Horse Slaughter in US for Human Consumption
 By Saferaphus   •   17th Feb 2016   •   753 views   •   0 comments
Horse Slaughter in US for Human Consumption

You get the feeling that despite legislation that should have wiped out horse slaughter in the U.S., the issue never really seems to go away. Most of you know that back in 2007 rules were changed so that there was no funding for slaughter plants to have horses inspected by government inspectors. This made it impossible (legally) to slaughter horses for human consumption. This hasnít stopped various businesses from trying to find their way around the laws meant to stop them.

Plants have been trying to reopen their doors since the legislation passed in 2007 but with little success. The last horse processing plants in Illinois and Texas closed but, in 2011 plants in New Mexico and other states tried to take advantage of unclear wording in an appropriations bill that allowed funding for inspectors. In 2013, the New Mexico plant, Valley Meats Co. LLC, received a permit to start processing horses.

The lashback from animal activists was swift, with lawsuits against the USDA Food Safety Inspection Services for allowing the permit to be issued in the first place. The nonprofit organization, Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) was at the forefront of efforts, along with local citizens and the state of NM.

Related: 100,000 Horses Transported To Canada For Slaughter
Related: Could You Ever Eat Horse Meat

Valley Meatís planned to convert its existing cattle processing plant to handle horses. Private citizens objected, claiming that doing so would jeopardize their standard of living. Valley Meat has a long history of poor environmental responsibility and animal welfare standards. Improper disposal of carcasses and waste water were two of their major sins. They have, during their time in operation gathered thousands of violations concerning the environment. For three years, the company ran a cattle slaughtering plant without permission to properly deal with contaminated water, bypassing any environmental laws.

Now a court order, issued on February 4 by a district judge, permanently ends any efforts to open or reopen horse slaughter facilities by any company or person associated with Valley Meats. While itís possible that an entity associated with Valley Meats, of which there are several, may try to reopen the case, itís unlikely.

The court order does not prevent from an entirely different company from trying to process horses for human consumption. But, the order sets a useful precedent for not only New Mexico but other states. The health, safety and environmental laws are similar in other states.

The court order has not been greeted with whole hearted approval. Many argue that disallowing horse slaughter deprives the horse industry of a safe and humane way of disposing of unwanted horses. Rather than being slaughtered and processed on home soil, U.S. horses are being shipped, often in inhumane conditions, to plants in Canada and Mexico. Others are being dumped in rural areas to fend for themselves.

Congress enacted the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R.1942/S. 1214) in In April 2015, intended to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the United States and the export of horses for human consumption. Until this act is in place horses can still be shipped out of the country, destined for processing.

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