Monday, September 24, 2007

The crime of beating a dead horse

There is nothing like continuing to beat a dead horse, but of course, we all know that horses live forever. That is certainly how it seems when it comes to explaining the necessity of horse slaughter in this country. To bring you up to speed on this scenario, last fall the House of Representatives passed a bill that would permanently ban horse slaughter in the United States. The bill did not pass the Senate prior to the new Senate taking office but the bill was re-introduced on Jan 17, 2007. Remember, there are currently only three horse slaughter facilities in the country, two in Texas and one in Illinois.

After a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on Jan 19, 2007, the two plants in Texas must shut down. Ruling on appeal of a lower court ruling, the 5th Circuit Court ruled unanimously that a 1949 Texas law banning the harvesting of horses for the sale of meat made horse slaughter illegal in the state of Texas. A lower court had previously ruled that Federal Law pre-empted the 1949 Texas law. For 27 years, horses have been harvested in Texas. Why, all of a sudden, does the court system decide that is it illegal? Because today, everyday citizens, law makers and evidently judges as well, fail to understand our system of natural resources and the cycle of life.
The most troubling thing to me about the whole ruling lies in what one of the judges said when making the ruling. ``The lone cowboy riding his horse on a Texas trail is a cinematic icon.'' ``Not once in memory did the cowboy eat his horse, but film is an imperfect mirror.''
Now I want to share a couple of observation about this. Only one news source is printing the last line, “but film is an imperfect mirror”. Most stop with “Not once in memory did the cowboy eat his horse”. I believe that goes a long way toward reflecting the bias that most all news sources displayed in reporting the story. But even more troubling is the fact that the content of movies should in no way, shape or form play a role in a judges ruling.
History tells us that most American Indian tribes, pre-1900, had a taste for roasted horsemeat. We know that Lewis and Clark would have never completed their journey as the Corps of Discovery without the consumption of horsemeat. Members of the Donner Party, stranded in the Sierra Nevada mountains in the winter of 1846-47, ate their horses to survive, as did citizens of Vicksburg, Mississippi during the Union army's siege of the city during the Civil War. And it was horsemeat that American soldiers consumed for nourishment in the European trenches during World War I. I suppose for the court system to know any of that, Disney will need to make a movie where people eat horsemeat.

Only a society so disconnected from the purpose of life would begin to make laws against the consumption of natural resources at the same time as people are living with hunger on a daily basis. Last fall the USDA indicated the highest number of food insecure households in the history of our country but well-fed attorneys and judges could care less about that, because they have access to all the food they want. In fact, I guarantee you that the food wasted by these socially elite at their fancy dinner parties could feed a hungry family of five for a year.

It might seem like a strange example but I think it clearly illustrates how skewed our thinking is. Your dog, “man’s best friend” is the first one to meet you in the driveway every time you come home, tail wagging and happy. A whopping 84% of all Americans now consider their dog to be their kid, which I think is totally wrong, but it shows just how close we are as humans to worshipping animals. Yet there are reports every year of pet owners who have died and go unnoticed for a couple days only to be found consumed by their own pet. Yes, a dog has better understanding of the proper use of natural resources than so many with higher IQs in our population today. The sad fact is with the current path we are on of banning horse slaughter for any purpose, soon it will easier to beat a dead horse than ever before. About 100,000 extra will be available each year. Then we will see what the real crime can be and it is certainly not converting an animal that is of no use in its current state to a useful, beneficial product that could help continue the cycle of life for pets, zoo animals and even humans around the world.

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