Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Humane Proposal

A Humane Proposal

For Preventing the Unwanted Dogs and Cats of the United States from Being a Burden to Society, Individuals, and Country, and for Making them Beneficial to The Public

By Jonathan Swift’s Horse

            It’s a melancholy sight to walk through towns and countryside of this great country and see cringing in streets and sidewalks, under porches and cars, homeless dogs and cats, followed in row by miniature versions, all begging for attention and scraps. These animals, instead of being employed by families for companionship and guardianship, are forced to spend their time moving, begging, and even hunting for their food.  Their helpless offspring, as they grow up, fall into the same pattern or turn feral, reverting to the wild ways from which humans saved them many years ago.

I think it is agreed on by all parties that this prodigious number of unwanted companion animals at the heels of working folk who cannot spare the extra food or compassion is in the present deplorable state of this economy a very great additional grievance; and therefore, whoever would find a fair, cheap, and easy method of making these animals sound, useful members of the commonwealth would deserve so well of the public as to have her statue set up as a preserver of the nation.

But my intention is very far from being confined to provide only for the unwanted dogs and cats; it is of a much greater extent, and shall take on the hungry masses of the larger world as well as those in need of labor and bulk purchasing jobs.  The idea is influenced by my own studies and observations of an industry already supported in our great nation regarding larger companion animals: horses.

There is likewise another great advantage to my scheme as it will prevent the need for euthanasia.  How many traumatized children must we see and explain such a practice to?  The cost born, economically and psychologically, wears down our great nation: the sacrifice of poor innocent companion animals for no greater purpose moves tears and pity in the most savage and inhuman breast.

The number of between six and eight million companion animals as unwanted is stated by the Humane Society of the United States, with between three and four million euthanized for lack of place for them.  With the comparative issue of equines, numbers are much less staggering, ranging from tens of thousands to up to a hundred thousand, yet a school of thought has already worked out how to make these undesired creatures useful to greater society.  Can not the same logic be applied?

I am assured by merchants and other agents that these unwanted animals are older and often disabled or unable to acclimate to a cultured home.  Furthermore, these animals cannot be trained and cannot bring a substantial profit from sale or use; the cost of care and feeding will be far more than any marketable value.

I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least rejection.

I have been assured by those who politically and economically support the slaughter and sale of horse meat overseas that it is a delectable product with prosperous returns for those involved in the business.  It is a delicacy served only at the most expensive and renowned restaurants in Europe and Asia at the highest price points.

I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that of treating the unwanted cats and dogs in the same manner as unwanted horses.  The sheer amount of available meat would design that it is not quite as profitable market as horse meat, but it does make it available to a wider audience, particularly throughout Asia where already exists a demand for dogs and cats; there are entire street markets dedicated to sale of these animals bred for their meat.  Dogs have quite the range in size.  Larger dogs may be sold by cut, as done by swine butchers, whilst cats and smaller canine breeds may be treated like small game or even poultry, in smaller cuts or as a whole for a family dinner or entertaining dish.

While such meat may not be considered palatable to the American diet, overseas markets have proven they will pay for American horses, so it is evident they should be willing consumers of our other companion animals. 

As with horses, the resources already established for the slaughter of meat can be merely augmented.  Albeit there are occasional complaints that the bovine slaughtering methods are more difficult based on the vastly different disposition and cranial anatomy for horses, the privatized sector for such a small market has continued with little attention from the media or USDA or FDA.  While the numbers for unwanted canines and felines are much greater than the number of unwanted horses, it is still minimal compared to the large slaughter corporations for cattle, pigs, and chickens, so they should just as easily slip by industry watchdogs – or be shown as the means to a greater good, providing jobs to the jobless and providing food to the larger world.

Furthermore, the slaughter of dogs and cats for meat would lesson the stress on breeders who have for so many years been fined or browbeaten for unchecked breeding.  Equine breed associations for Quarter Horses and Arabians assure us the overall quality of breeds and allows them the freedom to market only the finest animals for companionship while the rest may be easily disposed of via slaughter.  Would not the great breeds of American dogs and cats reap the same benefits?  Less financial strain would be placed on government agencies to stop puppy and kitten mills and such finances may be diverted to better causes in our society.

Families will also need not waste precious time in researching what they must know to responsibly own a cat or dog because, if they are unwilling to commit to the animal, they may sell it to an auction for a potential profit – or at least a means to recover what expenditures may have already been made upon the animal.

I think the advantages by the proposal which I have made are obvious and many.

For first, it would all but eliminate the unwanted cat and dog problem in the great United States.

Secondly, the poorer members of the world would have an additional food option, and the richer would have more of a palate to play with; indeed, there may be some excellent means to prepare the rarer breeds as gourmet dishes so that even more levels of the economic hungry are fed than even the equine slaughter industry can promise.

Thirdly, whereas the maintenance and euthanasia of these animals would cost individuals and government agencies money; their slaughter would create a level of income, create additional jobs, and relieve responsibility from owners who were unaware of the cost and dedication involved in a companion animal.

Fourthly, the constant breeders will be relieved of the responsibility and economic weight of limiting their puppies and kittens; households may create an additional source of income by breeding their companion animals; and individuals need not undergo the pressure and trauma of spaying or neutering their animals.

I can think of no one objection that will possibly be raised against this proposal, unless it should be urged that companion animals have sensibilities and emotions other than to serve and support the cultured society that has bred them, in which case such admonitions of anthropomorphic fancy and a potentially unhealthy attachment might be decreed upon such an individual.  I am not so violently bent upon my own opinion as to reject any offer proposed by wise men and women, which shall be found equally innocent, cheap, easy, and effectual.  I desire those politicians who dislike my overture that they first ask these animals destined for slaughter if they would not prefer to be sold for food and thereby avoid a perpetual lifetime of misfortune, oppressed by those who would work them and consider them commodities to superficial happiness, without shelter from the elements, without food or sustenance given, a burden upon their human benefactors’ souls and economy. 

I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of my country, by advancing our trade, providing for the hungry, and giving some pleasure to the rich.  My companion animals have already been fixed and cannot contribute to this greater good, nor does either fit into the unwanted category of commodity which is the boone to such an industry. 

The End.

For more resources regarding equine slaughter, please visit the Bay State Equine Rescue page on slaughter.

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