‘Three horseburgers, you’re out’

Have you ever had an urge to make a meal out of Mr. Ed? Me neither. Never once have I ever wondered about, wanted to, or even thought of eating a horse. That is, until I heard about one of the strangest measures ever to go before voters. California’s Proposition 6 that passed on Nov. 4th with a 59 percent to 41 percent margin is a measure prohibiting the slaughter of horses and sale of horsemeat for human consumption. Citizens that are found in violation of Proposition 6 will be guilty of a felony.

The sale of horsemeat for human consumption is right up there with murder, rape and armed robbery. In California, the "three strikes, you’re out" policy is also in effect, meaning 3 horseburgers and you’re looking at 25 years to a lifetime in prison.

Those opposing Proposition 6 (primarily California’s Libertarian Party) argue that with the cost of enforcement and already scarce prison space, this measure is simply not worth the effort. A person who eats horsemeat is not a criminal deserving of the same punishment as one who has murdered a human.

Advocates of Proposition 6 (primarily animal rights activists) state that horses are pleasure animals, not raised for food, that they are an integral part of California’s heritage and deserve our protection. In America’s early days, horses served as the primary form of transportation. What kind of payback is it for humans to turn around and eat them?

This brings up another interesting point. Which animals will we deem acceptable to eat, and which animals will we befriend and protect? Since cows are useful to humans upon their death, we slaughter them. Since dogs are cute and playful, we spare them. In India, cows are sacred. In many countries, eating dogs is common and accepted. Each culture decides its own standard, drawing arbitrary boundary lines to be observed by all citizens. Just because one’s eating habits do not comply with the cultural norms does not indicate that the individual decision is wrong; it simply differs from the norm. The true value of an animal is not decided upon by any culture or society, but is intrinsic, as all animals are the work of God’s hands.

Not only do I question decisions made solely by societies, but it also makes me a little nervous when the government becomes involved in deciding what’s for dinner. I understand that it is illegal to snack on my neighbor’s cat, but what if it’s my own cat? Obviously, I would be in serious trouble for such mistreatment of an animal. Who is the government to tell me that it is absolutely wrong to eat my pet cat, but it is perfectly acceptable to eat my pet chicken? That is a moral decision I must make on my own, not one that should be made for me. I would certainly hope that humans would be responsible with God’s creation and remember that we are commanded by him to be good stewards. With this in mind, I don’t understand why someone would want to eat horse, but if someone did, shouldn’t he be legally allowed? Proposition 6 is a misuse of government power to regulate peoples’ eating habits.

The slaughter of horses in America is primarily for use in dog food, so prohibiting human consumption will not save a significant number of horses anyway. Horses are the silent victims of overweight tourists; being ridden around in government-funded national parks around the country. If I were a horse, I would surely rather be killed and eaten by a fat tourist than sat on by one.

Top 10 Reasons to Eat Horses:

10. Clydesdale: the other white meat.

9. One less thing for country singers to sing about — Alleluia!

8. Quarter-flank fillet makes a great mane dish.

7. Mr. Ed: TV star turned TV dinner.

6. The new McPony Deluxe would go perfectly with large fries and shake!

5. It would be funny to see the Lone Ranger yell "Hi ho" and RUN after the bad guys.

4. There is nothing more beautiful than Black Beauty on a plate.

3. If it’s good enough for Fido, it’s good enough for me.

2. Horseshoes supply 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of iron.

1. One word: Horsesicle!

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Title: ‘Three horseburgers, you’re out’ | Author: Emily Schnetz | Section: Opinions | Published Date: 1998-12-02 | Internal ID: 364