Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006 04:56 am
The horse slaughterer
One more reason I say nay to George W. Bush
I hope you haven’t just eaten, because we need to talk about horsemeat. It’s not widely known, but there are three horse-slaughter factories in the United States — two in Texas, one in Illinois. Each year, some 90,000 horses are trucked to these facilities, where they are killed (some die an agonizing death), chopped and ground into meat, then shipped off to be someone’s dinner. Americans, however, don’t eat horsemeat — it’s no longer even used for pet food here. This meat goes to Europe. Two of the slaughterhouses in our country are owned by Belgians, the other by French investors. OK, they fancy horsemeat — but we don’t have to provide it. In China, people eat cats. Shall we let Chinese investors build a kittycat slaughterhouse here? The good news is that an overwhelming, bipartisan majority in Congress passed an amendment in December to put a temporary halt to the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The bad news is that Bush is in office. Astonishingly, the Bush administration is siding with the three foreign horsemeat corporations, defying the direct order of Congress to stop the killing! What Congress did was to amend the Agriculture Department’s appropriations bill to say that none of its money could be spent to inspect horsemeat plants in the next year. No inspection, no meat — no meat, no slaughterhouse. But that underestimates the corporate servility and autocratic arrogance of the Bushites. Bush agriculture officials have ruled that although the amendment prevents spending the department’s money for horsemeat inspection, the three companies can pay the inspectors themselves under a special fee-for-service arrangement, thus continuing the slaughter and the shipping. Agriculture officials are letting the foreign firms do this without allowing the public to comment.