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Could You Eat Your Horse
 By Winniefield Park   •   11th Feb 2016   •   2,103 views   •   4 comments
Could You Eat Your Horse

What happens to horses after they die? There are a number of different options available. They may be buried, composted or cremated. The most common course of action is to call a dead stock service. Dead stock trucks drive through the rural countryside and collect dead animals from farms. If you live in cattle country, or an area that supports a lot of sheep, goat or other stock farms, these trucks will appear to have an almost regular route. The operators will pick up either dead or incapacitated animals. The badly injured or sometimes Ďsick with a non-infectious diseaseí animals are shot with a captive bolt gun. A captive bolt gun projects a large bolt that hits the animalís brain with deadly force. A regular gun is less likely to be used because of the danger of stray bullets, and the damage it does to the horse. Many guns that are commonly owned by the public, or even by police services might not be adequate to cleanly kill a horse.

The dead animal is pulled into the box of the truck with a winch. There may be quite a number of animals on the truck and all will be taken to a rendering plant where their bodies are augered to make pet food or broken down to separate out various components for producing leather, glue, soaps, dyes, cosmetics, medications and many other common household products that we all use every day. Did you use toothpaste or mouthwash this morning? Inside that bottle or tube were probably ingredients processed from horses, cattle, sheep and other livestock. Fertilizer is another product that can contain rendered remains.

Related: Would You Ever Eat Horse Meat
Related: Countries Where Foals Are Bred For Horsemeat

All of this happens well out of the public eye. By all accounts, rendering plants are nasty places, and you wouldnít want to live downwind of one. My husband once applied for a job as a plant maintenance electrician at one that made pet foods, and discovered the worker turnover was extremely high. They arenít nice places to work.

There are places of course where horses are eaten, and even raised specifically for their meat. Many of us have strong objections to eating horse meat. But a Swedish harness racer driver has faced criticism for her decision to eat her horse Iffy Mant after the horse sustained an injury that meant it must be euthanized. Some called it plain weird, others thought it was disrespectful of an animal who had served her well. She didnít do it out of disregard for the animal and it doesnít seem it was a publicity stunt. Eating her horse came from a belief that you shouldnít eat any animal that hasnít had a good life. And, she is quoted in several news articles as saying that it isnít what happens to an animalís body after itís dead that counts, but the what we do to animals when they are alive.

Knowing what I do about the rendering process, and many other things about meat production in general, and agreeing that how we treat animals when they are alive is more important than how we dispose of their bodies has made me question whether I would eat my own horse. I think the answer would be no. Itís hypocritical I know, because there are two pigs in the barn right now that will be turned into roasts, chops, bacon and ham in a few months. I take table scraps to them often, but I take care not to look them in the eye. Iíve even plucked chickens, ducks and geese that my family raised. So I canít even tell you why I feel okay about eating those animals, but not my horse.

What do you think? Was eating her horse a respectful use of resources, weird or repugnant? Would you eat your own, or any horse?

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http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/swedish-jockey-helena-stahl-defends-eating-her-horse-after-it-was-put-down-a6801986.html
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DeadSugar  
I feel that it is weird, but it may be because of social norms and nurture vs. nature. You definitely don't see horse on the menu...anywhere around here.
I feel that in most opinions, horses are an embodiment of beauty, majesty, and companionship and work partner to many...and eating one is sort of weird to think about, like eating a work of art or your coworker. At the same time, they are a stock animal, and they can be all of these things to one person. I think she's being respectful to the animal in an odd way. Sort of like in some cultures how no part of the animal went to waste. The horse lived it's life always with a purpose, and a purpose it served well. Not saying I'd be ordering a Seabiscuit Burger ever in my life, but this is interesting to think about. You can care and consume, I think. Interesting topic.
  Feb 13, 2016  •  2,025 views
 
Ruby Creek Ranch  
Honestly, I wonder if this story was made up or false...

She claims she ate the horse after it was euthanized, but almost all humane euthanasia methods (done via chemicals like barbiturates) would make the meat beyond unsafe to consume. Unless the horse was shot, or something similar, there's no way any butcher would have touched it.
  Feb 13, 2016  •  2,020 views
 
DeadSugar  
I also questioned the euthanasia thing. That would be the sketchiest part.
  Feb 13, 2016  •  2,007 views
 
Winniefield Park  
As to euthanasia, and I'm sorry I didn't follow up on this sooner, but it is possible to euthanize an animal without drugs. A captive dead bolt or other type of gun can be used. Deadstock trucks that visit farms may have one onboard, depending on the laws in your area. Done properly, it is can be more humane than drugs, believe it or not.
  Mar 10, 2016  •  1,794 views
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