Slaughtering Horses in Roswell: Preliminary Notes

It is no longer so early in the year. 2013 is already a quarter of the way over. What do I have to show for it? Not much, I fear. The new project in mind, after figuring out how to pay my damn taxes, is to figure out how to get to Roswell and get in touch with the horse slaughterers, the de la Rosa family. Maybe a good preliminary step for that is to contact Stephanie Strom, the N.Y. Times reporter whose articles inspired me to think about going to New Mexico and watch a legion of horses be marched to their deaths.

Another point in the story would involve getting through to the F.D.A., since their judgement about legal horse meat in the U.S. had been the impetus for the De la Rosas to say they were in the city best known for an alleged alien saucer landing in the late ‘40s and were ready to chop up thoroughbreds for human consumption. Seems like an interesting trip.

“Input” personalities like me find it easier to import a lot of information and more difficult to actually bring it out; unless to themselves, in which case it is very simple. You would be surprised to learn that many sane journalists talk to themselves and this is totally okay, expected even. But if we could get back to the topic… In the last several weeks, the horsemeat freakout has grabbed attention, esp. in Europe, whose denizens are more tolerant of the practice of dismembering appaloosas than we in the States are. Horses to some are pets, and to others beasts of burden. Yet they are held up to a higher level — unlike cows and hogs, which are killed by the millions and no one bats an eyelash. Who cares about the dirty pigs? After all, they are quite intelligent; cows are known to be empathetic. But that is no matter at all: line them up in cages, feed them antibiotics and industrial grain, drop the sharp knives. Delicious.

(A disclaimer should immediately follow here… all of the evidence to the contrary of it being more healthy, I eat meat and have only some moral compunction about it, occasionally.)

They say, after all, that hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue. No one seems to agree about what this means but they think it sounds good enough for an aphorism. Some historical background on Roswell is in order, which was only obliquely mentioned earlier: 66 years ago, according to popular legend at least, something that was described as an alien craft crashed into the scrub desert. An entire tourism industry mushroomed from that disputed night and that is the first thing people “know” about the place.

Having never been there myself, it was imperative to check it out in person. The only question, aside from where I would sleep, was how to get to the southwest all the way from the east. Flying seemed out of the question, and hopping freight rails is not generally advisable, but that left a few options: Greyhound bus or Amtrak. Given my tight pockets, the former would have to do, unless something else suddenly landed on my lap.

I’ve never seen an animal get killed in person before, I wrote in mid-March, about two months or so before the new “abbatoir” would be open for business. By the way, in a much simpler and more honest time this strange term of art for a house that only exists to slaughter animals was just called a “slaughterhouse.” So anyway, I am writing all of this now with my mind focused on the future, when all of the above will by then become the past instead of the present moment, in which I am mulling my moves and worrying, constantly. That is the biggest problem of all: anxiety. It is the root of everything dysfunctional, but that is neither here nor there in the scheme of things. What matters is that I will have to brace myself for the sight, and experience, of being witness to the deliberate, mechanized killing of sentient creatures; and to tell myself, They are doing their job and so am I.

Also considering what publications or outlets would be interested in a story that, quite simply, would be something like “Slaughtering Horses in Roswell.” Maybe Vice? Will get in touch with Wes soon; he’s their pitch guy.

Stay tuned while I get things in order, won’t you?


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