At the Ref Desk (8/13/18): Complaints upstairs about someone playing the trumpet in one of the computer labs. Oy. [more...]

They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (Not in Illinois)

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 5/16/07 (10:56pm)

Mayor Daley has famously said that the law banning fois gras in Chicago is the "silliest ordinance that was ever passed".

I kind of look at the recent vote by the Illinois State Senate banning horse slaughter in the same light.

The head of the Illinois Department of Agriculture says horse slaughter "is inhumane because our society considers horses to be companion animals or pets".

That's one perspective.

My approach comes from the years I spent in Paris when they served it on a regular basis in the student university restaurants. I was short of money and this meal would literally be my only one of the day. Sometimes they'd serve something really gross like rognons, tripes or cerveaux fouettés which I was unable to eat no matter how hungry I was.

So you can imagine my relief when they'd have something like cheval which kind of resembled boeuf in color if not completely in texture. The truth is, I ate it with relish.

I haven't had the dish since then but it doesn't strike me as the end of Western Civilization to contemplate it being produced here and sent out to the four corners of the world. At least we've got something we can still export.

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3 comments

by vicki on Thu, 5/17/07 (7:48pm)

How about doing a bit of research before saying we still have something to export? All three slaughter houses are foreign owned - 1 by France and 2 by Belgium. They don't pay taxes and all the profits go overseas with the meat. The ban on fois gras was not to stop us from eating duck but stop us from torturing the ducks. If you do some research, you'd see why.

Horsemeat is banned in the US, just like dogs and cats. They are companion animals and deserve a dignified death, not to be tortured and end up on the plates of the elite in France, Belgium and Japan.

by Leo Klein on Thu, 5/17/07 (9:04pm)

Hi Vicki,

Well, you know as a librarian, "research" is my middle name but this one requires no special skills.

All you have to do is go to Merriam-Webster and look up Definition No. 1 for 'export':

1 : something exported; specifically : a commodity conveyed from one country or region to another for purposes of trade

Next question?

by vicki on Fri, 5/18/07 (5:52pm)

Hi! Yes, that is the definition of export but isn't a country supposed to make money on their exports? I thought the idea of export was to sell a product outside a country. If it's for trade and not monetary value, what are we getting in return? They're making $60M per year and we make zip. I don't see that as a monetary or trade export. They're making fools of us and laughing all the way to the bank.