Swickard: Horsemeat to the zoo as an act of love

© 2013 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. Especially out West, horses have a special place in our lives. Personally, any day I get horse snot on me is a good day. Along with my love of horses comes a sense of duty. This includes endorsing the idea of a horsemeat packing facility in Roswell.
     It is not my first choice to send viable horses to the packers, but right now in America there are about 200,000 unwanted horses. They will die one of three deaths: packers, left to die by the side of the road or in Mexico where who knows how humane they will be.
     The reason for this glut involves the bad economy along with the skyrocketing cost of feed. If I had my way, I would care for all of them. But a look at my bank account tells me it is not possible.
     Society has turned its back on the plight of the horses for a number of years. Several years ago Congress pulled the funding of the horsemeat packing facilities around the nation. The politicians felt righteous. They did not know that they made things much worse for unwanted horses. The horses had to be meat packed in Mexico without any guarantee of humane treatment.
     Now there is a proposed horsemeat packing facility in Roswell. This has people outraged. Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to save the hundreds of thousands of unwanted horses. This is like having to put down unwanted dogs and cats. No one wants to do it but it must be done because there is no way to care for the millions of unwanted pets.
     The only thing worse is to leave them on their own to perish in horrible conditions.     So thousands upon thousands of horses will die in Roswell or they will die of malnourishment or they will be meat packed in Mexico. No amount of wishing and hoping will change this fact. The only question is if there is going to be any positive in the death of the horses. Could something good come of the death of a horse? Well, there is lots of valuable meat.
      Where is the meat going? It will not be consumed by Americans. But there is something Americans love. They love to go to Zoos to look at Lions and Tigers. Horsemeat is used by Zoos as part of the large cat diet. Read full column