Friday, December 11, 2009

A Modest Proposal

Here's a portrait of my girl, Zenyatta.



Man, watta horse!

All of which brings me to the announcement of the New York Racing Assocation's anti-slaughter policy. The Times, in its majesty, offers this:
The New York Racing Association said it would bar any owner or trainer from competing at its racetracks if any of their horses were sold for slaughter. It also urged horsemen who are part of what is widely considered the premier racing circuit in the nation to support rescue and adoption efforts and to find humane ways of dealing with horses that are unable to continue racing.
Ok. That's great.

Except, push comes to shove, what are they going to do with all these horses? Do you know how many thoroughbred puppies, if that's even the right word, are born each year? Between 35,000 and 40,000. Assume one percent of them have productive careers. And those careers typically last five years? And the horses typically last 15? The numbers don't hold up. It's nonsense. It's like the numbers on Social Security. If we don't institute the death panels soon the country is going to hell in a handbasket.

But let's not dwell on that. Do you ever see those quivering, super skinny dogs walking around? Rescued racing dogs? Whippets and greyhounds, I guess. What a nice idea. You can pet them. Feel good about yourself. Give them a half can of Cadillac (chock full of horse meat, one might conject) twice a day. Horses, on the other hand, get about 25 pounds of hay and are hard to keep in an apartment. Fact is, there are only so many things you can do with 30,000 more-or-less useless horses a year. Even if you own a huge spread in Nevada and you have a heart of gold.

My ex-brother-in-law (a vet) once told me that race horses are mean animals. Bred for racing, not hanging out with little Emily (who's just seen National Velvet).
That horse is totally gonna bite Emily.
I know. It's gonna be horrible to watch.
Poor kid. She shoulda bought a whippet.
Nicely said.
Painters are the same way. Not very nice, really. Bred to create something meaningful out of whole cloth (whatever that means), drink heavily and, if at bars, wink at girls. Otherwise, useless. By and large.

Anyway, the point of the thing is this: instead of embarking on a financially ridiculous policy of not killing aging race horses, why not organize humane slaughter facilities, monitored by the local racing associations, to which horse breeders can deliver their horses when their useful careers are over. Charge them the cost of slaughtering and butchering the animals--they'd gladly pay it vs. the ongoing overhead of a aged horse--then package the horse meat and deliver it to the homeless in New York City.

And, of course, find another name for horse meat. I mean, they don't call pig meat pig...they call it pork. Cows equal beef. Deer meat equals venison. Horse, unfortunately, equals horse meat. My suggestion: harnesson. Honk!
That's a good one.
Thank you. It made me smile.
I was going with omnichow.
Hmmm. Might be too technical-sounding
Yeah.
Too "Big Farma"
Yeah.
George Orwell would have liked that name, though.
Yeah. I suppose that's something.
But really, who's gonna eat a juicy 16oz. cut of something called omnichow?
Yeah. Harnesson it is.
Okay.
Our society is so full of shit on so many levels. Cows are killed by the millions in horrible ways. Yet nobody moans about eating a hamburger. I think the horse associations are missing an opportunity to take the lead in the humane slaughter of food-animals.

When I'm done painting, I hope somebody kills me. Softly.

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