They Don’t Eat Horses, Do They? Horse Slaughter Returns

When it comes to food, I waffle.

I shun red meat but I can roast a rosemary-lemon chicken that will bring you to tears.  I buy local organic, but these same ingredients are missing from the menus of some of my favorite restaurants.

Like I said, I waffle. That’s why I have no business telling folks what to eat.

Though I grew up on Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup and Chung King’s Frozen Egg Rolls, once my Mom and Dad decided travel was important, I never saw food the same way again.

It began in 1972 when Dad tried to share the box lunch he’d bought off a street vendor in a Tokyo train station. As he chewed and swallowed, I half-expected his guts to explode. Back home no one had yet discovered sushi.





Plastic models took the guesswork out of ordering


A year later in Indonesia, I witnessed the locals flip a large turtle on its back. That night the waiter served Turtle Soup and as other diners lapped it up, I felt queasy.




On Komodo Island







In India, cows roamed through the streets, I wrapped myself in a sari and ate red meat-free.

Just because Mom and Dad gave me the gift of travel and culinary adventure doesn’t grant me the right to tell anyone what to eat.

But it does give me the ability to distinguish American food culture from our world neighbors. We raise cows, pigs and chickens to eat. Whether you’re a beef eater, a vegetarian or somewhere in the middle like me, you understand that Americans don’t eat horses.

And until recently, we didn’t allow them to be shipped for slaughter for human consumption, either. That changed in November when President Obama signed the Federal Agricultural Appropriations Bill lifting the five-year ban.

The economy is weak and horse neglect exists. It always has. Horse slaughter can’t fix the problem because making it profitable to kill our noblest companion gives killers the upper hand in out-bidding rescuers. It’s grisly, dear readers. Transporting in hot, overcrowded double-decker cattle trucks. Stabbing with knives. No, no, no. I cannot waffle about this.

Not when the cost of euthanizing an old or sick horse through a vet is a couple hundred dollars. Not when there are resources like the Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue in Maryland.

Horses are part of our story. A hundred years ago you could be hanged for stealing one. Authors from Marguerite Henry to Jane Smiley to Laura Hillebrand have glorified them. Show junkies, trail riders and race fans admire them. And people like me have loved them since the time they could sit in the saddle.









House Bill 2966, The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, will prohibit  shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling or donation of horses and other equines for slaughter for human consumption.

Contact House Speaker John Boehner at or (202)225-6205.

Join BH Mom in asking him to work with the President on House Bill 2966 until it is signed into law.




Author Description

Cynthia Baseman

Cynthia Baseman is the author of 'Love, Mom: A Mother's Journey from Loss to Hope.' She writes about motherhood, the environment and education.

There are 9 comments. Add yours

  1. 11th June 2012 | Helen says: Reply
    Have you been to Animal Acres or The Gentle Barn? Amazing!
    • 11th June 2012 | Cynthia Baseman says: Reply
      Nah, I'm always at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center seeing my own big four-legged.
  2. 19th May 2012 | Jessica Hall says: Reply
    I'll do all I can to spread the word! Thank you for the info!
  3. 19th May 2012 | Claudette says: Reply
    I will forward it to my email list and ask them to contact Boehner to work with the President in passing House Bill 2966. Thanks for letting us know. Claudette
  4. 19th May 2012 | Jim Bennett says: Reply
    Will send this around to all on my mailing list! Thanks, Jim
  5. 18th May 2012 | susan kolko says: Reply
    I grew up in Annapolis, Maryland. Everyone on our street had at least one horse and two boats. That was just the cultural norm. Every year we would watch the horses swim from Assateague Island,where they roamed free, to Chincoteague Island, where they were sold. I don't know if they still do that these days but it was a pretty interesting piece of horse history and a unique snapshot in time.
    • 19th May 2012 | Cynthia Baseman says: Reply
      Wow. You are so lucky. All I could do as a horse crazy girl was dream about "Misty" of Chincoteague.
  6. 18th May 2012 | Sandra Delnet says: Reply
    i sit here in disbelief , while eating my little bag of organic bunny luv carrots... a good way to start the day ...EAT A HORSE? which could possibly be 2nd. to man's best friend... i will pass on to the clan in Idaho to work with Boehner to pass bill 2966

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