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Slaughtering horses for meat could return to US

6 years ago137 views Horse slaughterhouses could soon pop up in America's heartland as Congress has repealed a funding ban on inspections of equine meat for human consumption. Proponents see butchering as a productive solution to the nation's horse overpopulation issues. Cases of horse abandonment and neglect are on the rise, with over 1500 horses abandoned in the state of Colorado alone in 2009, a 63% increase compared to three years prior. Ranchers have exported many excess horses for butchering--138,000 in total last year--but Wyoming state legislator Sue Wallis says the returns on the foreign market are low. Butchering horses domestically would bode better financially, and also allow for greater oversight of how they are killed, to the reserved approval of some humane groups. Detractors claim any economic benefit of slaughtering horses in the US is offset by the cost of new inspections, which could reportedly cost between $3 and $5 million of taxpayer money. Then, of course, there are those who oppose the killing of animals altogether. Horses in particular occupy a special place in the hearts of many Americans, as they have come to embody the spirit of the old West and are the stars of many heartwarming cartoons and movies. The ban lift was part of a larger spending bill that included provisions for the USDA, the government agency that oversees food safety. While an explicit ban on slaughtering horses for meat never materialized in Congress, a bill was passed in 2006 that forbade the funding of horse meat inspections. Since meat cannot be sold without first being inspected, the law essentially ended horse slaughtering in the United States. No new slaughterhouses have opened yet, but sources say a facility could begin operation within the next three months somewhere in the heartland, pending states approval. 

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