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American horse slaughtering-Part Four December 15, 2005

Posted by dr. gonzo in Horse Slaughter.
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I guess the whole aim of these four posts was to provide a bit of context for horse slaughtering in the United States. Year after year state and federal legislation aims to eliminate it from American commerce, this year is no exception as, again, the controversy rages.

This is the last of the American horse slaughtering posts, the other three can be read here, here and here.

This post was originally supposed to be solely about the Dallas Crown, Inc. horse plant in Kaufman, Texas. But first let me make my stance here a little clearer, so you know where I am coming from. Horse meat sounds disgusting; Americans don’t eat it, why should Americans slaughter it. I mean, there are hundreds of arguments to make in either direction but horse slaughtering just seems, well, creepy. And I suppose I do see horses through American eyes (as those mangy creatures which helped the bandit-like thugs called the U.S. Cavalry murder countless Native Americans), as creatures with an air of mystique and beauty, graceful, elegant animals, beckoning to be ridden into the sunset in a Western Nevada ghost town. Alright enough of that.

Here is what I thought so interesting about Dallas Crown, Inc. and it says it right on their home page, “Dallas Crown provides Carnivore Diet for zoos and wildlife centers across the United States. Carnivore Diet products under USDA and EU regulations and supervision.”

A story about horse meat

It would seem that the Dallas Crown plant provides horse meat to zoos and wildlife parks across the country. Interesting. I will get to why (if you don’t already know) in a moment but first an anecdote about horse meat in zoos.

When I was about 13 or 14 I used to volunteer at the local zoo during the summer, I did this for several years. As part of my “assigned” tasks (and I use that word loosely, meaning any job the zookeepers didn’t want to do.) I would regularly have to hand grind large chunks of horse meat; usually they came in cylindrical packages, like sausage does. The purpose for this seemingly disgusting task was generally to blend vitamins or medications into meals for the big cats at the zoo, thus making it simpler for them to ingest whatever necessary. Don’t worry I got to wear gloves. The meat always reminded me of really dark beef except it had more of a play-doh quality to it.

Needless to say, the meat chunks weren’t all meat, or so it would seem. I used to find absolutely disgusting trinkets which I affectionately dubbed “horse matter” or “random horse matter.” Once, I even had this chunk of something resembling a fish’s swim bladder, I don’t think horses have swim bladders; maybe those horses were corralled out West near some old New Mexico test site or something. I don’t like messing with ground meat anyway, its aroma is somewhat repulsive to me, so this wasn’t the most pleasant experience I had at the zoo (and it may have shaped my opinion of horse meat) but the snow leopards sure did love the crap out of it.

The funny thing about Dallas Crown

Here’s the thing about the Kaufman Plant. The bills being considered in the Senate and the House, respectively ban only horse slaughter for human consumption, though they do it outright, quite dissimilar to this summer’s agriculture appropriations bill.

The text of the key amendment to the Horse Protection Act (S.1915):

‘‘(8) The shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or
donation of any horse or other equine to be slaughtered for human consumption.’’

Human consumption, defined in S.1915 as “(1) The term ‘human consumption’ means ingestion by people as a source of food.”

The Horse Protection Act, in its amended 1976 form, doesn’t provide any stipulations in Section 5 (Prohibition) about the slaughter of horses for non-human consumption; it is mostly concerned with “sore” horses.

What I am getting at is the Dallas Crown Plant will probably be exempt from this law. They slaughter horses for consumption by cheetahs, lions and sun bears, not people. I doubt this is what the anti-horse slaughtering lobby wants to hear, but regardless of the fate of S.1915 and its House counterpart horse slaughtering will probably continue unabated in the United States; at least in one locale.

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