Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We eat horses, don't we?

Well, now we do.

There are so many levels of mistaken assumption to point out in association with this story that I almost don’t know where to begin.

It started for me when I saw a post by a distant FB friend who said ‘[Obama] needs to be out of here!’ based on her anger at horse slaughter becoming legal again.

First there’s the ignorance of basic civics, and how laws are made--that is, Congress writes laws, meaning a shitload of Republicans AND Democrats agreed to pass this shite bill before it ever made it to Obama’s desk. (I think she may have unfriended me after I gently pointed this out to her...she definitely pulled her post.)

It’s pretty funny how predisposed dislikes create a bad guy instantly in people’s minds before they even know what it is they’re mad about.

But anyway. Putting aside Fox News-educated understanding of how the world works for a moment, what is really irksome about this is the dumbness and hypocrisy of saying one animal is verboten for human consumption while any number of other animals are perfectly acceptable. It’s the Dennis Leary ‘otters are cute’ argument, and it makes just as much sense.

As Jonathan Safran Foer pointed out in ‘Eating Animals’ (and in an excellent ‘Modest Proposal’) if the issue is whether dogs--or in this case horses--are intelligent, feeling, playful, sensitive, companion animals, then we should not only not kill and eat horses and dogs and cats. We should stop killing pigs immediately, and probably cows and possibly even chickens as well.

So for the same people who natter on about how great bacon is or who play the chest-thumping ‘I’m a carnivore’ card to get all weepy about Nugget or Fido ending up in someone’s stewpot demonstrates a tremendous disconnect and failure to think through the entirety of the problem.

SIDEBAR: By the way, how tough do you have to be to slaughter an animal that has no idea what you’re up to and no way to fight back? Kill and eat a human and I might respect your bad-assery, tough guy.

So, yes, Obama signed an odious bill into law allowing the slaughter of horses for human consumption, a law passed by (Republican- or at least Money-controlled) Congress, a bill that was pushed by pro-horse slaughter forces in red states like Wyoming. And, no, we shouldn’t eat horses, for the same reasons we don’t eat dogs or cats, because they are smart, loving, intelligent, playful animals with apparently rich emotional lives that we can never truly understand. But by that logic neither should we eat pigs or cows. At the very least, people should be aware of the hypocrisy of eating one type of animal that possesses these qualities while being appalled at the notion of eating another.

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