Way cleared for horse slaughter to resume in US after 5-year ban
Congress has restored funding for US inspectors to oversee horse slaughter, paving the way for slaughter and processing to resume for the first time since 2006. Animal rights groups are livid.
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"We can't monitor horse slaughter in a plant in Mexico or Canada … [a]nd so we don't know if it's being done humanely or not because the USDA obviously doesn't have any jurisdiction there,” Rep. Jack Kingston (R) of Georgia, who was instrumental in the reinstatement, told the Oklahoman newspaper's Sonya Colberg and Chris Casteel. “Along the way, these horses are having a rough transit. USDA does not have the jurisdiction over how the animals are treated along the way."Skip to next paragraph
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The poor economy has been tough on horse owners and the animals themselves, leading to what Representative Kingston calls an "unanticipated problem with horse neglect and abandonment.” In Colorado alone, horse abandonment "increased 60 percent from 975 in 2005 to 1,588 in 2009," the GAO report stated.
What's more, The New York Times reports that the law forced many breeders and owners to go out of business because their inability to sell horses for meat "removed the floor" for prices while forcing owners to shoulder costs for euthanizing and disposing of unwanted horses. Before the ban, the horse slaughter business generated some $65 million in revenues a year.
“When they closed the plants, that put more of a hardship on our horses than the people who wanted to stop the slaughter can imagine,” said John Schoneberg, a Nebraska horse breeder, according to the Times report.
Nevertheless, animal rights activists are furious over the decision to bring back horse processing plants in the US. They say that ending the de facto ban will challenge the ethics of horse ownership and undermine the sanctity of the unique bond between humans and horses.
“They're signing the death sentence for thousands of our American horses. The wild mustangs in Oklahoma and every horse in Oklahoma is at risk,” Oklahoma City horse advocate Stephanie Graham told the Oklahoman. “Horses are going to die and it's going to be brutal.”
IN PICTURES: When animals escape