Last year, Congress voted to legalize the slaughter and sale of horse meat in the U.S. But just because you haven’t seen horse steaks at Giant or Safeway yet doesn’t mean that American horses aren’t ultimately bound for someone’s kitchen table. For decades now, we’ve sent our old and injured horses to Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered, their meat sold in Europe and other parts of the world where eating horse isn’t taboo (at least among the older population).
But, apparently, our racehorses (which account for 10-15 percent of 100,000-odd horses America sends to slaughter annually) are too filled with medication to be considered safe to eat — a veterinarian at Tufts University recently called American racehorses “walking pharmacies.” And recently, European food safety officials have come to the Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses with their concerns about our overmedicated horses — concerns which may result in changing meat-inspection procedures or
Which is all just to say that how we treat our racehorses around here is kind of awful on all counts. 24 horses die at American racetracks every week, and many that survive the hazards of their occupation are destined for the slaughterhouse. And the only thing threatening to disrupt business-as-usual is that the (often illegally high) level of prescription drugs administered to our celebrated steeds renders their meat questionable. Yuck.
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