What does horse taste like?
That's a question that you, as an American Citizen, probably can't answer. We just don't eat them. They're edible, and other countries do, but we don't.
Our feelings about horses are that they are a special animal; many people consider eating a horse with the same sort of horror that they'd approach eating a beagle or a black lab. This sentiment is so strong, in fact, that horse meat was prohibited from being used in pet food in the united states in the 1970s. Horse meat for human consumption was effectively outlawed in the United States by legislation that closed federally-inspected horse slaughterhouses in 2007.
When we outlawed slaughter for horses in the USA we shifted some of the market to Canada, and some to Mexico, and for many horses, instead of being slaughtered in a regional plant that means a trip of many hundreds or a thousand miles before they're slaughtered, often in cattle trailers that aren't tall enough for the horse to stand upright -- an uncomfortable journey, and certainly the last thing that the folks who outlawed the USA slaughter of horses had in mind.
What faces many horse owners now is that there is just no good way to dispose of a horse that is lame, dangerous to ride, or that the owner simply cannot afford to keep any more. In my area there are several well-publicized cases of horses being slowly starved to death (there are horse animal hoarders) or abandoned. You take your own horse to a trail, go riding, and find your trailer filled with horses on your return.
Yes, there are horse rescue groups, but there's just too many horses for them to take. Would you rather see the horse humanely killed in a USDA inspected slaughterhouse or trucked to Mexico and killed under... well, brutal would be the word that I'd use -- conditions? I'm speaking as someone who regularly slaughters
I've been to several auctions in the past 3 months where horses have sold for between $1 and $10 each -- 800 to 1,000lb animals.
For a variety of reasons I'd like to see horse slaughter return to the USA: Shorter journey for the horse, local jobs and economy, kindness, and ability to regulate and enforce those regulations to ensure humane handling of the animals.
And I hate to see the horses wasted. At current auction prices, many people just shoot and bury their horses directly. When you can't even get enough for the horse to pay for a happy meal, there's just no incentive to do the right thing when disposing of it. I'd much rather see that horse go as human food.
Current article in the Seattle times talking about saving a "horse with a name"
wikipedia article on horse slaughter.
abandoned horses in Time Magazine
horses being abandoned at boarding stables - the legal view
Rising abandonment rates - USA today
A million horses - lobbying for horse slaughter
Mexican slaughterhouse video. Gruesome stuff. You really think this is better than a USDA plant? These guys want to outlaw export of the horses for slaughter entirely -- leaving horse owners with even less option than they have today.
Canadian Horse slaughter. Not quite so gruesome. They talk about the difficulty in using a captive bolt on a horse -- but compared to Mexico slaughter...
2 weeks ago