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We Have Eaten Horses, Haven’t We?

In “We Eat Horses, Don’t We?” in The New York Times, Christa Weil explains that contrary to what most Americans believe, our history shows that we have indeed sporadically used horses as food. And as you may know, other cultures, such as the French and Canadians, consider it a delicacy. Like most vegans, when I heard about this bill passed last week in the House, which prohibits the commercial sale and slaughter of wild free-roaming horses and burros, I was ambivalent. Sure, it’s great that this year another 130,000+ horses won’t be slaughtered for human consumption. But what about the billions of farm animals who suffer each day of their lives and die hideous deaths? As Weil points out, “The ill treatment of slaughter-bound horses is bad, but it would be worse still if it made us pay less attention to the undue suffering of other food animals.”

We don’t eat horses because it’s not part of our culture. But eating cows, chickens and fish is. Culture can be defined as: the word we use to explain something that is otherwise inexplicable or unjustifiable.

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    Joel Stein wrote an article on the same topic (ie: eating horses) in Time about a month or so back. It was an interesting read because he made the argument that if people are going to eat cows, pigs, etc. then why stop at horses just because they’re cute? It was kind of pro-vegan, only not.