-By Warner Todd Huston
There is a jester of a Chicago Alderman named Ed Burke who back in the early 1990s made local radio audiences laugh by his plaintive plea of “what about the horses” on the floor of Chicago’s City Hall. He was worried that horses in downtown Chicago’s carriage trade were somehow being mistreated and so he tried to pass all sorts of absurd new regulations in Chicago to help his equine buddies. His plea rings in my ears as I read this new story of the “unintended consequences” of federal regulations meant to save the horses that has only made their lives more miserable.
Since we became a country there have been businesses geared to dispatch and butcher ailing, broken down, or unwanted horses. These horse abattoirs may be remembered once upon a time as supplying some of the raw materials for glue factories. But they also supplied the meat for zoos, circuses and increasingly for meat markets overseas where consumption of horsemeat by humans does not carry the cultural shock that it might here in the United States.
But congress knew better, you see. Congress had become the ultimate horse whisperers and could read the horses minds to know that they felt abused by these evil slaughterhouses. And so, because congress is oh, so caring, that august body passed laws that materially harmed horse slaughterhouses in America. These rules eventually made such businesses close up and disappear in the USA.
It’s for the horses, ya know? And so, the actions of congress led to the end of the evil places and congress was confident that they helped horses everywhere avoid all that “suffering” caused by the trade in horse meat.
I’m feeling better already, aren’t you?
But wait. It seems that the end of horse slaughterhouses in America has not ended suffering for our equine citizens. In fact, there has been “unintended consequences” to these laws. Wouldn’t you know it, but the suffering of horses has actually increased instead of being alleviated.
The Government Accountability Office is now reporting that horses are suffering worse than ever due to the end of slaughterhouses here.
“Those horses are traveling farther to meet the same end in foreign slaughtering facilities where U.S. humane slaughtering protections do not apply,” GAO said in unusually blunt language that said that the horses are sometimes shipped in too-small containers for hundreds of miles, and that the inspection regime is too lax to help.
As Nebraska Republican Adrian Smith says, “ending horse processing has had a detrimental effect on both the economy and animal welfare. In light of this information, Congress should re-evaluate this misguided policy to allow responsible horse management which would create jobs, generate revenue and strengthen a struggling horse industry.”
The upshot is that congress killed American jobs, laid waste to an ages old industry, and caused more suffering to the very animals they thought they were helping. Typical. This story is an object lesson in the follies of do gooder government. This story just goes to show that when these lawmakers involving themselves in areas where they simply have neither any expertise nor display any common sense, they end up making matters worse in nearly every case. If this isn’t a perfect example of why our founders were right that that government which is a limited government is the best government.
Congress and these do gooder, animal “rights” wackos should left out to pasture and out of our hair.