Poll – making a meal of mustang
January 5th, 2011
12:45 PM ET
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At 3:30 PST, a group of representatives from U.S. and Canadian animal science and humane livestock handling organizations, as well as federal and state livestock processing regulatory agencies will convene at the South Point Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada for a discussion entitled "Setting the High Standard for Humane Processing of Horses." The "processing" part of the equation entails the slaughter and butchery of the animals for the purpose of human consumption.

The panel, which is being held as part of a four day Summit of the Horse includes representatives from American Humane, the Humane Handling and Assessment Tool Project, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The issue at hand has stirred passionate and polar arguments from those who see horse meat - especially that of wild mustangs who are seen by some as an invasive species - as a cheap, viable source of food for hungry Americans, and wild horse advocates who see the slaughter of these animals as cruel and unnecessary.

Horse meat holds a particular taboo in American culture, but is a not uncommon element of French, Belgian, Swiss, Japanese, Chinese and even Canadian cuisine. It's praised for its leanness and sweetness, and pending the outcome of the summit, might spark a reconsideration of the Restore Our Mustangs Act, passed by the House of Represntatives but awaiting action in the Senate, which prohibits the processing of wild horses or burros for slaughter.

We've asked before if our readers would be willing to eat horse meat and were slightly surprised by the outcome, expecting an infinitely more negative response.

I have and I enjoy it. 9.65%
I haven't, but I would. 28.38%
Only under dire circumstances 19.74%
I could never do that. 42.23%

Is there a change in perception on the hoof?

All week, American Morning is exploring the issues surrounding wild horses in the West. Read Mustang Roundup: Taking the wild out of the West

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Filed under: Buzz • Horse • Lunchtime Poll • Taboos

soundoff (808 Responses)
  1. dish

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    July 1, 2013 at 9:15 am |
  2. Brenner John

    Sounds great to me! Lean and mean, with no caffeine. Yee-haw! Maybe flooding the meat market with equine flesh will help bring the idiotic price of beef back down to something reasonable. As long as I can get lots of tasty red meat steaks, I don't care whether or not the hoof is split. Carne rojo es muy bueno!

    May 10, 2013 at 12:38 am |
  3. Not_THIRSTY_for Sodas

    My Little Pony:Eating is magic

    February 25, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
  4. Debbie

    There's a Mustang in my barn right now. When she got here she was wild as a March hare–now I can do anything with her. As a matter of fact, she trained easier than any other horse I've trained.

    February 25, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
  5. Debbie

    YOu know that humans still eat humans in many parts of the world. Does that make it anymore acceptable? No! It's the same with our companion animals.

    February 25, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  6. Debbie

    How about instead of killing Mustangs with the excuse "they have no food", we tell the cattle and sheep industry to quit grazing their stock for free on federal land?

    February 25, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
  7. Diane

    I get so absolutely furious just thinking about this. The human race is so unbelievably arrogant in their thinking that we own this planet. We treat every other living creature as though they are simply temporary guests and at some point in time, their stay on our planet will have to come to an end. In the grand picture, we are nothing more than a speck of dust. I appreciate the need for food, but I believe we are raising enough cows, chickens, etc.. to meet that need. And not only to we decide which creature to slaughter, we torture it in the process. It's shameful and cruel. Horses experience pain and fear. But the powers that be don't seem to mind, as long as it doesn't directly affect them, it isn't given a second thought. How do they live with themselves?

    January 28, 2013 at 12:51 am |
  8. Maddy

    It is like eating humans! I have three wonderful horses, they are more than just animals, it is clear that some people don't see horses like I do. I recommend going to a barn, after 2 minutes of being around horses at a barn will change your mind completely! Just take the moment to think about the horses instead of eating them. I think only a sick person would even touch horse meat. You have my vote for not killing beautiful creatures that deserve to be respected and euthanized instead of killed and eaten. Think about what they have done for us, farming, showing, breaking amazing jumping records, bringing us to the olympics, being a great companion, and also think about the millions of wonderful books and movies that horses have inspired us to make! Each horse has their own wonderful personality that can never be replaced again, think about the wonderful soul your killing for meat. I have an older horse and I just want to say he has changed my life dramatically and has changed me as a person, he may be old but he still is young and happy on the inside and even the outside. We show, jump, and we are a team. I think they should make an act that if you breed horses you must have a reason for breeding them and you must not be breeding a bunch of horses for no reasons, it's not their faults but our that we take breeding for granted!

    November 30, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  9. Marie

    To all those who said humans used to eat horses, just because we used to do something doesn't make it okay. We used to steal humans from other countries and make them slaves but that doesn't mean it's okay to do now. I bet half the people who said they'd eat horsemeat would also say they'd eat roadkill, cats, dogs, or whatever. Not very scientific polling results.

    At the inappropriately named Summit of the Horse, Dr. Temple Grandin said that only about 20% of slaughter facilities operate within acceptable humane guidelines and 10% are intentionally inhumane. So let everyone observe horses being slaughtered and then poll them on whether or not they'd eat horsemeat. Better yet, follow the horse dealers who: steal and lie to get cheap horses, pump them full of drugs if they're ill just so they might make the trip, shoot the eye of any horse giving them trouble, then make the long trip to the slaughterhouse without water. And that happened when slaughter plants were open in the US.

    Note: Dr. Grandin specifically asked that her name not be publicized with the summit, yet her request was ignored. Slaughter proponents said Dr. Grandin was involved in designing every aspect of a new humane facility yet Dr. Grandin told Animal Law Coalition “I have told Sue Wallis that I want no involvement in her business dealings. …[W]e have done no design work.” Dr. Grandin was also quoted by Horseback Magazine as saying Wallis had “misrepresent[ed]“ her involvement. At the summit a man told Dr. Grandin that the standards to prevent cruelty were too costly. There you have the truth – humane slaughter will never happen because these people are all about greed.

    November 25, 2011 at 5:06 am |
  10. Felica Smyth

    I don't even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I do not know who you are but definitely you're going to a famous blogger if you are not already Cheers!

    November 17, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  11. Nancy

    What makes eating wild horses different from eating a cow are several, but these are the two main ones:
    1. There is to-date to way of humanely slaughtering horses for meat on a commercial scale. The horse's mindset is such that traditional slaughterhouse practices cause terror and resistance, and often the horse has to be shot several times before the mark is hit. Slaughterhouse practices also often include stringing the horse up by its heels and starting to enviscerate it while it is still alive and conscious. This is cruelty, no matter how you look at it.
    2. The politics of wild horses: Wild, free-roaming horses and burros have been protected in the US by law since 1971. The law was enacted, and remains in effect, becasue of a strong will of the American people for this to be the case. However, there is a strong well-financed movement afoot (and the Food Network show is part of it, I am pretty sure – "Product Placement') to undo these laws, due to the tremendous profit potential in rounding up large herds of mustangs and for meat. Since Europe no longer wants domestic horses (who may have been given vaccines, antibiotics, wormers, pain killers etc) the American Mustang represents an untapped pool of profitble meat.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Duv

      Lets go give the Mustangs some drugs and they will be unfit to eat too. What about the drugs they give the mares so they don't reproduce? Aren't these unsafe for humans?

      November 27, 2011 at 2:47 am |
  12. Horse Lover

    Horse is very tasty!

    May 16, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  13. MT Miner

    Curious article and responses. I have 6 horses here that i am quite fond of, but like any animal species in the modern world, the mustangs need to be managed. I have seen the destruction in NV over the 10 years I lived in Elko when the herds got too large, its a delicate eco system in the high dessert there, it can only support a limited number of any species, let alone non-native species such as horses. Think to many people are letting tie heart over ride the logic of the brain on the whole management issue, and until that is solved, consideration of horse on the table cannot be addressed objectively.

    January 18, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  14. LilyMae

    No way. Horses are our companions, not just another food source. Horse slaughter should be aginst the law. Horses are a GREAT source of exersize, love and most of all LOVE. They love us so we eat them??? That's the part I don't get. PLESE stop horse slaughter!!!!!

    January 18, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
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