Horse Slaughterhouses Could Be Undermined by New Spending Bill

Image: Horse Slaughterhouses Could Be Undermined by New Spending Bill Valley Meat Co, Roswell, New Mexico.

Wednesday, 15 Jan 2014 09:59 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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A spending bill released Monday could reinstate a national ban on horse slaughterhouses by cutting funding for inspections at equine facilities, garnering cheers from animal rights groups.

Lawsuits had temporarily delayed the opening of new horse slaughterhouses in New Mexico and Missouri, the Associated Press noted. 

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"Americans do not want to see scarce tax dollars used to oversee an inhumane, disreputable horse slaughter industry," Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive at The Humane Society of the United States, told the Associated Press. "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."

Supporters of the slaughterhouses say that domestic slaughter is the most humane way to handle abused and abandoned horses. Horses are currently taken to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.

The Associated Press reported some Native American tribes say that burgeoning horse populations are destroying their rangelands.

"It is certainly disappointing that Congress is returning to a failed policy at the urging of special interest groups while failing to provide for an alternative," Blair Dunn, an attorney for Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, N.M., and Rains Natural Meats in Gallatin, Mo., said. "The result is more waste and devastation of the range and the denial of access to an export market that would have created jobs and positive economic impacts to rural agriculture communities that desperately need these opportunities."

Some animal rights groups say that the spending bill is not enough, calling for Congress to pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, which would prevent the shipping of animals to other countries for slaughter. The bill has been struck down in committee since 2011. 

"They are forced to endure an agonizing transport, many times without food or water and cramped into overcrowded trailers," according to a statement on the Americans Against Horse Slaughter website. "They are then brutally butchered while experiencing fear and pain. (The bill) would establish a permanent ban on horse slaughter and the transportation of horses to slaughter for human consumption." 

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