Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Euthanizing Euphemism

Euthanizing Euphemism
©2012 Ross Williams

Late last year, Obama signed into law a monstrous amalgam of dog vomit passing itself off as legislative deliberation. And it wasn’t a precious little lap dog’s vomit, either, as that would consist entirely of semi-chewed dry dog food and possibly a cat toy. This bill contained, instead, the vomit of a free-roaming, semi-feral outdoorsy dog, the one who will eat, during any random block of 24 hours, plastic and Styrofoam food wrappings straight from the neighbor’s trash can, a lump of horseshit, the week-old carcass of a dead skunk that even the crows have given up on – bones and all, grass, a wad of rancid carpeting, and balls of gelatinous goo unidentifiable even by today’s television forensics.

This new law was a mess of unrelated gibberish cobbled together for the purpose of politically expedient butt-covering and little else.

Obama signed it because its signature hunk of horseshit was the deliberate underfunding of our Social Security system, otherwise called a payroll tax break. It is also otherwise called shortsighted pandering, fiddling while the dollar burns and re-election campaigning, but what’s in a name? A lump of horseshit by any other name is just as shitty.

And speaking of horses, another hunk of dog vomit in this bill, and possibly the only one with any semblance of justification behind it, was the provision that would revoke the suspension of USDA inspections of food-intended horse slaughter. Horse slaughter for the purpose of shipping Secretariat steak to France is once again allowable in the United States ... the erstwhile land of liberty where the imperious hand of government restriction is intended to allow fairly free rein to We The People.

This, naturally, has a whole bunch of puritanical nitwits both up in arms and melting into puddles of their own tears or other bodily fluids.

Slaughtering horses, to these moistened mopes, is inhumane. Yet it is done by the same method used for other large food animals, like cows, for which it IS humane. That method is either a gunshot to the head, or hoisting the animal up by its hind legs and slitting its throat. In slaughterhouses, the gunshot uses a bolt rather than a bullet.

Kosher and halal meats require the animal be bled to death; halal is the muslim version of kosher where the process is overseen by an imam rather than a rabbi. Kosher slaughter is considered very humane.

These people believe there is no excuse for slaughtering a horse, ever. There is only ever a need – and it’s rare – to euthanize horses. ...and how are horses euthanized? By a gunshot to the head, primarily. With a bullet. A horse, as opposed to a dog or a cat – or a person – is too large an animal to give an injection of a fatal drug; it takes too long, and is therefore considered inhumane.

There is no substantive difference between slaughtering an animal and euthanizing it: it still ends up being killed. There is no substantive difference between humane killing and inhumane killing when discussing food production and animal end of life care, they’re both done the same way. The only difference is in the animal being killed: a horse instead of something else.

These people further compound their dishonesty by attaching presumptive motivations to everyone else’s actions. Anyone who would send a horse to slaughter is cruel and only interested in money, whereas anyone who would pay a veterinarian a few hundred bucks to make a barn call to come kill an old, sick, injured or unwanted horse, and subsequently hire a backhoe or renderer for several hundred more to dispose of the carcass, is caring and considerate.

This means that the entire subject is being driven by irrational ninnies making distinctions that don’t exist except in the febrile depths of their own minds. And that is no basis for holding an intelligent debate. Intelligent, rational debate is, in fact, impossible for it relies on undefined factors known and knowable only to some. The only debate possible is, by definition, UNintelligent and IRrational.

There’s a sound purpose for having two different terms for killing an animal – slaughter and euthanize. They denote the two different reasons for killing it. And there is also a valid purpose for understanding some methods of killing animals to be humane while others are inhumane; we shouldn’t go out of our way to be unnecessarily brutish about it.

But once established, it is dishonest to mix and match these terms for personal reasons, to use inappropriately harsh terms to describe something disliked, and inappropriately gentle terms to describe something preferable. It is emotional manipulation to require someone else to hold your personal views in order to even discuss a subject. We do this constantly already when discussing abortion, gun control, gay marriage, drunk driving, war and other topics prone to false piety. Horses deserve better than standard politics.

Anyone who does this is declaring that he has an emotional attachment to a horse that he’s never met, and which belongs to someone else besides, and that this attachment supersedes the owner’s right to do with his own horse what he wishes, ...which is phenomenally self-righteous.

It’s also advertising that he can’t tell the difference between brains and emotions, which means he doesn’t know how to use his brains. There’s a term for that condition, and someone who’s honest might use it.


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