Washington Babylon — November 16, 2007, 1:53 pm

Voting “Neigh” on the Horsemeat Ban

Question: Is it okay to eat Arnold Ziffel but morally wrong to eat Mr. Ed?

Bo Derek, Willie Nelson, the Barbi twins, the American Welfare Institute, and the Humane Society are currently pushing the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA), which would ban the killing of horses for human consumption and bar the export of horses for slaughter. Advocates have already won state laws that shut down the three remaining domestic horse slaughterhouses (two in Texas and one in Illinois), which exported mostly to France and Belgium. Now horses are being exported for slaughter to Canada and Mexico; conditions in the latter are said to be especially grim

horsies

The American Welfare Institute says of the situation:

Betraying our equine ally
Horses have served humans throughout history, carrying us on their backs, tilling our fields, drawing wagons and carriages, enriching our lives as friends and companions. In the United States, horses have never been raised for human consumption, yet American horses are being killed so their meat can satisfy the palates of overseas diners in countries such as Italy, France, Belgium, and Japan.

Just this week, Derek and her annoying husband boyfriend, John Corbett of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”), went to Capitol Hill to drum up support for the bill. So far, the list of its bipartisan congressional backers include Senators Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and John Ensign of Nevada. And why not? After all, who wants to see Black Stallion turned into sauerbraten?

But wait a moment. Are French horse eaters worse than American cow, pig, or chicken eaters? Keep in mind that unlike the last three animals, horses aren’t raised for food. Animals raised on factory farms live in infinitely more squalid circumstances than horses destined for the dinner plate. Bo and her friends say that transport conditions to Mexico are appalling, with, in the words of the American Welfare Institute, horses “typically hauled for more than 24 hours without rest, water, or food in trailers that provide little protection from weather extremes. They are often forced onto cattle trailers with ceilings so low they injure their heads.” That may well be true, but shutting down the domestic slaughterhouses has increased exports. So now more horses are being sent off to Mexico.

But, runs the counterargument, if the AHSPA passes and the export trade is banned, American horses will roam free and live happy lives. There are hundreds of horse rescue operations in existence, they say, and unwanted horses that would otherwise be slaughtered would be adopted and cared for.

But is that really the case? Most horses sent to slaughter are past their prime and unwanted by the farmers or ranchers who own them. Patricia Evans, of Utah State University’s Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences Department, says that more horses are being abandoned now that domestic slaughterhouses have been closed. The advocates “predicted that shutting down domestic slaughterhouses wouldn’t increase neglect and abuse, but we’re in the real world,” she said. “Unfortunately, kids get abused and so do animals.” (Evans will be speaking about the issue tomorrow at 10 a.m. Mountain Time on KPCW, an NPR affiliate in Utah. A link should be available at the station’s website.

Linda Wilson Fuoco wrote an article in yesterday’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in which Wayne Pacelle, head of the Humane Society, said that owners who are abandoning a horse should instead have a veterinarian “euthanize” it or send it to a horse sanctuary. Unfortunately, Fuoco wrote, “Every horse rescue and farm animal rescue that I deal with currently has a ‘no room in the inn’ sign on their barn doors. They all have waiting lists.” As to euthanasia, Fuoco said that would cost more than $300 between fees for the vet and burial charges (tombstone excluded). As nice as that would be, a lot of horse owners simply aren’t going to pay that much for an animal’s funeral, which would explain why more horses are apparently being abandoned.

Clearly, this is a charged issue—horses are beautiful, noble animals, but they’re also relatively low-fat with plenty of iron. And the proposed legislation, rather than protecting horses, may lead to more suffering animals, rather than less.

Share
Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

Commentary November 17, 2015, 6:41 pm

Shaky Foundations

The Clintons’ so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends.

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Get access to 167 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

February 2018

Modern Despots

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Before the Deluge

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Notes to Self

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Within Reach

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Bodies in The Forest

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Minds of Others

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Pushing the Limit·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In the early Eighties, Andy King, the coach of the Seawolves, a swim club in Danville, California, instructed Debra Denithorne, aged twelve, to do doubles — to practice in the morning and the afternoon. King told Denithorne’s parents that he saw in her the potential to receive a college scholarship, and even to compete in the Olympics. Tall swimmers have an advantage in the water, and by the time Denithorne turned thirteen, she was five foot eight. She dropped soccer and a religious group to spend more time at the pool.

Illustration by Shonagh Rae
Article
The Minds of Others·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Progress is impossible without change,” George Bernard Shaw wrote in 1944, “and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” But progress through persuasion has never seemed harder to achieve. Political segregation has made many Americans inaccessible, even unimaginable, to those on the other side of the partisan divide. On the rare occasions when we do come face-to-face, it is not clear what we could say to change each other’s minds or reach a worthwhile compromise. Psychological research has shown that humans often fail to process facts that conflict with our preexisting worldviews. The stakes are simply too high: our self-worth and identity are entangled with our beliefs — and with those who share them. The weakness of logic as a tool of persuasion, combined with the urgency of the political moment, can be paralyzing.

Yet we know that people do change their minds. We are constantly molded by our environment and our culture, by the events of the world, by the gossip we hear and the books we read. In the essays that follow, seven writers explore the ways that persuasion operates in our lives, from the intimate to the far-reaching. Some consider the ethics and mechanics of persuasion itself — in religion, politics, and foreign policy — and others turn their attention to the channels through which it acts, such as music, protest, and technology. How, they ask, can we persuade others to join our cause or see things the way we do? And when it comes to our own openness to change, how do we decide when to compromise and when to resist?

Illustration (detail) by Lincoln Agnew
Article
Within Reach·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On a balmy day last spring, Connor Chase sat on a red couch in the waiting room of a medical clinic in Columbus, Ohio, and watched the traffic on the street. His bleached-blond hair fell into his eyes as he scrolled through his phone to distract himself. Waiting to see Mimi Rivard, a nurse practitioner, was making Chase nervous: it would be the first time he would tell a medical professional that he was transgender.

By the time he arrived at the Equitas Health clinic, Chase was eighteen, and had long since come to dread doctors and hospitals. As a child, he’d had asthma, migraines, two surgeries for a tumor that had caused deafness in one ear, and gangrene from an infected bug bite. Doctors had always assumed he was a girl. After puberty, Chase said, he avoided looking in the mirror because his chest and hips “didn’t feel like my body.” He liked it when strangers saw him as male, but his voice was high-pitched, so he rarely spoke in public. Then, when Chase was fourteen, he watched a video on YouTube in which a twentysomething trans man described taking testosterone to lower his voice and appear more masculine. Suddenly, Chase had an explanation for how he felt — and what he wanted.

Illustration by Taylor Callery
Article
Before the Deluge·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In the summer of 2016, when Congress installed a financial control board to address Puerto Rico’s crippling debt, I traveled to San Juan, the capital. The island owed some $120 billion, and Wall Street was demanding action. On the news, President Obama announced his appointments to the Junta de Supervisión y Administración Financiera. “The task ahead for Puerto Rico is not an easy one,” he said. “But I am confident Puerto Rico is up to the challenge of stabilizing the fiscal situation, restoring growth, and building a better future for all Puerto Ricans.” Among locals, however, the control board was widely viewed as a transparent effort to satisfy mainland creditors — just the latest tool of colonialist plundering that went back generations.

Photograph from Puerto Rico by Christopher Gregory
Article
Monumental Error·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In 1899, the art critic Layton Crippen complained in the New York Times that private donors and committees had been permitted to run amok, erecting all across the city a large number of “painfully ugly monuments.” The very worst statues had been dumped in Central Park. “The sculptures go as far toward spoiling the Park as it is possible to spoil it,” he wrote. Even worse, he lamented, no organization had “power of removal” to correct the damage that was being done.

Illustration by Steve Brodner

Amount American Airlines saved in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first class:

$40,000

A daddy longlegs preserved in amber 99 million years ago was found to have an erection.

Trump tweeted that he had created “jobs, jobs, jobs” since becoming president, and it was reported that Trump plans to bolster job creation by loosening regulations on the global sale of US-made artillery, warships, fighter jets, and drones.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Report — From the June 2013 issue

How to Make Your Own AR-15

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

Subscribe Today