Let me put forward a comparison in the abstract.
On the one hand: being complicit in treating an animal with horrendous cruelty throughout his or her existence, having him or her killed long before he or she has had a chance to live a full life, and then eating his or her dead flesh.
On the other hand: allowing an animal to live a happy and cruelty-free existence; having him or her killed only when he or she has grown old and weak, and then eating his or her dead flesh.
The vast majority of the meat from cows, pigs, chickens and other birds that humans eat nowadays falls into the first category; it is the product of the cruelties of "intensive farming."
The vast majority of the horse meat that humans eat nowadays (in Europe and in many other parts of the world) falls into the second category; the horses are killed for meat only at the end of more-or-less happy lives. Yet it is the thought that humans might be eating their dead flesh that brings widespread outrage.
This comparison is not meant as a defense of the practice of eating horse meat. Quite the opposite.
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