Over the past few weeks, we have witnessed a media frenzy with repeated disclosures on the commingling of horsemeat with beef in frozen food products distributed in Europe and possibly here in the United States; (3) however, the real discussions on the problems of horsemeat production with the details of trickery, cruelty and greed— have been noticeably absent. We have been given the names of some of the perpetrators in these violations of public trust, namely Nestle, Sodexho, Ikea, Burger King and Tesco, but there are many more out there yet to be identified. It is important to note that to date, U.S. officials state that they doubt that horsemeat has been sold in any beef products in the United States.
Aside from the deception by not revealing the contents of these food products, the more heinous act here is the introduction of a product into the food system that is not intended to be consumed by humans and, in fact, is deemed unsafe for human consumption. Horses, after all, are “raised to be companions, competitors or work partners.” (1) They routinely are administered medications that are toxic to people, including wormers, fly treatments and pain-killers. All of these products contain chemicals that are prohibited for food ingestion by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Additionally, many of the drugs routinely given to humans have never been tested. It appears that this problem of commingling horsemeat with beef is not merely a sleight of hand and harmless trickery of consumers. Rather, it is a criminal violation to knowingly taint the food supply, and it is done simply for the purpose of financial gain, constituting pure greed with no regard for the health and safety of the consumer. Simply stated, in the United States, commercially marketed meat is monitored and inspected by the federal government (USDA) and horsemeat is not approved for human consumption.
Another issue here is that of horse slaughter. Ed Sayres, President of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) notes that there is little demand for horse slaughter in the United States, and horses are trucked to Canada and Mexico for such purposes. He states, “These trips involve slipping, trampling injuries and death for many horses. Those who survive then must suffer at the hands of the butcher.” In other words, this is a very cruel industry. Inasmuch as many of the horses that go to slaughter are not “aging, unwanted or sickly”, this abhorrent industry is simply making money while ignoring the suffering it causes to the horses and now it presents a threat to the health of humans.
It has been disclosed that the USDA intends to move forward to process pending applications on file for horse slaughter operations in the United States. We here at LGBG say that this is not who we are as Americans. We totally oppose this effort and support the ASPCA in its fight to spread the word about this effort which is gaining momentum and which must be stopped. All eyes should be on Roswell, New Mexico, which is expected to be “ground zero” for this industry. We urge all of our readers and supporters to unite to fight to ban the horse slaughter industry in America. Also, please be particularly mindful of the meat products you buy and do not give your money to companies which participate in this practice. Let’s advocate for a ban on horse slaughter. To do this is to live green, be green.
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