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All the Pretty Horses

Word came down from Washington, D.C., last week: No more horse slaughterhouses in the United States. To which most people responded, " Are there horse slaughterhouses in the United States?"

Yes, there are. Three of them. All owned by foreign companies that are slaughtering tens of thousands of horses a year for export to Europe and Asia, where the meat is used for food. Human food. Call it Soylent Trigger or, as the French do, chevaline. From what I hear, horsemeat can be quite yummy when prepared properly. The Japanese have a fierce yen for the stuff and treat it the way they do their own Kobe beef -- as a delicacy made all the more desirable for its rarity.

But on Friday, the House of Representatives voted 263-146 in favor of a ban that would make slaughtering horses for human consumption illegal in the U.S. And while I think this is just ridiculous (check out "The True Story of Mr. Ed," my August 10 column, for more pissing and moaning and name-calling), leave it up to a politician to take the ridiculous and push it over the edge into ludicrous territory. According to Representative John Sweeney (R-NY), the slaughter of horses for food is "one of the most inhumane, brutal, shady practices going on in the U.S. today."

Seriously, John? Slaughtering horses for food -- under roughly the same conditions that we happily slaughter cows and pigs and chickens -- is one of the most inhumane, brutal and shady things going on in the U.S.? Not poverty. Not murder. Not the wars that we're prosecuting or the brainless, ill-advised bullshit spouted by our leaders and representatives in Washington?

Get out of your office once in a while, pal. I guarantee you that there are more inhumane, more brutal and certainly more shady things happening between your door and the hot-dog cart at the end of the block. A little perspective, that's all I'm asking for here. And maybe it's just an unfortunate coincidence that your words were printed in Friday's edition of the Rocky Mountain News opposite a page full of stories detailing serial killers in Phoenix and the gang-sexual assault of an eleven-year-old girl in Milwaukee. But yeah, that horse thing? That's way worse. -- Jason Sheehan


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