Making Horse Sense Out Of Horse Meat
Many people are in an uproar about the Congress' new ruling on the use of horse meat in America. The blogosphere has been full of complaints and I've seen comments on blaming President Obama as a "horse killer". How could our leaders think it is a good idea to slaughter Black Beauty? How could anyone take a bite out of Secretariat? Before everyone starts protesting the Seabisquit Sub-of-the-Month, there are some things we should all understand on this new source of legislature. While I, personally, do not find the idea of eating horse appealing, is there more to this story? I did some digging around and found out some information on this new rule. Take a look at this explanation at the Equine Extermination Law and see what you think before you decide to start Occupying Horse Farms.
The news has a good way of twisting things around. Most of these stories start with: "Eating Horses? Horse Slaughter Ban Lifted." Guess what? A lot of people are very emotional on this and with good reason! People view horses as beloved pets. They are companions that fall into the same group as a cat or a dog. This isn't the Law of Evil as it seems, though. The ruling that was in place, that most news agencies are reporting, is a 2006 ban on the use of federal money toward the inspection of horses headed for slaughter. They didn't stop horses from being slaughtered, they just stopped them from being inspected. All other meat in the US requires an inspection by the USDA before being distributed as food - to United States citizens. It didn't stop them from slaughtering horses, just selling the meat for consumption in the United States.
It doesn't? You might be surprised, but the U.S. is the 6th largest producer of horse meat in the world! You wouldn't be alone. According to some records 89% of the American population think that it is illegal to kill horses for food production in the United States. They are wrong. While it is not illegal to slaughter horses in the U.S., the use of horse purchasers, known as Kill Buyers, often leads to the bidding on stolen horses which are then exported into Canada and Mexico. Prior to 2007, the U.S. had three major horse slaughterhouses: one in Illinois and two in Texas. Of the meat used in horse production 10% of it was used for zoo animals, while 90% of the meat was shipped overseas for human consumption - mainly to Europe. Since the Federal government only inspects about 1% of the food that is imported back into the U.S. (Source: USA Today, April 16, 2007), horse meat is often imported from Mexico mixed with other meats (beef, bacon, etc...). Much of this is initially exported to them through the U.S.
Ninety percent of horse meat is used for human consumption. It is a dry meat, so it is often mixed with fatty animal products, such as bacon. It is then turned into a ground product or a steak for human consumption. In the past, it was cut into chunks and used in dog food, but this was banned in the United States in the 1970s. The rest of the food is sent to zoos around the world to feed carnivores, such as lions and tigers.
How can anyone eat My Little Pony? They seem like gentle and magnificent creatures. However, they are consumed by most of the rest of the world. The big countries for horse consumption are: Kazakhstan, Mexico, Japan, Mongolia, France, Germany, and Belgium. n Europe, the consumption of horse meat is often considered a delicacy. Many people in Catholic-countries (Spain and Italy, for example) find horse meat offensive because they believe it is against the Bible's teachings.
With all of this banned in the United States, you must think horse meat is bad for people. This isn't true. Horse meat is actually leaner than beef, has less fat, and is considered a healthy choice of red meat for people with heart problems. If it is healthy, then why don't they serve it in the United States? The answer is that most medicines that horses take are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Additionally, horses are not raised to be food animals, they just become food. This means that they are not fed antibiotics their entire lives to fatten them up for slaughter. Whether this is good or bad you can decide for yourself. In any case, I don't think I will be adding horse meat into my diet anytime soon...