Horses can now be slaughtered for horse meat after a lift from a Congress ban that was first placed in 2006. The $62 million-a-year slaughter industry could be running in as little as 30 to 90 days. President Barack Obama signed the agriculture spending bill on November 18, 2011 which reversed the ban of horse slaughtering for meat. Horses are viewed as pets in the United States, so states have strict laws against consumption of the meat and slaughtering. The horse slaughter ban could change that.
United States doesn’t have the market for human consumption of horse meat, but overseas like Europe, Asia, France and Japan it’s considered a delicacy. Although, the U.S. has been known to use horse meat to feed zoo animals because it’s a good source of protein.
The agriculture spending bill is thought to help the animals rather hurt them. The Government Accountability Office reported in June that “More horses were left abandoned when owners could no longer afford to keep them or use them for work; owners who wanted to sell their horses for slaughter were forced to have them shipped to Canada or Mexico, where slaughtering is legal; and horse prices became depressed in the United States.”
The GOA also reported that data shows that investigations in Colorado for horse neglect and abuse increased more than 60 percent, from 975 in 2005 to almost 1,600 in 2009. The U.S. Government Accountability Office also determined that about 138,000 horses were transported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter in 2010, almost the same number that were killed in the U.S. before the ban. The U.S. has an estimated 9 million horses.
The Humane Society and other groups think a renewed interest in the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011, will help ban the interstate transport and live export of horses for slaughter for human consumption. The Equine Welfare Alliance said in a report, “The GAO has a reputation for objective and thorough research and fair reporting. Every indication is that this standard was abandoned in the compilation of this report, and that the result is little short of a propaganda tool for horse slaughter interests.”
Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of The Humane Society of the United States, told the Associated Press in a statement, “If plants open up in Oklahoma or Nebraska, you’ll see controversy, litigation, legislative action and basically a very inhospitable environment to operate. Local opposition will emerge and you’ll have tremendous controversy over slaughtering Trigger and Mr. Ed. Euthanasia has always been an option, but if you acquire a horse, you should be a responsible owner and provide lifetime care.”
The founder of a nonprofit company, Horse Feathers Equine Rescue in Oklahoma said in a statement to CBS News, “A lot of the situations are due to the economy. People deciding to pay their mortgage or keep their horse.”
The USDA said Tuesday in a statement that as of right now there are no horse slaughterhouses in the U.S., but once one does open, they will conduct inspections and make sure they are following federal laws.
CNN reported on the law lifted to ban horse slaughter:
(WARNING! This Video contains some Graphic Content. Viewer Discretion is Advised!)
- Horse meat production may restart, activists say (cbsnews.com)