Cafe Society

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