Article in Question: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/21/science/21horse.html?_r=1&ref=science
“If there was a fertility control out there, we’d love to have it,” Mr. Gorey added.
Well I might not be the wisest or the most intelligent person you will ever meet, likewise I’m hardly the most creative. But it would seem to me that we have access to a very powerful fertility control for non-human animals, we can eat them. Now indeed there are tons of people who hate the idea of eating animals, I’m not here to discuss that (at least not today) but the fact that this is the least expensive (and actually profitable) option should make it pretty darn appealing.
Now as with most big problems that have simple answers that are overlooked because of childish biases this too can be attributed in large part with the catholic church.
In 732 A.D. Pope Gregory III began a concerted effort to stop this pagan practice, and it has been said that the people of Iceland were reluctant to embrace Christianity for some time largely over the issue of giving up horse meat. In some countries the effects of this prohibition by the Catholic Church have lingered, and horse meat prejudices have progressed from taboos to avoidance to abhorrence. Today, however, horse meat is commonly consumed in many European countries. – http://www.igha.org/USDA.html
Indeed people tend to look at eating horses with a similar light to kissing cousins however it isn’t a very warranted taboo. Every time I’ve heard people discuss consuming horse meat it is talked about in the same light as seeing the gates of heaven. I’m sure that is an exaggeration (or maybe the gates of heaven are made of horse jerky) however I’ve yet to hear a negative response to the taste.
Horse is also healthier than Cow for consumption, Zoo’s often feed their big predators horse because of the much lower fat content of the meat. Horses also produce 3 times less feces per day compared to their bovine friends. This means you could safely farm 3 times as many horses without increasing the pollution resulting in the caretaking. Likewise you could even keep the same amount of horses as you had cows and cut back on methane output by 66%.
A cow eats 50-90lbs of food per day, I believe the % is 2-2.5% of their body weight, a horse on the other end eats between 15-20 lbs of food per day, which again should be something like 1.5 to 2% of their body weight. This is another gain in profit and reduction in environmental impact because you require far less food to supply the same amount of animals. Now to be fair the average cow weighs 1400 lbs and the average horse weighs 1000-1200 lbs so there is a reduction in return from each animal…but even if you supplement that with a slightly higher population you have much lower fecal output and much healthier meat products.
I’d like to live in a world where we don’t have to eat animals, because they are really cute when they are alive (some exceptions aside), but for now this is a truth that can’t be ignored and for the health of most people it can’t be intentionally omitted. If we have a problem with overpopulation of horses the best option is not to spend millions of dollars sterilizing the animals, it would make far more sense to eat them. If we phased out cow farming and replaced it with horse farming we’d even improve our current standing with the environment.
Plus either way I think you are killing an adorable animal, so emotionally it shouldn’t be much more difficult. Albeit I think the sheer quantity of poo that cows drop is what gives people more ease with executing them. Something to take into account if you are quite active in the restroom.