To the editor:
Industry without ethics, capitalism without conscience—is tortured flesh the flavour of our times?
The Canadian horse slaughter industry is an abomination. Within its harrowing abyss exist the theft of liberty, unpardonable anguish and the dismemberment of a noble icon.
Advocates in favour of this industry present the folowing arguments for its existence:
1. Horses are meat—tasty meat for man. I want some.
2. Slaughterhouses humanely euthanize old, crippled and unwanted horses.
3. Slaughter controls over-population.
4. The industry provides employment.
Different perceptions and the high ground we call morality oppose these arguments:
1 Horses are not meat to do with as we please. Throughout history, beside the footprints of man are the hoof prints of the horse. A pony is a child’s dream, a horse an adult’s treasure. This industry, however, transforms treasures and dreams into nightmares of betrayal.
2. Slaughterhouses do not humanely euthanize. They orchestrate terror and suffering. Over 90 per cent of their victims are young and healthy. Slaughter is not the answer to solve the aged, infirm, unwanted horse debate. Rescue sanctuaries, veterans working with horses, responsible ownership, tourism co-ops and ethical veterinarian care are a few viable solutions.
3. The slaughter business actually perpetuates over-population and callous kill buyers and unscrupulous profit mongers love it.
4. The industry does provide jobs including degrading kill floor work and cash counting corporate accounting. However, we should use ingenuity to create jobs that save rather than ones that kill.
Bottom line: An industry that is heartless and cruel, an industry without ethics, should be no industry at all.
Advocates for slaughter continue to define death at the slaughterhouses as humane euthanasia.
Propaganda. A load of fiction diction. Bogus rhetoric and covertness are cornerstones of their industry.
The shipping of live draft horses to Japan so that their connoisseurs can enjoy freshly butchered horse sashimi is a national disgrace. Transportation to, and imprisonment in, slaughter house corrals is abusive, nefarious activity. And the final stages of the process—kill chutes, stun boxes, captive bolts to the head and dismemberment (of, at time, live horses) far overstep the boundaries of morality.
Our Canadian culture has never embraced the concept of horse meat for human consumption. We should not be part of the foreign-driven ‘meat-man’s trade’ that ships befouled flesh overseas. Our horse is not a commodity to be exploited. This intelligent beast helped First Nations people survive, pulled our plows, laboured in mines, helped build our railroads. The horse stood beside—and died with—our soldiers on countless battlefields including the poppy-coated fields of Ypres and Flanders. Horses have entertained and joined us in recreational pursuits. They are a beloved companion. And, so often, they have provided hope and solace to troubled souls. the horse is the single most influential animal to affect mankind.
To be a nation of dignity we must not turn a blind eye to the actions of the undignified. Our action, or inaction, is a compass for our children and for morality. It is time to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves—time for citizens and our newly elected federal politicians to stare this oppressive industry square in the face and declaim: “Not in our country!” Time to listen with our heart to the desperate call unspoken of our friend—the horse.
It is the horse slaughter industry, not our ethics and our horses that should be in the graveyard.
D. Fisher, Kelowna