Congress Blocks Horse Slaughter for Meat

Categories: Wake Up Call

T M Tonmoy Islam/Flickr
Don't worry, horses, you're safe -- for now.
Last year, we told you that a horse slaughterhouse in New Mexico was working to open its doors and begin processing (read: killing) horses for human consumption. Valley Meat Company, located in southern New Mexico, had been trying to get up and running since 2011 when Congress effectively lifted a ban on horse slaughter.

Last week, Congress ensured that the plant and others would not being opening anytime soon. On Friday, President Obama signed a budget measure that prevented federal money from being spent on horse slaughterhouse inspections.

See also: First Horse Slaughterhouse in the United States to Open Soon

The measure provided temporary funding for the U.S. government (good job, Congress) but blocks the U.S. Department of Agriculture from spending money on the inspection of horse meat. This move effectively reinstates the ban that forced all horse slaughterhouses to close in 2007.

On the downside, the legislation only bans the practice through September. After which time the measure could be extended "in the event of so-called continuing resolutions that keep the government's spending on autopilot," according to the Chicago Tribune.

Animal rights proponents argue that horse slaughter plants are inhumane.

"Americans do not want to see scarce tax dollars used to oversee an inhumane, disreputable horse-slaughter industry," Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society says in a press release. "We don't have dog and cat slaughter plants in the U.S. catering to small markets overseas, and we shouldn't have horse-slaughter operations for that purpose, either."

But others -- including Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) -- argue that horse-slaughtering plants are a practical way to deal with old and abandoned horses.

"Without these facilities, aging horses are often neglected or forced to endure cruel conditions as they are transported to processing facilities across the border," Inhofe wrote in a release. "This provision is counterproductive to what animal rights activists are hoping to achieve."

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So broke horse owners should just be allowed to abandon their horses in the desert and other fragile environments to wreak havoc once they can't afford to feed them anymore? That sounds like a fantastic use of resources.


Horse slaughter should be an option for the horse owners who don't have a problem with the horse they own to be recycled into a food product, or fed to zoo animals, rather than be buried in the ground or recycled by rendering. Any business can be either well-run or poorly run; good management with strict enforcement of regulations should be adhered to in all animal slaughter facilities. 


The last three horse slaughter plants that were operational were shut down by their states -- two in Texas and one in Illinois. 

They were shut down for repeated environmental violations, and unpaid taxes and fines.

*The U.S. has approximately 10 million horses, and historically only 1% end up going to slaughter annually. 

FACTS on horse slaughter:

*The average age of a slaughter horse is 4 to 6 years old. 

*Not old or sick, 92.3% are in good to excellent condition with no behavioral problems according to a USDA study. 

*Only 4% of a horses slaughtered are over 9 years old. 

*In a poll by the prestigious Lake Research Partners, 80% of Americans say no to horse slaughter.


But others -- including Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) -- argue that horse-slaughtering plants are a practical way to deal with old and abandoned horses. Another clueless republicon. Hey Inhofe if you had checked with the USDA you would have found out that the average age of a horse at slaughter is around 7.   If this rep want to add old sick animals to the food chain does also promote eating old sick cows? For the abandoned horses prosecute the criminals that abandoned them.


@hgss If they were smart they would have planed for such an event. If you can not support all aspects of horse ownership maybe you should not own a horse.  Horse owners that abandon their horses are criminals and need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.


More than 80% of American don't know the first thing about the repercussions of the horse slaughter ban. I suppose then that 80% want to be feeding an unwanted horse in their front lawn? What else do they suppose to do with them?


@hgss Do you have any supporting evidence for anything you say? What repercussions? You mean being held responsible for the animals they own. 

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