Horse Slaughter Off The Menu Once More

The Obama administration has included a proposal in its 2014 budget that would effectively ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption. Technically, the proposal would prevent money from being spent on inspection of horse slaughtering facilities. Without inspections, facilities could not legally operate.

Read more in the New York Times. The Obama administration oversaw the publishing of a Government Accountability Report in June 2011 that suggested that a 2007 ban on federal funding for horse meat plants had had bad consequences for equine welfare, as American horses were instead shipped long distance to Mexicican or Canadian abattoirs. Preparations began to resume equine slaughter in the US, only to run into this doozy. One has to wonder if the European horse meat scandal has had a bearing on this new move, as it revealed just how complicated and prone to abuse the slaughter of horses can be. Reopening industrial horse slaughter would of course require an investment in monitoring and testing, made more complex by the fact that few horses are raised for meat, and the records concerning their medication intake are too easily manipulated or ignored. And 2013 is not the time for increasing government spending.

Meanwhile, the aftermath of the European episode trundles on. Meatbox, the Welsh processor linked to the scandal, has been closed by the FSA. The Red Lion abattoir in Nantwich, where gross abuse of horses was filmed, has also been shut down. It had also been accused of falsifying horses’ documents to allow more animals into the food chain. The FSA say this closure is not linked to the latter.

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