May 07 2013

GlobalPost: US to open first horse slaughter houses since 2007

Americans don’t want to eat horse meat and Congress is trying to forbid its sale and export. Yet for the first time since 2007, new horse slaughterhouses are set to open in the United States.

While Europe has been embroiled in a horse meat scandal since January, five new US slaughterhouses have filed requests for licensing at the Agriculture Department (USDA), a spokesman told AFP.

One of them, in the New Mexican city of Roswell in the US Southwest, could start processing a hundred horses a day starting as early as this month.

“Everything is completed and ready to go,” said lawyer Blair Dunn, who represents owner Ricardo De Los Santos. According to Dunn, the USDA has confirmed the plant has passed inspection and that final authorization should come through within a matter of days.

The meat will be exported, mainly to Japan and to Europe, where controversy has erupted over products labeled as beef containing horse meat, but where horse meat nevertheless has a market.

But the future of the plant and others like it is far from assured, with animal protection groups and their allies in Congress trying to pass laws banning horse meat production.

Lawsuits and votes in Congress led to the closure of the last three horse slaughterhouses between 2007 and 2011. However, lawmakers later failed to renew the ban, a lapse some now want to correct.

“Horses are not bred for human consumption — they’re companion animals, similar to dogs or cats,” said Patrick Meehan, a Republican from Pennsylvania who has proposed a complete ban on the industry in the House of Representatives.

“Not only is it inhumane, it’s unsafe: over the course of their lives, horses are regularly treated with drugs that are potentially toxic to humans if ingested,” he told AFP over email.

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One response so far

One Response to “GlobalPost: US to open first horse slaughter houses since 2007”

  1. TERRI RUSSELLon 07 May 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Thank you Congressman Meehan. With all of the corruption in the meat industry and the Ag gag bills, i like so many Americans am a little concerned about my food being safe to eat. I am sure that the USDA is doing the best that it can but i also realize that it is bound to obey the law. However i do not understand how the Roswell plant owner got away with lying on two of his applications for his horse slaughter plant, wrapped his way through violations with his castle slaughter operation. I know he sued the USDA which i had always been led to believe couldn’t be done. So why can he get licensing? All of the items mentioned are enough to end any consideration for permit or license to operate. This is where i must turn to Congress to right their wrong doing and pass that bill to safeguard our food and protect our horses and owners from the slaughter. Put it all together and it will sink the meat market completely. I cannot dresser how any of our representatives in congresses would want to be held responsible for the deaths of people aside from wars. The blood is on their hands if they stop the bills from passing. It’s just unconscionable that they would choose to allow this.