Why are some animals okay to eat and others are taboo?

sally2_gwOctober 8, 2006

I'm not really trying to cause the fur to fly, so to speak, with this question, but it's something I really don't understand. Recently in North Texas there's been a big deal made about a slaughter house that slaughters horses and ships the meat to France for humans to consume. I don't get it. Some people felt it was wrong, wrong, wrong to consume horses, and that this plant should be shut down because of the cruelty of it all. Huh? Why is it cruel to slaughter horses, but not cruel to slaughter cattle? Why do we react with horror at the cultures that eat dogs when we think it's okay to eat lamb? Why do we make these distinctions? I really don't understand. I guess to me killing an animal for it's meat is just that - killing an animal for it's meat. If one is horrified at the killing of one kind of animal for it's meat, why feel sorry for a different kind of animal if it's killed for it's meat? Do people think of some animals as extentions of themselves, so that killing that animal for it's meat is a form of cannibalism? Could that be it? I really don't know. To me, there is no difference. A living creature is a living creature. I don't begrudge people that choose to kill animals for their meat, but I do wonder why they are horrified at the thought of killing horses or dogs for food but not cattle, sheep, goats, chickens or fish and whatnot.


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Good point. I always wondered as well. Last night I grilled veal chops for dinner. My daughter wanted nothing to do with them. I see her point, but I say to her - you eat chicken, etc. That's different is her response. But in truth it isn't. I don't eat venison, duck or lamb because the visual for me just makes me ill. That's just me. Hubby loves duck - every time he orders it out he trys to cajole me into trying it. No thanks. Depends on what part of the world you are from - what's acceptable. DD had to dissect a grasshopper in biology class Friday. All students were totally grossed out until the teacher pointed out that in some areas of the world grasshoppers are seen as a delicacy. I guess what it comes down to is what is your comfort zone? If there were more alternatives than tofu or that other protein stuff the health store swears it works just like meat in a recipe (yuk), I could be a vegetarian. I don't think I'd miss meat at all. It is just so hard to come up with a nutritious vegetarian meal every night that will also please the palate of different ages and tastes. Actually we have probably tried every possible way to eat chicken and pasta. Yes I know, chicken is a slaughtered bird, but for me there isn't that visual association with it. I guess I am so desensitized to chicken slaughtering that it doesn't bother me. I am more grossed out by bigger animals. But I think you are definitely right, killing is killing no matter what the animal. The days of hunting only to provide food for your family are long gone.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 10:59AM
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I think it's maybe that our culture has the cute and lovable factor attached to dogs, cats and horses but since so many people don't really experience farm animals like cows or chickens they just don't make any kind of connection to them other than lamb and veal are babies thus taboo. I hope I'm making sense here and not just rambling.
We have a pond that has bass, catfish and bream in it. Now while I don't have anything against eating fish, actually I really like fish, I can not bring myself to eat anything that is caught out of this pond. I feel like I "know" these fish and just don't care to meet my food before I eat it.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 11:25AM
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Horses that are sent to slaughter are not raised for meat consumption.

They are former pets, race/show/riding/breeding horses, PMU mares/foals, stolen, wild/feral etc.

These animals have been companions, made money for and are supposed to be protected by man.

PMU mares are mares used to produce Estrogen for menopausal women. Mostly draft types. The Estrogen is produced from their urine and they have to be pregnant and wear a device to catch the urine. The foals are often sent to slaughter. So are the mares when they wear out.

It is not uncommon for horses to be stolen and then sold for slaughter it is also not uncommon for wild horses to be adopted and sold for slaughter. There are very few left on public lands despite the overwhelming support of the public for them. When they are adopted from the BLM they are not supposed to be sent to slaughter.

Dogs and cats are also companion animals, they aren't raised for food consumption. They trust people.

As far as cannibalism goes, I think eating primates as they do in some African countries is flat out horrid.

Ditto whales and dolphins, they are too intelligent and too rare to be eaten for food.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 2:20PM
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They are former pets, race/show/riding/breeding horses, PMU mares/foals, stolen, wild/feral etc.
These animals have been companions>>

Well that is because YOU have made the horses into your pets, race horses and made them trust you, and be your companions.

If you've never tried it with cows or pigs how would you know? Pigs are suppoed to be extremly intelligent, more so than horses maybe. So.........?

If you bring up a cow from birth it will trust you, love, you just like you claim with a horse. It is just an excuse. You have found a 'Better' use for horses than eating so you claim they are more loving, trusting etc etc. than cows or pigs.

There might be very few cows left nowadys if people had not started to breed and consume them. Well maybe one day people will do th same with horses, then you won't have to worry about horses dissapearing.

Companion animals are MADE not BORN. A pack of dogs if bent on extreme hunger will kill their owners. Try being nice to another type of animal and then maybe you'll see that they can and will be 'trusting' as you put it.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 3:57PM
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I don't eat animals based on the way they are raised, not in what species they are. I would never eat veal because I think it is cruel to keep a lamb in a box for its entire short life. I do eat pasture-raised lamb though. Same with dairy products, poultry, beef, venison, etc. I'll eat it if it was raised without cruelty, and I do consider spending your life in a box cruel. I don't know what horse tastes like, but as long as it was happy through life and humanely slaughtered, it would be on my OK to eat list. I don't at all agree with people who hunt or fish animals they won't eat. Waste not. I also am trying to be more careful about the enviornmental impact of the food I eat, so no more pig until they figure out what to do with all that poop.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 5:06PM
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I've just finished reading an excellent book on this subject, "The Covenant of the Wild" by Stephan Budiansky

He discusses this at great length. As mentioned above, kitties and doggies have cute, juvenile faces, are more juvenile in their head shapes and the fuzziness of their fur. The animals that we eat, he says, chose to be domesticated (in the farmed sense, not the pet sense) because their habitat was so decimated by the last ice age that they would have gone extinct. Not that the animals knew they would become extinct, but the humans enabled their species to continue by giving them a level of protection they could not get in their dissappearing habitat. Not because humans are self-important savages who like to exploit animals; it was a natural process that benefited both humans and animals to the same degree.

Interesting read.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 8:28PM
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If you think of a particular animal as a pet I doubt that you'd be inclined to eat it. Even though the calves that are raised by the kids in 4H are treated somewhat like pets most are raised with the understanding that they will ultimately be slaughtered. By the way veal is from a calf, not a lamb. They are caged, crated really and not allowed to move. I'm not sure if they are force fed or not. Their movement is restricted so that their muscles don't develop and remain pale.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 9:04PM
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So, if we can use an animal for another purpose, it is too good to be used for food. Interesting. Horses were used for food before they were domesticated. Could pigs or cows or sheep be trained for other use by humans? Guinea pigs are eaten in South America. They require little care and reproduce quickly. Rabbit is common in Europe.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 9:28PM
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These are all interesting responses, and I'm learning from what you all have said. I definately want to check out that book, Spocklady - it sounds interesting. I have a similar viewpoint as Meghane, except I don't eat meat at all, nor wear animal products. I have long had an unrealized fantasy of becoming self sufficient. It's never happened, but I keep thinking one of these days I'll get that place... Anyway, I tried to picture myself slaughtering an animal, and just couldn't do it. So, I made the transition to realising that if I can't kill an animal for food, then I shouldn't go to the grocery store to buy the meat. That's just my personal belief for myself, and I don't try to impose it on others. Basically I don't like killing things (other than mosquitoes and fire ants - in self defense.)

Well, maybe I do impose my belief on others since I have wondered about the acceptable food animals and the taboo food animals.

Back to what Meghane and a few others pointed out; some animals are produced/raised in such a way that is down right cruel. The treatment of calfs that are raised to be our grilled veal is horrible. Chickens are kept in cages too small, and have their beaks cut off so they don't peck each other or themselves due to the stress of over crowded conditions, while Petit Fois Gras (I have no idea of the correct spelling of that) is produced by force feeding geese so that their livers become so big the poor birds cannot stand up. That turkey the President pardens each year doesn't have a long or glorious life, because it is so over fattened it cannot bear it's own weight, and dies from complications of being morbidly obese. The turkey's that are eaten for Thanksgiving I guess have it better since they are slaughtered just before they die of obesity. I guess all that is a bit off subject, other than if one is going to pick and choose which animal they think is okay to eat and which is too precious, they may want to look into how they are raised, like Meghane does. I'm sorry, I just got a bit carried away and got judgemental. I didn't mean to do that.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 10:15PM
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Protection? If you watch a PETA video you would NOT call it protection. I think the animals would choose to be extinct than suffer the way their brethren do. They are hung, hit, bled while still breathing...

Most people don't want to beleive this is how they get there meat, from animal cruelty. They would then feel guilty about eating meat- would'nt they?

They can't anesthetisize each cow, chicken and pig before they kill them. So they will die in a painful manner. If people want to eat meat why don't they?? Just don't make excuses about 'saving' animals or pretending they do not suffer before they go onto your dinner plates.

And why do people eat meat? What is the reason? Vegetarian have tons (literally) of options. Are healthy, don't need vitamins and extra supplements as novegetarians sometimes claim. And for the taste buds to be satisfied there are so many dishes in the world, not begotten from a tortured soul.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 10:32PM
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Check out the shapes of our teeth and you'll understand we were made to be omnivores. Animals kill and eat each other in painful ways that make slaughterhouses appear humane. PETA seems to put animal's lives at the same value as our's. Why should we then behave differently?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 8:48AM
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The way we do it is not humane, or 'fair?'. Animals hunt only what they eat. We box them up, kill them and throw away 'extras' every day. What a waste.

Some people say because we have the capacity for compassion, and are more intelligent and can figure other ways out rather than the 'easy' road of chopping up defensless animals.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 9:16AM
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What would happen to these horses if they weren't slaughtered? Who would take them? Care for them? When a horse dies of old age in a pasture, what happens to it? The horse story raises many questions for me.

Will share my story regarding meat. City born and raised. Meat was something bought in a store, wrapped in plastic, sometimes even cooked ready to eat, at times handed to me through a drive up window. The thought of saying grace, giving thanks, never crossed my mind. Fast forward 15 years, living in country, I have now killed animals to eat their meat. Killed, gutted, hung them by their legs, skinned and cut up. A life altering experience for this individual. I now say thanks before most every meal. Regardless of what I eat, I think to myself "this animal gave it's life". Left-overs are seldom thrown away in my home...., you see, I feel an obligation. It's not that I didn't know that the meat was an animal before, of coarse I did, in an abstract kind of way. Something like watching "Gone With The Wind" on a 13" black and white T.V. and then watching it in color on a big movie screen. The story, actors, set, nothing changed; but everything is so different. (Only analogy I can think of at the moment.)

My daughters story: Unlike me, she has been growing up with the understanding that animals are meat. She has seen it up close and personal since before she could walk. When she was 3 1/2 to 4 years old she wanted to know at every meal what animal we were eating, and not only that, but what part of the animal i.e.. leg, back, shoulder, heart, liver, etc.. When we would go to the city and visit with relatives it seemed to make some quite uncomfortable. In fact, once I was asked if I couldn't get her to stop, that her questions weren't appropriate for the dinner table. How sad. How disrespectful to the animal that gave it's life.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 12:29PM
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Animals are hardly defenseless. Without the right weapons and tools we wouldn't stand a chance.
Cats kill for more reasons than hunger. Ditto for dogs and coyotes. A coyote will tear out choice parts of a lamb and leave the rest.
Wasting meat is not something that happens in a slaughterhouse but with consumers. It's also a pretty recent phenomenom. Folks didn't used to be able to afford to waste much.
And Nature is hardly "Fair." I think we are called to respect Creation but anthropomorphizing-or however you spell it- animals, giving them human attributes, isn't respectful of nature or the Creator. It also doesn't show a great deal of understanding of how the natural world operates, only how we would WISH it to operate if we were in charge. Which we're not.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 2:26PM
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Sally2, after submitting my post I realized that I had strayed from your topic of why some animals and not others. My apologies.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 2:50PM
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sentiment, for the most part -

oh, there are a few dietary restrictions that go back to ancient times that either make medical sense (like pork and shellfish) and others that only make sense taking cultural context into account (things with exoskeletons, horse meat, that sort of things, which were commonly eaten by the 'dominant' culture that the biblical dietary laws were separating us from)

but mostly?

I think venison's the most obvious modern example - people get all squirrely about the idea of bambi on a plate - they'd rather eat the flesh of a chicken that's never left its cage, and LOOKS like a mad thing with half its feathers missing (which the average consumer never has to see) or that of a cow that just spent the last week of its life half-starved, crowded into a pen, getting to listen to (and smell) its companions being slaughtered just out of sight...

personally, I don't get it - but I grew up with a wide enough range of culinary traditions that my prejudices are just that - prejudices.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 3:02PM
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There are farms that raise horses to slaughter for meat just as there are ranches raising cows.

We owned horses for 20 years---companions and members of the family. Worst thing I have ever had to do is put a horse down---broken leg---had to do that twice. Once the horse is dead, it is no longer the companion or pet, so why not get some use from the body? Just makes sense to me. I have also owned dogs for most of my life. Putting them down after 20 years of companionship is tough---but the dog or the horse that was a member of our family got much better treatment during their life than if they were in the wild. And a much more humane death when necessary.

I support groups that recommend humane association and care of animals for pets. I do not support groups like PETA that put animals above humans.

As for eating---mainly a curtural thing---East Indians think cows are sacred, some folks think rats and monkeys are sacred. I will eat a cow, but would have to be pretty hungry to eat a rat or monkey.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 4:55PM
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I'd have no problem eating horse meat from a horse raised for meat. I have a bigger problem with a slaughter house that accepts a stolen horse no questions asked and gives the thief $400, which is what the people in north TX are up in arms about.

I've had horse in Russia - didn't think it was great.

I've had mutton and goat - didn't like either one - tough, greasy and stringy. I do enjoy lamb, which i raise.

Love beef and raise cattle too

Had pheasant last night, as Saturday was jr pheasant season and my son shot his first two. At least as good as chicken and i wish I'd been able to bag 2 of my own.

Don't care for rabbit or squirrel, so we won't be hunting those.

Don't duck hunt and wouldn't eat duck in the fanciest 5 star.

REALLY looking forward to some venison - back straps are every bit as tasty as filet mignon.

Elk and bear are tasty if young - pretty tough and gamey otherwise.

Love to fish and eat it whenever possible. If not, it's catch and release.

I've raised sheep and cattle forever. Every year, the kids name the calves and lambs and still manage to sit down to dinner.

Had 2 pigs as 4H projects - mighty fine pork chops from Wilbur and Orville.

Raise chickens for eggs. We'd eat them but it's a pain to clean them myself and I can't see paying the butcher to clean them for me, so we only keep a few layers. I trade the neighbor beef and lamb for chicken and turkey.

Had a nanny for milk and pasture cleaning for years. I don't care for goat meat. Can't beat goat milk soap and cheese, but i never replaced Nan when she died.

I don't buy meat (or in my case, trade meat) unless I personally know the source.

I have horses, dogs and cats and they have jobs as well. Fortunately, i have the financial resources to "put them out to pasture" when they're too old to work. Old Moses still likes to make the rounds when i check the sheep and Thunder still enjoys a quick ride by the kids every now and then, but they aren't expected to do anything. Sometimes i wonder if it would be more merciful to eauthanize them, as it's heart-breaking to see Thunder's tail come up when he spots some barrels and then stumble as he attempts to prance. Growing old gracefully is as hard for animals as it is for humans.

The restrictions on what to eat/not eat are cultural and/or religious. I don't raise horses for consumption because I have other uses for them. It takes a lot more feed to fatten a horse for meat slaughter than it does to fatten a cow. There's a much bigger profit in raising them for rodeo, pleasure rides and dressage and show jumping (I don't, but some certainly do). Beef cattle aren't good for anything other than beef. I have 2 dairy cows and when they don't produce anymore, they go to slaughter for a supply of hamburger (not good for much else as they're older and tougher) Sheep are some of the dumbest animals ever but are certainly also good for wool and I take full advantage of that, but young males get to grace my Easter table.

I've eaten many different things in many different cultures... some of it mighty tasty and some of it on the near side of revolting. In the US, we have a pretty warped sense of what starving actually is...and we forget that not everyone stops by the Piggly Wiggly on the way home. If all I'd had in 2 weeks was a 1/2 cup of rice and some of last falls turnips, Rover would probably start looking pretty tasty. I'd have to be really hungry to ever eat dog and I'd choke down rat first, but i guess if it was a choice between dog and starving, I'd choose dog.

I no longer have any idea what I'm rambling on about. PETA (*shudder*)and hunters caught my eye and I just kept going.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 12:24AM
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Sandlady, no need to apologize. I went off topic too, and I started the thread.

I was unaware that horses were raised for slaughter and that the slaughterhouse in north Texas was accepting horses from questionable sources. I guess I thought people were upset at the fact that it was horses. It just seems a bit odd to me that horses would be more valued than cattle. But this is Texas, the state where people brought a lawsuit against Oprah for dissing hamburger meat.

Regards the way nature works, every itsy bitsy part of an animal that is killed for food by another animal gets used. It's not usually the actual hunter that eats every square inch. The hunter(s) eat what they can, until scavengers come along and eat what they can, and so on. Insects get into the act, and then finally, microbes finish the job. I wouldn't say that anything gets wasted in nature.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 9:40AM
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It's all just about where you live, one persons pet is anothers food, and imo there is nothing wrong with it. I love certain animals and would not eat them (cats, dogs, horses etc.) and other I would, cattle, bison and chicken. My nation has a ceremony where it ends with eating a dog. there is nothing wrong with it, but I'm sure many people would throw a fit! I have not eaten dog, it's not a ceremony I have partaken in. It's hard for people to look beyond their own upbringing. TLC has a series called Taboo, I love watching it, and there are certainly ones I cringe and go EEWW at, but it's normal for some cultures, just not mine.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 4:14PM
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dont know, but i`ve heard all animals taste like chicken. ha ha

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 5:00AM
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I think if one looks back in history many of the answers in question can be found. Moses was the first to set a foundation for what was acceptable to eat can be found in reference to the 'Law of Moses' in Leviticus. Many religions branched off and carried the same law. There was a purpose for such a law based on sanitary reasons. For example if pork is not cooked properly can cause Trichinosis. Shellfish can carry toxic diseases. Animals that are meat eaters can cause a whole other list of diseases if ingested.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 1:32PM
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Agree with the points about culture being the main difference.

Veal, however, is normally objected to on the basis of the animal's treatment- rather than the age of the critter. Former reports had the animals in tiny pens with odd diets, not seeing the light of day in order to keep the meat as tender as possible. Those conditions may or may not exist today, but many see eating veal as supporting the industry's decision to possibly keep up those inhumane practices.

I personally see far less cruelty in hunting an animal than in farm raising. A hunted animal has a life in a natural environment until it is killed/harvested. A farm raised animal is injected, kept in confined spaces, and lives a life of captivity. That animal also has a far larger impact on the environment than one that is part of the environment (in general, unless we consider introduced, unregulated, and invasive species).

So- is it more human to eat something that was bred to be eaten? Not in my opinion.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 2:35PM
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I'm guessing that it's cultural--just as we consider some animals okay to eat and others taboo, we consider some animal PARTS okay to eat and not others. I'm getting pretty used to this with my Chinese coworkers--I've now eaten pork ear, pork stomach, beef stomach (not just tripe), beef tendon and jellyfish. Most westerners won't touch any of that except the tripe part of beef stomach, and even that's iffy.

Now that's not to say that I WANT to eat cats or dogs or any kind of household pet, but our society is fairly unique in having pets as part of the family. I also don't want to eat bugs, but if I had to choose between Fluffy and grasshoppers, I'd pick the grasshoppers.

To answer the question "Why"?, there are social reasons, cultural reasons, food safety reasons, historical reasons (mixed up with everything else that I just mentioned), and esthetic reasons. I'm not saying those reasons are logical--just that they exist.

I can also tell you that when you are very hungry, your tolerance for eating "icky" or "taboo" items goes WAY up. That might explain why fewer animal parts are wasted and more animal species are eaten in cultures where food is very hard to come by.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 7:56PM
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I'd agree that culture comes into account on what critters we eat and the ones we let sleep at the foot of our beds. I have a problem with eating dogs mainly because of what I see THEM eat. However, in Vietnam, dog is considered the same way I'd consider prime rib. Being a country boy, I've eaten possum, squirrel, raccoon, frog legs and rattlesnake. The first 3 are not the best in the world, and the latter 2, strangely enough are quite tasty. Being an omnivorous critter, myself, I'll eat what I want. I like veggies and I like meat. I don't have a problem with someone being a vegetarian as long as he doesn't try to force me to be one. I have a very large problem with those who place animals actually above humans. They scream and shout at the sight of cattle being slaughtered, yet they turn a deaf ear to the atrocities in Africa with people being placed in what is no more than a feedlot with little to no feed.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 11:21PM
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Squirrel gravy and bisquits is great if you cook it right.
Amen....People absolutely DO come first.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 9:56AM
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Does that mean that you'll choose to eat people first, over all other meat? ;-)


    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 10:36AM
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Not a very clear message was it?
Can provide the squirrel recipe if you like.
People recipes will have to come from someone else:D

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 12:54PM
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Last 1Earth says
And why do people eat meat? What is the reason? Vegetarian have tons (literally) of options. Are healthy, don't need vitamins and extra supplements as novegetarians sometimes claim. And for the taste buds to be satisfied there are so many dishes in the world, not begotten from a tortured soul.
............................................................I have nothing against vegetarians or vegans except when they get on their high horse. Think about all the critters that are killed or displaced to grow the kindler gentler vegetarian diet. I used to be a vegetarian but now choose to eat meat.I do try to choose those that I hope were raised and killed humanly. I won't eat veal, or that goose liver crap. I also eat venison every chance I get.
As far as PETA videos. Don't believe everything you see.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 3:15PM
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Interesting thread, and I'll go ahead and tie it into gardening (frankly I think this forum doesn't belong on the GARDEN WEB).

Where do you think the steer manure we use in gardens comes from? Answer: FEEDLOTS, where cattle are raised and grown out for slaughter.

Chicken and turkey manure? POULTRY FARMS, again as a byproduct of meat production.

The best gardens I've ever seen or had were planted with generous libations of rabbit manure, from my herd, which is raised for MEAT. I'd add in the guts and hides too, but I feed the guts and other non-human-edible bits to the dogs and tan the hides. Nothing is wasted if I can possibly help it, and I'm not the only one working this way.

Most folks who kill and consume animals have the deepest respect for them. Personally, I think that EVERY high school student should have to raise an animal, or group of animals, for slaughter, and then be a participant or observer when they are slaughtered. It's not sick, and it IS humane.

PETA's videos are a bunch of BS, heavily edited and manipulated to show what they want you to see. Speaking of rabbit slaughter, they claim that the rabbits are 'routinely' conscious when skinned and so forth--wrong! They are stunned or dead before any cuts are made; they have to be, or you CANNOT get anything done! And decapitation is usually done first, before skinning, and if you believe they can live through that...well....

Anyway, back to garden connections.

Some animals are used for meat, have been for practically forever, and others have not--they are traditionally and culturally immune from consumption. The horse provides labor, for tillage, manure for fertilization, and when deceased, can either provide food and leather or fertilizer as it decays.

Since we have gained so much leisure time and luxury, these donations from the horse and dog and cat are no longer essential for our survival--and in many places, the animals then become pets, honored on the basis of what they have done in the past and valued as companions. Their subsequent use as food becomes socially repugnant and seems needless.

Consider, however, that zoos rely heavily upon horsemeat for its nutritional qualities in feeding their carnivorous residents; consider also that many of the plants which slaughter horses have increased surveillance for stolen or wild horses; and consider that there are ranches where horses are raised for specific purposes and there are animals which simply don't make the grade--and are sent to slaughter in prime health and produce healthful food product as a result.

Were we to cease animal consumption completely (the end desire of PETA, HSUS, etc), we would have a very hard time producing enough vegetation to keep our population alive and healthy. Without animal byproducts, that garden just won't produce very well.

Just some thoughts...


    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 4:02PM
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Good thoughts. Hadn't realized that about zoos.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 4:22PM
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I agree savannarose,
But if it was up to PETA, there would be no zoos, so no need for horse meat.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 9:06PM
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Yup, I'm not a PETA fan either.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 7:43AM
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Beeanne Says :"As far as PETA videos. Don't believe everything you see."

AMEN to that! We had a proposition on our ballot in AZ today that was about the humane treatment of veal and pigs. I agree 100% that they should not be kept in tiny pens and not aloud turn around or lay down. I don't eat veal either.
However my point is we have ONE commercial farm in AZ that raises animals in this manner, and it's pigs for Jimmy Dean. The PETA video, which I bought hook line and sinker being the animal lover I am, showed the pigs in the tiniest little cages and not able to turn around or lay down and filthy.
Our news station that does investigative reporting went to check out the "horrid" conditions and found that the pigs did have a good amount of room. Could move around and walk in small pens and were able to lay down. I don't know where or when PETA shot it's video but it does make you wonder how much they say is true sometimes.
They have lost a lot of creditability in my eyes with this campaign and I wasn't a big fan of them to begin with!

I do have to admit that I still voted yes on the proposition in the event that future commercial farm interests decide that Arizona is the place to abuse animals. But the way PETA ran the add it was all about animals raised commercially and made it sound like there were hundreds of farms all ready here!
I wonder how many people took the time to know the truth?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 6:55PM
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If you care about animals, stay away from PETA. They do not save animals. In fact they have euthanized (percentage wise) more animals than the local animal control in their area in Norfolk Va.
They bad mouth no kill shelters. They think the only answer is spay and neuter out of existance our dogs and cats.They do not believe in pets, but are willing to tolerate our keeping them as long as they are from shelters. Their goal is to do away with them all together. Don't believe me? Write to Ingrid Newkirk. You will get a form letter with a bunch of BS but she will not come out and say that is NOT her goal. Just that it will more than likely never happen anyway.But she will NOT say that isn't her goal.I give her a bit of credit for being that honest. Oh and breed specific legislation. PETA is all for it. They don't even try to deny it. Also, no meat/eggs/milk for you. Nothing from animals. In fact she wants your dogs and cats (while they still exist) to be vegetarians.PETA can be a big brainwasher for animal lovers unless they are strong enough to look at the facts. They have been under investigation for what seems like forever to no avail. They still have their not for profit status.I guess that's what millions of dollars gets you. :-(

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 7:43PM
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PETA-- P eople E ating T heir A nimals, I belong.
No one brought up the fact that native Americans ate people. It may have not been a regular tradition to sit down to the neighbor for dinner but they did on ocassion consume other humans either as a symbolic measure or from hunger.
I have seen people in SE Asia eat spiders, rats, dogs and GIs rotten garbage, and smile while eating.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 12:18AM
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Native Americans ate people?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 9:44AM
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During or after battle they might eat the heart or such from an enemy combatant, supposed to give them more power over the enemy. At times on the trail with captives they would have no time to hunt food so, trussed a child to a spit and cooked. or clubbed an enemy for a quick meal on the run. Getting killed for supper was much better than some of their torture methods!!
As said, it was not a everyday ocurrance but it was certainly known to happen.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 12:25PM
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I'm not a vegetarian, though I could be if I didn't have a thing for Barbecued chicken.

I don't use animal by products on my garden and it does quite nicely, thank you. I have a compost heap. No animal by products in there! Just leaves, sticks, grass and vegetable waste from the kitchen.

When you look at how much grain and water it takes to raise cattle until they're slaughtered...and how much pesticide, fertiliser and water it takes to raise the grain to feed the cattle....and the hormones and anti-biotics it takes to get a beef to market...

Meat production is a really inefficient and wasteful use of resources, if you want to look at it that way. Moreso than crop farming. Most of the crop farming in the US is done to produce feed for livestock..if all that land was turned into production for human use, who knows?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 1:02PM
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Actually, cattle and other livestock can utilize land unsuitable to cultivation. Wet areas, hill sides, etc. Our beef was grown and finished on grass, a very efficient enterprise. With animals comes their waste, that waste applied properly to a crop enhances its growth and health.
I dont think raising grain and cattle are the problem, it's HOW it is being done that is problematic. Geneticly altered crops will allow for less herbicide and pesticide use, yields will be increased even beyond the present day yields, nutrition of each crop will be enhanced.
We do need to eat less meat, if we only ate the meat that we need and not what we desire it would be a lot less nationally. Our family is big on meat, we raise animals and one side of family were mostly butchers.
There could be a more diverse choice of meats in our diets such as more rabbit. The worlds population is increasing, the USA will have 400 million in just 35 more years. Thats the real problem, no matter what we eat!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 4:14PM
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Our beef was grown and finished on grass, a very efficient enterprise.

And that is very commendable...and also very rare. 99% of beef is finished on feedlots. Most of them have never had grass. I've spent many hours looking for grass-fed beef in my area. When I find it, I'll eat it. But not until.

The farmer right down the street from me raises dairy cattle, and grows his own timothy and alfalfa. And he uses the manure to fertilise his fields...I know, because I can smell it, LOL! He's a nice guy, and I'm glad he practices sustainable agriculture.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 1:28AM
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Sick, injured, old or suffering horses do not go to slaughter. There is a huge difference between humane euthanasia and rendering of carcasses and slaughter for human consumption.

There are three horse slaughterhouses in the USA.
They are foreign owned.

The meat is shipped overseas. We don't eat horses in the USA. We do eat beef, should we open a cow slaughter house in India where they are sacred? I think not.

Stolen horses ARE slaughtered on a routine basis. Even horses with microchips and tatoos.

The horses are not raised for meat. It would cost far too much compared to what the killer buyers pay.

Here is a link that might be useful: myths about horse slaughter

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 10:31PM
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I thought most horsemeat in the US was used for pet food. Is that no longer true?
Farmers used to, (probably still) sell their "downed" livestock to folks who use the meat for animal consumption-mink/fox farms, etc.
If we choose not to eat horsemeat in our country it seems reasonable to allow it to be rendered for other uses.
We use horses for recreational/farm use but don't hold them sacred.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 10:12AM
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Horses are in fact raised for meat in some areas of the U.S. Much of it goes to japan. IOt is a silly notion to think that horse meat should not be looked at as a source of nutrition for humans or other animals. Not all horses are pets, for instance those which are used for farming, racing or other practical uses. Horses are not sacred? and the HSUS is not accurate; as other organizations of their nature they play on emotions of those who may be short on facts.
Laws could protect the horses in transit to slaughter as they do for other livestock and slaughter could and should be humane.
I dont know how much horse is used in the pet food industry today, it was at one time frequently made use of.I do know it is a wasted resource today to some extent at least.
There are horses being abused, partly due to the large numbers of horses in the country, because of low prices too many people keep too many animals and their care does suffer.
I have had horses for over 50 years and I hold them special, but I am also realistic about life and death. When emotions take control common sense is lost.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 10:37AM
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Horse meat used for pet food is NOT the issue about horse slaughter in Congress.

Horse meat for pet food is from rendering plants. This is where sick, old, injured or dead horses go.

Healthy young horses go to slaughter for human consumption for Japan, France and Belgium. The three slaughter houses are foreign owned and are also causing environmental and local problems.

Horses are not raised specifically for meat in the USA. It costs far more than $300-$400 dollars to produce and raise a foal.

$300-$400 is an average killer buyer price. Not a bad profit on a truck load of stolen horses though....

    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 3:27PM
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All this talk about livestock being "dumber" than other animals, and then I got this in my email today From Chicken Soup For the Soul. I thought I'd pass it on, as relevant as it is:

Circle of Love
By Maria Sears
Before my husband and I purchased a small ranch in Idaho that included fifty head of Herefords, I never really knew much about cows. I used to think they were large, not particularly bright creatures who spent peaceful uncomplicated lives grazing in green fields or napping in the sunshine. But once we started living on the ranch, I started to pay closer attention and learned to appreciate them on a deeper level.
I soon began to recognize the cows by their different markings, personalities and habits. I gave them all names, and they became my "pets" - in a wild sort of way. Two of my favorites were Freckles and her calf, Spunky.
Freckles first came to my attention early one spring. The cattle had spent the winter months on our lower pasture along the river, but when the cows started calving, we decided to move them to one of the upper pastures near our house. The move was uneventful, except that we discovered that one cow was missing. It was Freckles. We weren't alarmed because we assumed that she had probably given birth and was hiding in the thick patch of willows near the water. The birthing process is a private matter for most cows, and when labor begins they are quite clever at finding a hiding place away from the rest of the herd.
As we got near the bottom of the hill, Freckles came running out of the willows and headed across the field. A look of fury flashed in her eyes, as if to scold us for intruding. Her belly was considerably smaller since the last time I had seen her and her udder was swollen with milk. These were both signs that she had calved. My husband went after Freckles to coax her back, and I headed toward the willows to find her baby.
The calf was so still I almost tripped over her. Nestled in a soft hollow of spring grass was the most beautiful little creature I had ever seen. The calf was a dark russet color with a white spot on her forehead and a tuft of white at the end of her tail. She was curled up like a fawn and looked up at me with enormous brown eyes. I slowly knelt down and spoke softly as I reached out to stroke her velvety coat. She quivered under my touch, but she didn't move. She wouldn't even raise her head. She couldn't have been more than twenty-four hours old, but she had already learned how to stay put and be quiet.
My husband managed to guide Freckles back toward the willows and when she saw me she bellowed for her baby. In a flash, the little calf understood the command, bolted from her nest and ran bawling toward her mother. We stood back to watch as they came together. The calf reached for the comfort of warm milk while her mother licked her reassuringly.
Once they had calmed down, we walked them up the hill to join the herd. With her head held high and her tail bobbing like a pump handle, the calf pranced behind her mother. We laughed and christened her Spunky - a fitting name, as she turned out to be our liveliest and most mischievous calf that spring.
As we got closer, the other cows started calling to Freckles. They bellowed back and forth, again and again, as if to guide her back to their new location, and they were all waiting by the fence when we arrived. As soon as we closed the gate behind them and moved away, they surrounded Freckles, and with nodding heads and soft lowing sounds they gently greeted her and inspected Spunky. Apparently satisfied, they slowly drifted apart and began to graze. A sense of peace and harmony was restored to their little community.
I was puzzled the first few times I saw a single cow surrounded by several little calves, until I learned that cattle herds establish unique baby-sitting co-ops. Once again, I was amazed at their ability to communicate. How did they decide who would be the baby-sitter? And how did the mothers tell the babies not to move while they wandered away, sometimes for several hours?
One day, I glanced out my kitchen window and was astounded to see Red Man, our huge twenty-five-hundred-pound bull, lying in the pasture with a group of calves. The cows had somehow persuaded him to baby-sit that day. At least fifteen tiny calves surrounded Red Man, all of them content to lie lazily in the sun, except for Spunky, who had obviously grown tired of nap time. She slowly stood up. Her rump came up first, followed by a long stretch extending to the tip of her tail. Then she shook her head, flicked her tail and seemed about to go romping across the field when Red Man lifted his massive head and gave her a disapproving glare. I watched, entranced. Would the tiny calf defy the giant Red Man? Not that day. Spunky gazed at the bull for a long moment, and then her legs seemed to melt back into the ground, once again the docile baby waiting for her mother to return.
One night, we woke up to the terrifying sounds of a pack of coyotes on the hunt. Barking and howling, they raced down the hill behind our ranch and into the pasture where the cattle had settled for the night. Young calves were their favorite prey. The cattle stampeded in their panic to escape from the pack. My husband grabbed the shotgun and ran outdoors. A few shots fired into the air were enough to scare the coyotes, and we stood there listening to them yip and howl as they disappeared into the night. The herd had been badly frightened and their restless bawling went on for hours. But other than that, all was well.
Or so we thought. At daybreak we went out to check. All the animals were unharmed - except for one. We found a dead calf near some rocks, apparently killed in the stampede. My heart nearly stopped beating when I saw the white spot on its forehead, but it wasn't Spunky. It was a younger calf with similar markings. We carried the little body close to the gate and covered it with a tarp until we could bury it.
A while later, I heard a cow bawling. I looked around and saw the mother of the dead calf nudging it with her nose. Then I watched as Freckles and eleven other cows slowly walked over and formed a circle around them. ; One by one they began to bawl with the mother. The low, mournful tones of their lamentation drifted across the land as the morning sun rose.
As I watched them, I, too, became a member of their circle; I was one with them in their grief for the little life that had been, and was no more.
The cows stayed in that circle of love for over an hour. Finally, the mother backed away, turned and walked to a far corner of the pasture. Only then did the others end their vigil and move quietly away.
I stood rapt and motionless in the now-silent pasture, feeling the depth of their compassion in my own heart. Filled with awe and admiration for these animals, I turned back towards the house - that rare and tender scene firmly etched in my mind.

This doesn't change my mind as far as cattle being a food stock, though.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 7:01PM
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Still don't quite understand the horsemeat issue. Cattle are stolen, too. Sheep as well. It was a pretty routine item in our local newspaper's police log. Thieves would target livestock in remoter parts of the county and load them up at night.
You could purchase horses fairly cheaply at the sales they had at the stock markets. It would be alot easier than stealing them.
Are all horses that go to slaughter for human consumption supposed to be stolen? And what does it matter if the slaughter houses are foreign owned? Plenty of other businesses in the US are as well. It's not illegal as far as I know.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 8:44AM
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The largest hog facility is foreign owned(Spanish).

The stolen thing is just propaganda, many horses go to slaughter because their useful life is over; all they can do is stand around to be neglected. I see it all the time, too many owners have too many horses and they cant take care of them. Any horse sale/auction will have roughly 50% of the horses with physical problems or mental problems which render them unusable for the general horse buying public. These horses travel from sale to sale with little possibility of a good future, they would undoubtedly be better off made into feed or food.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 11:54AM
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Any horse sale/auction will have roughly 50% of the horses with physical problems or mental problems which render them unusable for the general horse buying public. These horses travel from sale to sale with little possibility of a good future, they would undoubtedly be better off made into feed or food.

I can think of some people that would fit into that category, too.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 6:46PM
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NO ONE (except PETA) wants to stop sick, diseased, unusable horses being put down and rendered for animal food or fertilizer in the USA. No one wants to stop zoos from feeding horse meat to big cats. Euthanizing old, sick, injured horses is NOT the issue.

People DO NOT eat sick, old, unfit horses! The horses being slaughterd for human consumption are young and healthy.

A old crippled horse in Washington isn't going to be trucked all the way to Texas to be slaughtered for human consumption. It would be euthanized and rendered locally. Nothing would change.

Are all horses that go to slaughter for human consumption supposed to be stolen?

No, not all but there have been ongoing problems with the 3 slaughterhouses not scanning for microchips or looking for tattoos or checking paperwork. They have been accused of flat out looking the other way and slaughtering horses known to be stolen. They don't want old, crippled or diseased horses, they want young healthy ones.

And what does it matter if the slaughter houses are foreign owned? Plenty of other businesses in the US are as well. It's not illegal as far as I know.

Not illegal. The point is that American's don't eat horse meat. Most American's don't approve of horses being eaten by people. American's don't profit from horse meat. American horses may be slaughtered illegally. Also, because the plants are foreign owned, enforcing regulations has been a problem.

These are nasty disgusting polluting places. The towns where they are located don't want them there.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2006 at 10:50PM
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where is the proof that the towns do not want them, that they are any more nasty than any other slaughter house.

Because we, people in the US, dont generally eat horse, is that a reason for not slaughtering them and selling the meat to the Italians, french, etc? Goat was not eaten by too many a few years ago, it is now a growth industry.
There are plenty of stolen cattle and sheep butchered annually also. Because some people only think of horses as pets there is no valid reason they should not be thought of as a source of meat and as a useful animal also, farm work, dray, race, ranch, etc. A few years ago many young and healthy horses were sold for meat, many were yearlings and 2 yr olds.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2006 at 12:31PM
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I have to agree, just because we tend to think of horses as pets they are still a livestock animal consumed in other countries and slaughtering them is not immoral nor illegal.
The slaughterhouses I've known have provided employment to the community, pay taxes, etc. Whether the ownership is U.S. or foreign wouldn't the same environmental laws be enforced?

    Bookmark   December 18, 2006 at 7:57AM
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Very interesting and intelligent responses. That's why I joined the forum...that and I love gardening. to me I see it two ways. One emotionally and two reasonably. But reason always wins. Its a disgusting thought to me to eat a horse or dog or cat, but I think that is ONLY because throughout my life I've been taught that they are loyal friendly pets. My reasonable side says I just tortured a small fish and put him on a hook to catch a bigger fish to eat because its tasty...that I eat slaughtered chicken, pig, and cow because they are tasty.

What is the value you place on different kinds of life? Well it has to do with how similar it is to your own or how friendly they are to you (because humans made em that way)...because of course your own life is most important.

Do you hate dolphins because they kill fish?

Do you kill the hornworms or other LIVING BEINGS that eat your plants?

My rule is: Don't kill anything unless it will cause severe harm to me, will cause harm to the plants I eat, or I'm going to eat it.

If your going to hate humans for killing animals to eat hate all the animals that eat other animals too. Its only fair. After all we are all animals...just so happens we are top of the food chain...and I feel no guilt about that.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 10:10PM
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I feel the OP made a poor case TL;DR after
"If one is horrified at the killing of one kind of animal for it's meat, why feel sorry for a different kind of animal if it's killed for it's meat?"
i mean come keep your post's point consistent.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 12:12AM
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Two points.

Torture is a relative term. Is it torture when a lion catches an antelope and begins eating it before the antelope is completely dead?

Is it torture for the antelope to be chased by the lion? Is there really any difference between the terrified antelope and a cow being forced up a killing chute and killed quickly with a blow to the head?

Humanoids have eaten plants and animals since before we were Homo sapiens. We killed animals however we could. Forcing herds over a cliff and leaving most of the animals to rot, since there were too many to eat before the rest began to decay.

Most people in the US are appalled by the thought of eating dog or horse meat. Because we have enough wealth to keep those animals as pets, making them more special to us.

I can't visualize eating monkey meat and I would never open a clam/oyster and eat the insides. I have tried roasted opossum(once was enough---greasy, nasty tasting) and like rattlesnake.

I've butchered chickens, hogs, and cows, processed them, cooked them, and enjoyed eating them.

What people eat is what they grow up eating.

Point two. Everything dies. Some things die quickly, some die slowly. Ever see a cow or deer with wasting disease? Or a starved horse or a dog? Pitiful sights. Makes me mad. People have the ability to choose what they want to eat. Those same people have no right to force me to abide by their beliefs---like PETA(I like my version of P(eople)E(ating)T(asty)A(nimals).

You want to eat chocolate covered spiders? Have at.

Don't be surprised if I say "No Thanks".

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 6:30PM
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I agree I would rather see a horse butchered for meat any day rather left in the back forty to die of starvation. And believe me it happens many times. Poor fluffy is put out there in the fall and of course no one checks on this 25 yr old horse as he is no longer useful, Come spring just a pile of bones and these lame brains can't figure what happened. And of course they would Never send him to be slaughtered. That would be cruel.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 10:13PM
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