My objection to eating horse is not based on emotion. It's based on the physiological differences between horses and cattle. Compared to cattle, horses are more reactive, they kick each other in close quarters, they are afraid of going into trailers at the best of times, and they have longer, more mobile necks that make it easier for them to avoid the stun gun. What is humane treatment for cattle is not necessarily humane treatment for horses.
People like to say that "meat is meat" but we don't train goats to hunt or get cats to pull carts. We treat animals differently because they ARE different, and that should include how they are slaughtered.
If I were in Iceland I would eat horse because they have better methods of slaughter there. North American methods just aren't good enough. They aren't good enough for pigs either which is why I don't eat them.
You apparently haven't dealt with cattle a great deal.
About the only thing that horses do that cows don't is bite (but horses have upper and lower teeth while cows only have lower teeth). But then cows will head butt and heaven help them if some have horns, because goring will also be a norm (something you never have to worry about with horses.....unless you found a unicorn
, but although mythical, they were more correctly more like a large goat than a true horse). I'm not sure where you got the image what cattle are like vs horses, but it's a bit flawed.
(I'm qualifying the following is with non feed lot livestock, since we kept all our cattle on grazing they didn't have a feed lot behavior)
I've never seen cattle load as easily as a horse. The reason we can usually
"force" cattle easier than horses is because in most
cases horses tend to be larger and more powerful that cattle (although you get a 2,000 lb bull with a bad attitude and I'd rather deal with an unruly 1,000 lb horse). You can still load a horse on a lead through 4' door. With an 8' opening we still had to force the cattle in by eliminating the ability to exit from behind so forward was their only option.
Of course you cut down on the risk of injury any animal is subjected to by having processing facilities close enough to cut down on travel time, so every state should have at least one or more depending on size. That would be the more humane thing.
If using a bullet, as long as the line of the trajectory passes through a point about half way between the eyes and the ears the result is the same. The concussion will knock them out and in most cases cause death. If the concussion does not kill them right then they'll die from the injury before they ever regain consciousness. I've never seen someone have a problem hitting the right spot. (note: do not shoot them between the eyes. It will just blow out the sinuses and might not knock them out).
Using a piston, while I've never actually seen that done on a horse, would be much the same except that it has a larger impact surface area. Meaning you have a greater variation of exactly where the impact is needed since as long as part of it is on the correct trajectory (from any area along the front or sides it will work) the result will be the same....knocked out by and usually killed by the concussion, but if not already killed will die before regaining consciousness. Of course with a piston you can also come from the top and that's a sure thing.
Yes, we raised stock and we did this enough to know with cows, hogs, goats, etc.... Of course I imaging it was different for the chickens since they usually got their neck wrung (hate cleaning poultry).
What we do or don't use an animal for has not bearing on it's value as a food item. In point of fact the animals that serve a purpose beyond their potential for food are the better choices. They're productiveness makes them a better choice. Of course in the case of cats you're lucky if 1 in 10 is actually useful for anything beyond killing birds and lizards (they're seldom much good at catching mice but are the most destructive of all animals in terms of damaging non pest wild life). In 20 years my grandparents had two that were any good. One eventually died of old age and the other (a "tom") after about 7 years sampled a chicken and decided that he liked it. A couple days later he got caught in the act and.....then my ferrets were all we used to keep out the pests. (unfortunately I was still in my teens and didn't yet know that cat tasted like rabbit....oh well)
But then you've established that you'll eat horse so long as it comes from Iceland, so it's still "meat is meat"
. You just want it to come from someplace else.