Friday, April 12, 2013

Obama budget would bar use of federal money for inspection of horse slaughterhouses

The Obama administration has come out against re-establishment of horse slaughter in the U.S., through the president's proposed budget for the Department of Agriculture, which would bar spending of money on inspection of horsemeat processing plants. While there is no market for horsemeat in the U.S., there is in Japan and Europe, but only with government inspection. The inductry has moved to Canada and Mexico.

"The proposal was greeted enthusiastically by horse lovers and animal advocacy groups," Stephanie Strom reports for The New York Times. "But it was met with dismay by those who have been working to get slaughtering facilities up and running again." The budget means the issue will again be decided by Congress.

Led by Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., Congress banned inspections for horse slaughterhouses in 2007, but reversed itself in 2011, after a study suggested that the ban had worsened the unwanted-horse crisis by taking the bottom out of the market. "The issue became prickly this year, after Ikea, Nestlé and other food companies found traces of horse meat mixed in with ground beef in products sold in Europe," Strom writes. Valley Meat Co. of New Mexico has sued the department over delays in approval of its application for inspection.

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