Voters set double standards

Jennifer Parsons, Editor in Chief
Jennifer Parsons, Editor in Chief

Simply thinking of eating horse meat makes me sick. Most likely, I will never try a bite of it in my entire life, but it is in no way my right to tell someone else what kind of animal meat they should or should not eat.

This past summer, I spent a lot of time with international students whose cultures and religions differ from my beliefs. My friend cannot eat pork or beef because his culture finds it offensive. We respected each other’s beliefs, but he never once asked me to stop eating these meats.

Proposition 6, which prohibits the slaughter of horses and sale of horse meat for human consumption, was passed in California little more than a week ago. If I had predicted these results beforehand, I would have written this column two weeks ago; however, never once did it cross my mind that the people of this state would be so hypocritical.

I do not oppose this law because horse meat sounds like a yummy delicatessen. I stand firmly against the prohibition of horse meat because it takes away necessary freedom. It all comes down to one’s own opinion. Who is to say what is “right” to eat?

Americans eat cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, lambs, ostriches, pigeons, hens, rabbits, ducks, snakes, fish, deer and buffalo. (I am sure I missed a few-we eat almost all meat.) So, with that thought, who in their right mind put their foot down and drew the line at horses?

Just because I do not eat horse meat and have no desire to do so does not mean I should condemn others who do. I am not so high up on my horse, so to speak, to think that my opinion is the correct one.

Seeing Prop. 6 on the ballot made me laugh. I did not actually know people ate horse meat, but that still did not make it any less absurd to halt a freedom of choice that makes no sense and contradicts itself.

One argument is that horses are considered pets in America. Well, for the record, my family has had two chickens, a duck and and two rabbits as pets. We still have two dogs, four cats, a turtle and a snake. Does that give me the right to ban California from eating any of those? No.

Yes, people keep horses for pets. They also keep cows and pigs for pets. If we go that route, we had better just stop all animals from being used as human consumption. OK, everyone must now be a vegetarian. This is getting ridiculous.

The next point brought up is the law prohibiting consumption of cats and dogs. In other countries they are eaten on a daily basis. Of course, I do not want my pet dog, D-O-G, to be eaten. But, if cat burgers and dog tacos became items on a drive-thru menu, I would not picket outside the building. I can see it now: “Neigh on horses, aye on cows.” My freedom of choice would allow me not to order it.

Some fear their pets will be shot down and roasted in their neighbor’s back yard. People should not have to keep their animals under lock-and-key so that neighbors do not “hunt” them. Pets, no matter what kind of animal they may be, are not meant to be on a dinner plate. At the same time, as far as I know, it is not too common for animal thieves to hop over their neighbor’s fence and run off with their pot-belly pig because they are all out of Farmer John sausage.

The debate gets carried away, with some declaring that if the line is not drawn at horses, people will soon be eating each other. Is human meat legal? Of course not. Do not be stupid; that is abnormal. Humans are at the top of the food chain and it is natural to eat animals. It is not natural to turn on the crockpot and throw in a classmate’s arm for dinner.

Californians should have thought twice before voting yes on Prop. 6. The real issue was not whether an individual wants to go out tomorrow and buy a herd of horses and have a barbecue. What Californians voted yes on was the suppression of freedom and one’s right to choose. Let us not be so narrow-minded to believe that our personal choice in meat should be law. It is a privilege and a right to vote. We are abusing that right.

Now we have contradicted ourselves and in not so many words made a statement that says: Yes, it is alright to eat Betsy the Cow, but not Charlie the Horse.

Jennifer Parsons, a junior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at parsonsj@ulv.edu.

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