Though I rarely eat animal products, I am not 100% vegan. With that fact in evidence, I just finished watching a recent episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, and found myself struggling with the segment on the slaughter of race-weary thoroughbred horses. Apparently owners will sell them to butchers for a few hundred bucks once they feel the horses have outlasted their money-earning utility. They showed footage from the killing process, and several times referred to the fact that the process was designed for cows, not horses. They highlighted individuals and organizations that work to rescue noble steeds from the cow-butchering machine.
Once again, I am not a vegan. Yet, is the hypocrisy here not obvious? What's good for the cow is too cruel for the horses.
Yes, change has to start somewhere, but are we still arguing that horses and cows are so different from each other? In other countries, where most of the horse meat is sold (7 days from stable to table), most people would scoff at us for being so sentimental about an animal that has served its purpose and can serve one more in death. We're not talking about people who have nothing else to eat. We're talking about cultural tastes.
Does a cow, or sheep, or goat, or chicken, or pig deserve a less noble fate than that of a horse that once ran a good race?
While I think Real Sports is one of the best news mags on television, I have had issues with the host over the years. Perhaps that bias is coloring my judgment. I don't think so though. Either its okay to brutally slaughter animals for dinner or its not. Let's not pretend our affection for one species, or the fact that it once had the potential to win buckets of money, somehow earns it better treatment.