Are they stupid, or just lying?
On the recent House of Representatives vote [link to http://news.bostonherald.com/politics/view.bg?articleid=156570 no longer works] to ban the slaughter of horses:
“It is one of the most inhumane, brutal, shady practices going on in the U.S. today,” said Rep. John Sweeney, R-N.Y., a sponsor of the ban.
Sweeney argued that the slaughter of horses is different from the slaughter of cattle and chickens because horses, such as Mr. Ed, Secretariat and Silver, are American icons.
“They’re as close to human as any animal you can get,” said Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C.
Added Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn.: “The way a society treats its animals, particularly horses, speaks to the core values and morals of its citizens.”
Emphasis added, btw. There is an argument to be made against horse slaughter, but saying that an animal shouldn’t be killed because of what it symbolizes ain’t it. Presumably, those who argue against animal slaughter feel that, for at least some animals, it is wrong to use them as a means to an end. Yet that is precisely what the “but a horsie is an icon” argument does — the animal has no ethical standing except insofar as it is of (symbolic) value to us humans. This is no different, in fact, from the status quo, in which horses have solely a pecuniary value. As for Chris Shays, the notion that a horse is as close to a human as you can get is nonsense. It’s a good thing dolphins don’t have fists. His pandering to the horsie set in Fairfield County has been duly noted.