Monday, February 01, 2010

As states seek to revive horse slaughter, for a floor in the market, a bill in Congress would ban it

We've been following the economic trouble in the horse industry closely, and one common factor cited in the trouble is the closing of the last U.S. horse slaughtering facility, which removed the floor from horse prices. Now some states are considering legislation to reopen slaughter facilities, even as some U.S. lawmakers move to ban the sale of horse meat. In 2006, Congress barred any federal funds from being spent by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on inspecting the nation's three remaining horse slaughtering plants, one factor that led to their eventual closure.

Advocates of horse slaughtering say plants represent a better option for desperate horse owners who have taken drastic measures in disposing of their unwanted horses since the last plant closed. "It is more humane to dispose of old and unwanted horses in this manner than to just abandon them, dumping them out randomly, with no food, water or protection from the weather, not to mention the hazards of hitting a 1,000-pound abandoned horse standing in the middle of the road," Phil Mills of Zanesville, Ohio, argues in a letter to the editor in the Times-Record.

In Missouri where the ban has "killed the horse industry," says veterinarian Jim Joyce, right, Republican state Rep. Jim Viebrock is sponsoring legislation "aimed at bypassing a federal ban on meat inspectors working in horse slaughtering plants by getting processors to pay for the inspections," Chad Livengood reports for the Springfield News Leader. Even if the bill makes it through the legislature, USDA may not honor the attempt to circumvent the law, Livengood writes. "That is the big hurdle," Viebrock told him. "We'll find out how powerful the animal rights lobby really is if (USDA allows) it." (Read more) (News-Leader photo by Bob Linder)

In April the Illinois legislature voted down a bill that would have authorized horse slaughtering in that state, but Republican state Rep. Jim Sacia has submitted a new bill. Meanwhile, foreign investors considering Hardin, Mont., for a horse-slaughtering plant recently toured the area looking for potential sites, Tom Lutey of the Billings Gazette reports. The tour was arranged by Republican Rep. Ed Butcher, "author of a 2009 state law promoting construction of a horse slaughter facility."

While several states continue to explore horse slaughtering, national lawmakers have started a push to permanently ban the practice with the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, Lutey reports. The bill, which is endorsed by the Humane Society of the U.S., would "make marketing horse flesh for human consumption punishable by up to three years in prison." The Senate version is sponsored by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and the House version is sponsored by Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky. (Read more)

2 comments: said...

Legalized horse slaughter is NOT the answer for the depressed prices in the horse market.

Breeding fewer and more quality foals IS.

Banning horse slaughter did not destroy the horse industry-- indiscriminate overbreeding in a depressed ecomony is what is did that.

Anonymous said...

If Congress is going ban horse slaughter, then they need to provide places to take horses that people can no longer care for. Horses are starving to death in MO, or being turned loose in the national forests and other areas. Sale barn owners h ave come to work to find their barns full of horses that owners have brought in under cover of darkness.
Breed registries need to tighten up on indistricriminate breeding, perhaps requiring most male horses be gelded and mares that do not meet breed standards be spayed in order to remain registered and eligibile for breed shows.