter houses exported the horse meat to horse eating cultures such as Kazakhstan and France. The immoral and unnecessary methods and behaviour practised by slaughter houses go against everything Americans stand for. Our behavioral norms in society are broken by those employed in the meat industry when they neglect, abuse, and traumatize horses.

There is economic benefit when the meat is exported, but this benefit is outweighed by the social cost. How can we let such bad behaviour support our source of income? It is blood money. Americans turned a blind eye because slaughter houses created jobs and were an easy and cheap way to dispose of a once-loved pet horse. If these bad ethics are tolerated, other industries in the US catch on to the success of covert cruelty. As a result of this unequal competition, other industries will be tempted to alter their own methods. The quality of these other industries' services, production methods, and employment treatment will decrease to cut costs, which would increase their profit margin and keep them competitive with unethical firms.

There is evidence to suggest that the once abundant wild mustangs who roamed America's land freely are now being 'adopted' by the slaughtering industry. These wild horses are being exploited and no one is stopping it. Soon the wild horses will no longer be a part of America's grasslands.

The US has been blessed and cursed with abundance. By greed we want more to come cheaper and by the bulk. Exploiting others is what we have to do to get it. American industries dominate world markets with competitive prices and products. To stay dominate, the industries need to be price and non-price competitive. This requires efficiency and mass production. American citizens think the horse slaughtering act is morally wrong because of the way the horses are treated; however, the American meat industry processes all farm animals in this way. It is disgusting. We lose focus of what's right and wrong and resort to relativism to tolerate our immoral behavior.

We need to take a step back and re-evaluate the way we exploit our resources. It causes pain not only to sentient beings such as our beloved horses, but also to the environment and others around us. It is easy to forget that our resources are not infinite and can very easily run out, leaving us high and dry. With abundance, wealth, and power comes the ability to use natural resources carelessly.

The United States should start taking responsibility for its exploitive treatment towards horses.