Can’t Spell “Slaughter” Without Doublespeak

Even though it happens all the time, people hate talking about killing animals.  One of their favorite ways of avoiding the topic is to use euphemisms.  Rather than “killing” animals at the slaughterhouse, they “stun” them; rather than “dismembering” them they “render” or “process” them; and animals do not get crippled or maimed in transit to the slaughterhouse — instead they are “downed” — ad nauseam.

With this in mind: a quiet little law has recently been passed which makes it possible for the US to resume horse slaughter operations.  This sounds gruesome but it might be considered to be of net benefit to the horses.  Horse slaughter was originally banned in the US in order to reduce the number of horses slaughtered for meat, but the same number of horses still got slaughtered after the ban — they just got shipped to Mexico or Canada first.  The only effect of the slaughter ban was to add a horrific multi-day transit in un-air-conditioned cattle trucks to the horses’ experience.  So, we still need to do some work to solve the issue of horses in the slaughterhouse — but, in the meantime, at least we removed that awful transit experience.  Progress.

The Arabian Professional and Amateur Horseman’s Association wanted to show support for the Arabian Horse Association, which came out in favor of this law — but how to show its support without appearing to say, “Oh, good, we’re killing horses again”?  The APAHA decided to use a tragically awful euphemism:

The Arabian Professional and Amateur Horsemen’s Association voted, with unanimous approval, to thank the AHA Board for continuing your support for the re-opening of the equine terminal marketplace, and to join with the AHA in support of the reinstatement of equine processing in the United States.

George Carlin is rolling over in his grave.  The re-opening of the equine terminal marketplaceEquine terminal marketplace!  What on earth is the equine terminal marketplace?  They’re not going to slaughter — they’re going shopping!

Whether you support the rescinding of the ban or not — aren’t we all mature enough to admit, out loud, that humans kill animals for meat?  How are we supposed to solve the problem if we can’t even admit that it exists?  What was wrong with “We are happy that steps are being taken to reduce the suffering of horses bound for slaughter”?  Honestly, they could have just gone with the last paragraph of the original statement:

There are issues to address, certainly, and many different options available to improve the terminal marketplace, among them mobile slaughter units and live web monitoring of plants. As horsemen, breeders, and horse lovers, we are the ones responsible for dealing with these issues, making sure that the terminal marketplace becomes ever more humane, with a quick and dignified passing, without undue stress, and where the horse can go on to be useful to man after his demise, just as he has been for the last 5000 years.

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