There’s no question that people have wildly differing opinions about whether using horses as a source of meat is a good thing. For proponents of slaughter in the U.S., permitting such facilities would allow a humane and regulated way to increase the food supply without having the animals go through a stressful trip beforehand to an international slaughterhouse. For opponents, no kill method is seen as humane, and there is concern that too many healthy and workable horses would be disposed of.
So equine-driven communities should be paying close attention to the House Appropriations Committee’s recent vote to lift a ban on slaughtering horses at meat processing plants. The ban has long been a part of U.S. law for many years, enforced by blocking the USDA from providing inspectors at meat plants that would slaughter horses. No inspections, no meat supply — simple as that.
The latest version of the ban was an amendment tacked on to the annual USDA funding bill, which was signed by President Donald Trump in May. It is in effect through September, and the effort to renew the ban, which led to this week’s vote, was pushed by California Democrat Lucille Roybal-Allard.
While there are no horse slaughter facilities (at least not operating legally) in the U.S., both Canada and Mexico harvest horses for meat production.