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Lifting Of Horse Slaughter And Inspections May Set Off Major Controversy
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Lifting Of Horse Slaughter And Inspections May Set Off Major Controversy

The government spending bill meant to keep the country floating at least until the middle of December had an interesting addition to it, one that many people may not have been aware of. That addition was the end to a five year ban on horse meat inspections and may pave the way to renewed horse slaughter in the United States. Activists worry that the new slaughterhouses could be up and running as quickly as a month.

Horse meat funding was cut in Congress in 2006 after several efforts to get an outright ban passed did not work out. But, just because the ban was lifted does not mean that there will be a sudden jump in horse slaughter houses opening in the US because of a lack of funding for inspections. Horse meat would still have to be inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture which would have to find money in its existing budget to use. That agency is expecting to see budget cuts as the government works to curb some of its out of control spending.

A representative for the USDA said that the last of the US horse slaughterhouses closed in 2007.

Dave Duquette, the President of the group United Horsemen, a pro-slaughter, non-profit group has said that there are several investors that are willing to back a slaughterhouse if a location could be found. Several states have been discussed as potential locations for a slaughterhouse including Wyoming, North Dakota, Nebraska and Missouri. Duquette also said that while previous slaughterhouses were foreign owned, a new one would be owned by Americans.

Currently, horses that are old or unfit to work are sent to slaughter in either Canada or Mexico with the rancher losing out on much of the money he would have earned on that horse with a US based slaughterhouse. A number of animal rights groups, including PETA have reluctantly agreed that having a regulated slaughterhouse in the US is better than the alternatives. Animal neglect and cruelty, including abandonment has increased since the recession struck. The ASPCA has reported that their case loads and investigations have increased by over 60%.

Horse meat would not be likely to be sold in the United States, instead, it would be shipped to other countries as it was in the past. California and Illinois have an outright ban on horse meat for sale to humans and more than a dozen states have strict rules. A number of lawmakers are choosing sides on the debate, already.


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