Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Today I stumbled across the issue of the recent lift on the ban that prevented the use of federal funds to inspect facilities that slaughter horses. It turns out to be an interesting example of the effects of interventionism.
In 2006, the ban was placed and ended horse slaughter in the United States. All meat that crosses state lines must be inspected by the USDA. Because this inspection funding was banned, the horse meat market in the United States was forced to shut down.
It seems like this would be a great thing for horses. In the United States, horses are viewed as pets and as a symbol of the west. Slaughtering them for their meat is about the same as chopping up your dog and barbequing it. There is certainly no market for horse meat in the United States anyway. Why not just let them live happy lives and eliminate the possibility of being slaughtered to death.
Unfortunately, this ban did not stop the slaughter of horses and even led to horse abuse. Old horses are typically sold to slaughter houses. Since no American slaughter houses were available, they were sent out of the country to Mexico and Canada. The ban did not end the slaughter of horses. People will always find alternatives and other markets.
Also with the economic downturn, many people could no longer sustain the expensive livelihood of a horse. Because there were no slaughter houses available, many horse owners abandoned or failed to maintain enough food and veterinarian visits for their horses. Instead of just being killed, horses had to suffer for months or even years before they died. If anything, the ban created more problems. This ban that was meant to save horses only increased their suffering.
This example shows that government intervention creates more problems that it attempts to solve. The ban did not end horse slaughter. Instead slaughtering was simply outsourced to other countries or horses were abandoned and left to suffer.
In case you’re wondering, horse meat is considered a delicacy in Asia and Europe. It is also considered a good source of protein for zoo animals. There is no market for horse meats in the United States so don’t worry about being force fed horse burgers because of the lift on the ban. Your chicken nuggets and Taco Bell meals are horse free!