Part of a conversation with a European friend, who eats horse meat:
While I agree that horses need to be killed humanely before they're worked to death — and that the rules in the 19th century that made that possible had a humane base — is that still a problem in a day when they're seldom used for work animals?
Horses relate to us as herd members. Then again, people eat dogs in Vietnam. "Dragon and tiger stew" is a Chinese dish for longevity. It's made of snakes and cats.
I think the best argument is hygiene; horses are huge hunks of meat that have to be dealt with somehow at the ends of their lives. And sick, overworked, and frightened animals are bad for your dining health.
Horses used to let us ride them into battle and to death because they trusted us as herd leaders. I suppose a gentle killing by a concerned owner or a trained butcher isn't different.
Yes, I like horse meat. Hell, I like any meat. I'm an all-around carnivore. I just can't kill them myself. Which is why people originally had butchers — somehow it felt like a sin to kill something that had eaten from your hand. Wild meat took its chances and often got away – it was natural. Killing your own cow or pig needed to be done by someone outside the family circle.
A friend of mine talked of a milk cow that lived 14 years, long after she'd stopped giving milk, because by then she was just part of the family. In a good society, there is enough food for everybody, easily, even for the animals. We humans just construct bad social organization.