In the spirit of this month’s Kenducky Derby, I would like to devote a post to the masses of racing horses who end up in slaughter houses. Even big winners, such as Ferdinand, are treated by slaughterhouses, simply like meat. Therefore, champions or not, all of them deserve this tribute.
Every morning, before the public arrives at the racecourse, hundreds of thoroughbreds are auctioned and sold to the meat industry for some hundreds of bucks. Horses that are either retired or or unlikely to be successful -thus profitable enough- at the racecourse. Let alone foals who are sold for less than $100 to face the same fate.
All those horses are slaughtered for human or pet consumption. It’s a matter of culture, price and gastronimic tastes for buyers, a solution for owners who “can’t find any other uses” for those animals and a much appreciated source of profit for the slaughterhouse owners.
Of course the problem is not exclusively American and does not include exclusively racing horses, but it is highlighed every year with the opportunity of the Kenducky Derby event, with a plethora of equestrian and other animal charities asking from people to boycott horse racing.
But is abolishing racing a solution? I don’t think so. Because large numbers of dressage, showjumping and other trained horses end up to abattoirs, those places being used as a cheap -or the only profitable- method of euthanasia. Let alone wild horses.
Therefore, banning racing is not a way to tackle horse slaughtering. Laws, maybe? But what kind of laws? Who will implement them and who will stop the transportation of those creatures to countries with more flexible legislation? Maybe some international agreement? Well, tell the governments of Japan, France, Russia, Germany, Belgium etc. -whose officials might be horsemeat fans themselves- to tell their peoples that there will be no more horsemeat for them, hence banishing a part of their national culture.
An here comes the keyword. Culture. Yes, culture. Horsemeat is considered a special delicacy, and recipes made of it national pride for some. If you banish pride, horsemeat will keep being consumed, as happens in the case of other animals in some countries. The bet is to make change their taste. Turn to other “delicacies”. And the slaughtering industry will have less demand to cover. And horse breeders won’t breed thousands of horses of “no use”. Because it will be costly.
The web is packed with disturbing images, videos and articles on this cheap or profitable (depending on who does it) “disposal”.
Here are some articles I have read, followed by a quite harsh video:
- From Kentucky Derby to dinner plate: how to end the horsemeat pipeline (2014) by Edward McClelland – The Guardian
- From Derby winner to a slaughterhouse? (2006)by Bill Finley – ESPN
by Bill Finley – The New York Times
by unknown – Farming News
And the here’s the video. CAUTION: CRUEL CONTENT