Thursday, August 16, 2007

A letter to the editor printed in the Daily Chronicle

Consumers should be criticized, not Cavel | 133 comment(s)

CHARLIE LARSON

Editor:

As a person who has been around horses much of my life (e.g., as a rider and owner, behind farm implements, during “putting down” and burials), I have been following with increasing incredulity the debate about the slaughter of horses at the Cavel International plant in DeKalb.

Let's approach the issues rationally. Here are two basic premises central to the debate on which both sides can agree:

Premise 1: All of these horses will die at some time.

Premise 2: All of them will be consumed in some way (e.g., by humans, animals, maggots or flames).

Now what is the cruelest way for these horses to die (aside from hanging, drowning, torturing, etc., as with fighting dogs)? Probably it is from the various vicissitudes of old age or from intentional starvation. The government regulates the means of killing animals at various kinds of slaughterhouses, and apparently it is quick and about as painless as a veterinary euthanasia. So the ultimate issue seems to be who or what will consume the remains. Unless the horse owners submit their animals to taxidermy, the remains will be eaten by pets (if the carcasses are sent to a rendering plant), eaten by humans (if Cavel sells them), eaten by maggots (if the carcasses are buried) or consumed by flames (if the horses are cremated).

The first two options seem the most resource- and energy-efficient, especially considering the employment generated by these options and the cost and energy entailed in burial or cremation.

So, isn't the bottom line a question of who or what consumes the remains? And if one objects to human consumption, shouldn't that be brought up with the consumers (Japan, Belgium, etc.), not with the processors? It seems to me that society would be best served by working on the dog-fighting issue.

CHARLIE LARSON

Sycamore, IL

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