In the past 24 hours, I have received several messages from individuals asking me to help them start a campaign to stop a Philadelphia restaurant from serving horse meat. The restaurant, Monsu, claims to be adding horse to the menu in the near future.
Those who oppose this action either tend to be people who aren't vegan or people who are vegan, but think that the "toxins" in horse meat and the addition of another species to a menu somehow justifies the effort. As an ethical vegan, to me, a campaign against this restaurant could not make any less sense.
First of all, who cares if someone is eating a horse instead of a chicken or a cow? What's the difference? It's all morally indistinguishable and it's all wrong. It's wrong to use and kill animals, period. I could care less whether it be a horse, or a pig, or a dog, or a cat. So, why would I be outraged if someone ate horse instead of another animal?
If you truly wanted to make a case for "animal cruelty," with respect to the total number of animals killed, eating horse would actually be better than eating chicken. Chickens are much smaller, therefore, many more chickens must be killed to provide food for a menu than horses. So, if you really wanted to measure levels of atrocities, it would make more sense to get the smaller animals like chicken and fish off the menu.
Regarding adding more species to the menu, I don't see how this argument makes any sense at all. So what? Just because there are more animals to choose from does not mean that people are going to eat more food at each meal. They are simply opting to eat one animal versus another, a decision most people make at every meal. Adding more animals to the menu does not equal more animal food being consumed.
Also, would these same people who are making this argument go out and protest every restaurant that serves a new species of fish each day as part of a special menu? Of course, not. Or, would they protest a restaurant that started serving beef, if they didn't previously? I highly doubt that they would.
Let's also not forget how confusing these messages can be to the general public. If they see "animal rights" people protesting horse meat, the message they will receive is that horse meat is somehow bad, but eating cow or pig or chicken is completely fine. Is that really the message we want to send?
Honestly, what would make the most sense would be to encourage the restaurant to add vegan menu options in addition to the horse meat. At least that way, veganism is being promoted and when people order the vegan dish, they're not killing any animals instead of just switching from one animal to another.