It's an odd window into the vagaries of human behavior: why we revere certain animals and ban their killing while turning our backs on others that live only to provide us with meat.
The raising of animals for slaughter and the killing process itself is largely ignored by consumers. But let a story about cruelty or killing of dogs or cats hit the news, and people are outraged. There is little difference in the intelligence and sensitivity of dogs, horses or cows and pigs. We just believe some animals should be protected, even coddled, while we consider others merely meat.
The ongoing debate over the fate of the West's wild-horse herds is a case in point. The slaughter of horses was banned by Congress in 2006. The ban was lifted in 2011. Now legal horse slaughterhouses are the targets of protests by people who say wild horses, indeed all horses, should live out their natural lives somehow, somewhere.