Horse Slaughter Ban Lifted: Horse Meat May Be Coming SoonPublished December 1, 2011
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As a passionate horse lover, I can hardly contain my outrage after learning yesterday that, in line with a new bill signed by President Obama, our beloved American horses soon may be butchered legally in the United States to be used as meat for human consumption.
The most recent threat to American horses can be attributed to a new bill which resulted in the horse slaughter ban being lifted. In spite of President Obama’s 2008 campaign promise to protect horses from this outrage, our President has gone back on his word by signing the new bill passed by Congress on November 15. With the five-year-old ban on horse slaughter lifted, horse slaughterhouses may begin to crop up once again in the United States (although none currently exist). Supposedly, the bill was passed (as part of a funds allocation effort) to keep the Government open and funded until mid-December.
While horse meat may in theory could be coming to a store near you, the lawmakers, in their haste to pass the bill, did not include funds that would be allocated to pay for horse meat inspectors. As a result, the USDA is left trying to find a way to pick up the tab in this department. With no funds allocated for this ever-important inspection step in the slaughter process (without inspectors meat couldn't be approved for sale), tax payers could find themselves picking up the bill, with annual costs of between three and five million dollars. So much for being cost effective!
Horse Slaughter Ban Lifted: A Long History of Debate
This most current bill marks yet another notch in the belt that is a long history of debate over horse slaughter.
In 2006, anti-horse slaughter proponents were able to successfully get legislation passed through Congress which effectively cut off all funding for horse meat inspections, even though legislation to ban all horse slaughter in general had previously failed. Without horse meat inspectors, the sale of horse meat for human consumption was banned, and without any way to profit the three remaining horse slaughterhouses in the United States were closed in 2007.
Pro-slaughter proponents, however, claim that the ban on horse slaughter inadvertently caused a huge rise in the number of abandoned and neglected horses.
Horse Slaughter Ban Lifted: The Aftermath
As a result of the ban being lifted, horse slaughter advocates are hurrying to get a plant opened within 30 to 90 days in either North Dakota, Wyoming, Missouri or Nebraska, if state approval is given.
Should this come to fruition, up to 200,000 horses a year could be slaughtered in the United States. While the majority of their meat would be shipped to foreign countries, including Europe, Asia and Japan, some of the horse meat could be served in the United States. Rep. Sue Wallis (R-Wyoming) is hoping that horse meat could be served in her state to prisoners and school children.
The Truth About Horse Slaughter, and the Horse Slaughter Ban Being Lifted
Horses have never been raised for meat; they have been raised as companion animals who perform countless services to mankind. And the initial preconceptions of horse slaughter, such as the idea that horses slaughtered for meat are being put down to end their suffering, are just not true.
According to Charmaine Jens, Public Relations Representative for Americans Against Horse Slaughter, the truth is that the majority of horses slaughtered for their meat are not the old, infirm, neglected horses that are no longer useful, a smoke-and-mirrors perception which has become one of the popular party-lines for those in support of horse slaughter.
These horses are purchased by “killer buyers” who work for the foreign-owned horse slaughter industry. Healthy horses bring the highest price per pound. Incredibly, The USDA Guidelines for Handling and Transporting Equines to Slaughter state that more than 92 percent of horses slaughtered are “in good to excellent condition.” Sadly, these slaughter victims are the horses that can be re-trained, re-homed and once again become a precious companion animal.
Horse Slaughter Ban Lifted: The Fight to End the Practice Continues
The fight to prevent this travesty from happening is far from over. Horse and animal lovers who abhor the idea of horses being slaughtered for meat for human consumption and want to help should contact their Congressman immediately, imploring them to co-sponsor Senate bill S.1176 and House bill 2966.
Do you support President Obama in his decision to sign the bill Congress passed? Leave a comment and share your opinion.