Debate on Slaughtering Horses for Meat Heats up in Washington

Steps are being taken in the nation’s capital that could result in the lifting of a ban on slaughtering horses for human consumption.

The Dallas Morning News reported Friday that a House committee recently voted yes on a farm spending bill that includes legislation that would allow horses to be legally killed for food.

It’s been illegal to slaughter horses in the U.S. since 2007, when the use of federal money to inspect horse slaughter plants was banned.

There are now groups — including horse owners, who see slaughter as a cost-effective way of getting rid of unwanted and/or aging horses — lobbying for the ban to be reversed.

On the other side, animal rights groups say it’s not humane to slaughter companion animals such as horses for food.

One effort to overturn the ban is co-sponsored by 174 House members, although the bill has not been discussed at any hearings. In June, the powerful House Appropriations Committee voted down the ban on using federal inspectors for horse meat, 27-25.

Before the ban on horse meat, there were three plants that slaughtered and processed the meat in the U.S. — two in Texas and one in Illinois.

“To use tax dollars to put them through this cruelty is not appropriate,” Nancy Perry, senior vice president at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told the Dallas Morning News. “We don’t think that our horses should suffer.”

It was reported in May that President Donald Trump’s budget plan may lead to the U.S. government selling wild horses that have been captured to countries overseas that allow the slaughter of horses for their meat.

Several U.S. allies allow horse meat to be eaten, including Mexico and many western European nations.

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