I think the thing that really makes horse slaughter feel wrong is that they're working animals, they (in the past at least) pulled our plows, powered our vehicles, carried our soldiers, worked day in and day out, for centuries, at man's will. There are very few other animals as historically significant as the horse, what person would ever think of eating the creature that turned the soil, turned the mill, and essentially was responsible for the food on the table?
Actually, except for carrying soldiers into battle, the animal people most used to plow their fields, power their vehicles, turn the mill, and essentially responsible for putting food on the table were oxen
Horses were far too delicate and expensive for common, working class people. Hollywood has given us a distorted view of the horse's place in society, so that 'historical significance' people go on about is pretty much myth.
Horses do pull the plow and are used as vehicle power for certain religious sects in today's society, but all they really are in the scheme of things in this day and age are expensive luxuries.
Horses are a prey species and we are a predator species. There's no good
reason why unwanted horses should not feed people or other meat-eating animals.
Hype, hysteria, and hyperbole aside, it makes sense not
to waste the amount of meat a horse can provide. To me, the real crime is putting all that protein in the ground when it could be used to feed others.
Maura, my best and brightest is buried on my property. I promised him when I got him as a 4 y/o that he'd always be taken care of, I'd never let him suffer, and when his time came I'd let him go with dignity. He was 25 when I had him put down. I'm lucky in that where I live I can bury a large carcass, otherwise I'd have had to pay a renderer to come and get his body.
I'm not saying anyone's pet
horse should go to a slaughter plant. What I'm saying is there are plenty of unwanted, unrideable, and just plain crazy horses out there who can do one last service by providing food. Why is that a bad thing?