A proposal in the Obama Administration’s 2014 budget would prohibit the funding of horsemeat inspection, essentially eliminating the possibility that horse slaughter—which has reportedly been banned since 2006—will resume in the United States. Language in the budget specifies that no federal funds may be used to pay the “salaries or expenses of personnel” to inspect horses slaughtered for human consumption.
A ban on horse slaughter has been in place since 2006, but a rider that prevented the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from financing the inspection of horsemeat expired in 2011. According to a news source, no horse slaughter facilities currently operate in the United States, but the USDA reportedly says it has recently received several applications to open slaughtering facilities.
Animal and horse advocates claim that horse slaughter is cruel and poses serious food safety issues because horses are sometimes dosed with drugs that are allegedly harmful to humans. President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States Wayne Pacelle said, “It’s a fool’s errand to inspect tainted horse meat, and this Administration is wise to reject that path and to embrace the idea, even indirectly, that horses belong in the stable and not on the table.”
Others, including A. Blair Dunn, a lawyer who represents the owners of a New Mexico facility that was apparently hoping to start processing horses this summer, noted that the budget item was not likely to become law. “I know of a few members of Congress who are not likely to let it remain in the budget,” Dunn reportedly told a news source. “All this means is more debate and more hardship for my clients because they’ve made these investments to modify their plant already.” See Humanesociety.org., April 10, 2013; The New York Times, April 10, 2013.