The GAO, an independent arm of Congress, found that since Congress enacted the ban in 2007, exports of horses to Mexico and Canada for processing have increased 660 percent and 148 percent, respectively. "Nearly the same number," almost 138,000, went to slaughter in those countries in 2010 as were slaughtered before U.S. slaughter ended, the report said.
However, because of transportation costs and lower prices in Mexico, "the plant closings were also responsible for an 8 to 21 percent decline in market prices for low- and medium- priced horses, or those that are most likely to be brought to slaughter," writes Pat Raia of theHorse.com.
The GAO noted increased reports of neglect and abuse, and said "State, local, tribal, and horse industry officials generally attributed these increases in neglect and abandonments to cessation of domestic slaughter and the economic downturn," Raia reports. For a summary of the report, click here. For a PDF of the full report, go here.
The House Appropriations Committee voted narrowly to continue the ban, and an amendment to repeal it was debated but withdrawn in the full House last week. For the Congressional Record transcript of the debate on the issue, from United Horsemen, click here.