Horses could be butchered in the U.S. for human consumption within A MONTH

From Associated Press. Nov 30.

Horses could be butchered in the U.S. for human consumption within A MONTH

Horses could soon be butchered in the U.S. for human consumption after Congress lifted a five-year-old ban on funding horse meat inspections.

Activists warn slaughterhouses, which must be inspected to operate, could now be up and running in as little as a month.

In 2006, slaughter opponents pushed a measure to stop funding for horse meat inspections through Congress.

Since the law requires that meat must be inspected before being used as food, horse slaughter operations were forced to shut down.

But Congress lifted the ban in a spending bill President Obama signed on November 18 to keep the government afloat until mid-December.

As a result, animal rights activists are warning that horse slaughterhouses will begin springing up in the next few months.

The bill did not specifically allocate funds to horse meat inspection, rather it is expected that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will source the funds from its budget – which already faces rigorous cuts.

The USDA said there are no slaughterhouses in the U.S. that butcher horses for human consumption, but if one were to open, it would conduct inspections to make sure federal laws were being followed.

Animal welfare activists have previously warned of massive public outcry in any town where a slaughterhouse may open.

‘If a plant came open in two weeks, I’d have enough money to fund it. I’ve got people who will put up $100,000.’

Dave Duquette, pro-slaughter group United Horsemen

‘If plants open up in Oklahoma or Nebraska, you’ll see controversy, litigation, legislative action and basically a very inhospitable environment to operate,’ predicted Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of The Humane Society of the United States.

‘Local opposition will emerge and you’ll have tremendous controversy over slaughtering Trigger and Mr. Ed.’

But pro-slaughter activists say the ban had unintended consequences, including an increase in neglect and the abandonment of horses.

They admit they are scrambling to get a plant going — possibly in Wyoming, North Dakota, Nebraska or Missouri.

Most of the meat would be shipped to countries in Europe and Asia, including France and Japan.

They estimate a slaughterhouse could open in 30 to 90 days with state approval and eventually as many as 200,000 horses a year could be slaughtered for human consumption.

Most of the meat would be shipped to countries in Europe and Asia, including France and Japan.

Dave Duquette, president of the nonprofit, pro-slaughter group United Horsemen, said no state or site has been picked yet but he’s lined up plenty of investors who have expressed interest in financing a processing plant.

‘I have personally probably five to 10 investors that I could call right now if I had a plant ready to go,’ said Duquette, who lives in Hermiston, Oregon.

‘If one plant came open in two weeks, I’d have enough money to fund it. I’ve got people who will put up $100,000.’

Sue Wallis, a Wyoming state lawmaker who’s the group’s vice president, said ranchers used to be able to sell horses that were too old or unfit for work to slaughterhouses but now they have to ship them to butchers in Canada and Mexico, where they fetch less than half the price.

The federal ban devastated ‘an entire sector of animal agriculture for purely sentimental and romantic notions,’ she said.

Federal lawmakers’ lifting of the ban on funding for horse meat inspections came about in part because of the recession, which struck just as slaughtering stopped.

A federal report issued in June found that local animal welfare organizations reported a spike in investigations for horse neglect and abandonment since 2007.

In Colorado, for example, data showed that investigations for horse neglect and abuse increased more than 60 per cent — from 975 in 2005 to almost 1,600 in 2009.

The report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office also determined that about 138,000 horses were transported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter in 2010, nearly the same number that were killed in the U.S. before the ban took effect in 2007. The U.S. has an estimated 9 million horses.

Cheri White Owl, founder of the nonprofit Horse Feathers Equine Rescue in Guthrie, Okla., said she’s seen more horse neglect during the recession. Her group is caring for 33 horses now and can’t accept more.

‘A lot of the situation is due to the economy,’ she said. ‘People deciding to pay their mortgage or keep their horse.’

But White Owl worries that if slaughterhouses open, owners will dump their unwanted animals there instead of looking for alternatives, such as animal sanctuaries.

Animal rights groups also argue that slaughtering is a messy, cruel process, and some say it would be kinder for owners to have their horses put to sleep by a veterinarian.

‘Euthanasia has always been an option,’ Pacelle said. But ‘if you acquire a horse, you should be a responsible owner and provide lifetime care’.

 

HORSE MEAT IN THE U.S.

  • Although there are reports of Americans dining on horse meat as recently as the 1980s, the practice is virtually non-existent in this country, where the animals are treated as beloved pets and iconic symbols of the West.
  • Restriction of horse meat has generally been dealt with on a state by state basis.
  • During World War II, for example, states including New Jersey allowed the meat due to the high price of beef. Butcher shops in Connecticut and Portland have made horse meat a central feature as recently as the 1970s.
  • But in 1998, California outlawed the human consumption of horses. More than a dozen states tightly regulate the sale of horse meat.
  • Up until the ban in 2007, a few slaughterhouses existed to export horse meat and to sell meat to zoos.
  • The last slaughterhouse to close was in Dekalb, Illinois by a court order in 2007.
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One Response to Horses could be butchered in the U.S. for human consumption within A MONTH

  1. Go to the first link, and find your Congressional reps… URGE them to SUPPORT S. 1176 and H.R. 2966, sister bills which would make it ILLEGAL to slaughter horses for human consumption, or to TRANSPORT them for the same purpose. These bills are ACTIVE in the 112th Congress…way past the petition stage! We have bills ACTIVE and in COMMITTEE!!

    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/findyourreps.xpd
    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:S.1176:
    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.2966:

    And please…SHARE the INFO!

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