Wild wild horses, we’ll ride them someday…

photo of Monroe by Eve Arnold

The first “Summit of the Horse” took place in Las Vegas this week.  What a sham! These people call themselves horse advocates, and they claim the best way to help horses is for us to kill them and eat them. Sounds like these people are thinking with their wallets, not their brains. According to the New York Times:

Horses should be slaughtered and processed in the United States and then sold as food to other countries that regularly consume the lean, tender meat, speakers said Wednesday at a conference aimed at reviving the country’s unpopular horse processing industry.

To me, this is like saying we should slaughter dogs and then eat them. I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 20 years, so I really don’t have much patience for this crapola. If the wild horse population has become too much, then why don’t we figure out some way to get birth control into the mares? Or could the stallions be fixed? Honestly, most of the horses that end up at the slaughter house are old race horses or are discarded by breeders because they are no longer of use (ie, profitable). We humans have caused this problem! And now these people want to murder these beautiful animals and sell them off for food in Europe and Japan. It’s just wrong.

I guess this is a little off-topic for The Slog, but I was really outraged by the proposal that slaughter is the answer. When I was a kid, a horse was one of my dear friends, and the thought of these powerful creatures being sold off for their meat is really abhorrent. Slaughtering horses is a cruel business. Slaughtering any animal is a cruel business, and I’ve often thought that if carnivores spent 5 minutes in a slaughterhouse, they would instantly become vegetarians. Personally, my motto is “If I couldn’t kill it, then I shouldn’t eat it.” So I eat fish, but pass on anything that’s fuzzy.

Anyway, all this brought up memories of the film The Misfits. On the surface, it’s about the wild horse round-ups in the West, but it’s really about so much more, like freedom and not fitting in. The film stars Marilyn Monroe, Clarke Gable and Montgomery Clift, and the wild horses (and their potential death for dog food) play a significant role in the story. The beautiful, wild creatures are rounded up and killed for profit, and the metaphors abound. It’s one of Marilyn Monroe’s best films and, sadly, her last.

The film itself is probably best known for the chaotic shoot. Without getting into too many details, let’s just say there was a lot going on behind the scenes. Coincidentally, a group of Magnum photographers (Eve Arnold, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Inge Morath) documented life and work on the set in Reno, NV, like the one by Eve Arnold featured above.

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~ by Valerie Palmer on January 7, 2011.

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