Hungry Enough to Eat a Horse: Students React to New Law Legalizing Horse Slaughter for Human Consumption

Hungry Enough to Eat a Horse: Students React to New Law Legalizing Horse Slaughter for Human Consumption

Some of the horses from Ryerss Farm for Aged Equines eat grass from the field, while others look for a free handout along the side of PA Route 23 near Pottstown, Pennsylvania. |(Clem Murray/ Philadelphia Inquirer/MCT)

“I don’t know why someone would eat a horse. I’ve never really heard of that before.”

This was the thought that perplexed Valerie Fitton ’14 when she learned of the passage of federal Spending Bill H.R. 2112, which legalizes the slaughtering of horses for human consumption.

Since 2006, Congress has prohibited the regulation and inspection of horses for domestic slaughter. However, the new agricultural spending bill, which President Barack Obama signed on Nov. 18, does not contain any language preventing the slaughter of horses.

In a statement on Nov. 29, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said that there are currently no slaughterhouses in the United States that butcher horses.

When Grace McDavid-Seidner ’13 heard that this law had been passed, she says she became genuinely upset, especially since she had not heard anything regarding such a decision prior to the law’s passage.

“I think it was unnecessary, and lifting the ban on horse meat seems extremely backwards to me,” said McDavid-Seidner, who says she does not condone the consumption of any meat.

Some students like Rusty Schindler ’13 believe that condoning horse slaughter is horrifying due to the image of horses that has been portrayed in the media.

“Horses have become somewhat iconic through movies, television, and people’s history of simply riding them,” Schindler said. “They are definitely not meant to be eaten; that just seems cruel and disgusting.”

The image of a horse is also beautiful to Emily Nuzzo ’13, who has been horseback riding for over 10 years.

“They are extremely strong but gentle animals. It sounds weird, but they legitimately understand humans; they can sense emotions, and they react to that,” Nuzzo said. “Slaughtering horses is awful and unfair. It just shouldn’t happen.”

Schindler adds that a law like this came out of the blue, since there are several other issues pressing the nation, such as the economy and the Occupy protests.

Bryan Gannon ’14 was also shocked to hear that horses may be slaughtered in the United States, due to the fact that many American families own horses as pets.

“It’s like killing a family’s dog rather than killing some random animal that nobody can connect to,” Gannon said. “And besides, killing horses is just weird for some reason.”

According to a Nov. 30 article, pro-slaughter activists predict that horse slaughterhouses may be up and running in as little as a month.

Schindler says that there is a cuteness factor that also comes into play when looking at animals used for human consumption.

“Horses are cuter than chickens and turkeys,” he said. “Simple as that.”