Horse meat for Consumption

Veterinarians, trainers, owners, and legislators are split as to whether horses can be slaughtered for human consumption (though I defer a listing of both sides of the argument until a later date).  But what about horse meat for non-human consumption?  

What about your lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!) who feast on horse meat?  Some zoos have switched to feeding beef, but horses have been found to be the most natural diet for zoo carnivores, and the meat most simulating what lions would eat in the wild.

Sensitive viewers beware of the photo below

A hungry lion receives a birthday cake made of 10 pounds of horse meat.

Arguments are heated on both sides.

Food for thought.

Horse Law Humor

There are numerous laws on the books that are unlawfully prejudicial or completely strange.  Most of these laws are never enforced, but it always a source of humor, disbelief, and curiosity to consider the laws and why they were written.  

This link will take you to a more complete listing of some outlandish horse laws, but these are some of my favorites (some of these include "antique laws"):

A misworded ordinance in Wolf Point, Montana: "No horse shall be allowed in public without its owner wearing a halter."

In Omega, New Mexico, every woman must "be found to be wearing a corset" when riding a horse in public. A physician is required to inspect each female on horseback. The doctor must ascertain whether or not the woman is, in fact, complying with this law! 

A Fort Collins, Colorado Municipal Code: "It is unlawful for any male rider, within the limits of this community, to wink at any female rider with whom he is acquainted."

It is strictly against the law in Bicknell, Indiana, for a man to leave his new bride alone and go riding with his pals on his wedding day. The penalty is a week in jail.

Paradise, California, retains a most unusual law that says it is illegal to let a horse sleep in a bakery within the limits of the community.

And my favorite: 

An attorney can be barred from practicing law in Corvallis, Oregon, should he refuse to accept a horse in lieu of his legal fees.

Clearly horses have always been an integral part of our lives to have such specific laws!

Note: I have not researched each of these statutes, so it is possible some may be inaccurate, antique, or untrue.

One of my absolute favorites

I love Mr. Ed.  Not only is this show about a horse, but such a clever horse!
He may or may not be inspiring some of my research paper.  Actually... he is.

The first clip is the very first time the new owner meets Mr. Ed.  
To tie this in legally (always the point), pay close attention around minute 8:15, 
"Horse trading is a thieving, conniving, double-crossed business at best, but THIS beats all!"
Part III of my research paper is about that very topic.  How prime.

I included this clip so you can actually know and hear what Mr. Ed is all about!

"How now brown cow?!"

Update May 2012
It appears that the prior youtube links are not streaming.  I've attached a new one below.

Case of the Year 2009

Issue: Are people crazy?
Rule of Law: yes. at least in Arizona.

Here are the facts of the case equine practitioners considered the silliest of the year.

One morning in September 2007, Coates was jogging on the side of a private dirt road in Elgin when he saw his neighbor, S., riding his horse towards him on the same side of the road. Neither man yielded to the other and Coates “r[an] into the face of [S.'s] horse.” S. then turned his horse towards Coates in an attempt to calm it, at which point Coates began shouting at S. and shoving the horse's head and neck. Afraid his horse would become “spooked” and cause an accident, S. swung the reins at Coates, striking him twice on the shoulder, and yelled at him, warning him not to “try to spook [his] horse again.” S. began to ride away and Coates ran alongside S. shouting at him and taking pictures on his cellular telephone.

Coates testified he was familiar with horses and their behavior, having been around them most of his life, and he knew horses could become “spooked” and throw their riders if disturbed. Other evidence showed that, despite this knowledge, he persisted in shouting and shoving S.'s horse's face and neck.

Fortunately, the horse rider prevailed- not on a "who had the right of way" issue, but on the jogger's "disorderly conduct" after they collided.

A horse of many colors

I have been researching for three solid days a seemingly simple question,
but an outrageously unclear answer.

How is a horse legally defined?

Like The Horse of Many Colors in the Wizard of Oz,
it seems that a horse can be any number of legal definitions,
depending on the facts at hand.

Among the options:

A horse is livestock.
Just like cattle, sheep, pigs, etc.
Except in most states it is illegal to kill them for human consumption.
What makes horses immune from being eaten, but not the others?
Is that fair?

A horse is property.
This is the traditional view.
So if your horse is negligently killed, then you can recover their Fair Market Value at the time of destruction, like your car.
But a horse is not treated legally exactly the same as inanimate property,
so if a horse isn't the same as all other property, then what is it?

A horse is a pet.
This has become the prevailing tradition in California.
Pets have rather strict limitations in California law,
and some cities are elevating the pet status from being "owned" to being "guarded" by their human owners.  This change opens the door for a third party to claim guardianship over your pet,
can limit the veterinary options available, such as humane euthanasia, and can expand the tort recovery for a negligently destroyed pet- perhaps moving into the thousands and millions of dollars in "special damages," similar to recovery if your child or spouse has been killed (though loss of consortium, loss of relationship, etc is not included, but more so, "intrinsic value" grounds are used.)
With such classification should horse slaughter for any purpose be prohibited?
If a pet, can abandoned, retired, or overpopulated horses ever be humanely slaughtered for non-human-food purposes? (For example, horse meat has been found as the best natural-substitute for carnivorous animals in zoos, such as lions)
Can horses be used in medical or scientific research?
Can horses be used as an economic investment if legally considered a pet; will horses be subject to labor laws like humans?


All this confusion requires clarity.
Courts cannot be expected to know how to decide cases with such ambiguity in the law,
and equine participants --as subjects of the law-- require foreseeability of how their behavior will be received by the court system.

I feel horses are a valuable economic force in our nation, and that should not be stripped away from the investors.
I don't believe that horses deserve the same legal protection as humans,
but I do hold a high standard for the ethical treatment and welfare of these beasts under our control (that includes wild horses on Federal land).
I think there would be great loss and great gain to any one of these definitions being the unequivocal final categorization of a horse.
Therefore, the legislature must undertake to more clearly define the equid body of law.
That is no small feat, and would be at great cost.