Food Product Design, Josh Long, April 17, 2013

images-13WASHINGTON—Horses symbolize the grandeur and mystique of the American West.

Their celebrated status may help explain the growing furor over requests before the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to authorize the slaughtering of the animals for human consumption.

In recent weeks, the White House and lawmakers in Congress have moved to oppose horse-slaughter plants. Bills introduced in the House and Senate would ban horse slaughter in the United States while President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget reportedly would have the same effect.

“The practice of horse slaughter for human consumption is revolting to me as a horse owner, but also as a consumer,” Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), a co-sponsor of the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, said in a statement forwarded to the organization, Americans Against Horse Slaughter. “Horses are not raised for human consumption, and they are frequently treated with drugs and chemicals that are toxic when ingested by humans.”

Others find the anti-horse slaughter movement in Washington equally repugnant. “The fact is there is no basis for them to single out one species out of all the species that we eat in this country — to pick out one and destroy the industry,” Sue Wallis, a Wyoming legislator, told the Casper Star-Tribune. “It just boggles my mind.”

Although there are no U.S. horse slaughter facilities operating today, USDA has confirmed it has received at least six applications, according to The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Bruce Wagner, a lawyer for Front Range Equine Rescue, an advocacy group that opposes horse slaughter, told The New York Times facilities in Iowa, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Rockville and Gallatin, Mo., have sought USDA approval.

Catherine Cochran, a spokeswoman with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), said Tuesday three of the six applicants are not currently working with FSIS towards a grant of inspection. USDA is not actively engaged with Oklahoma Meat Company, Tennessee-based Trail South LLC and Missouri-based Unified Equine LLC, she said.  Cochran explained the applications were either incomplete or the applicant has lost contact with the agency. FSIS is reviewing applications that have been filed by Missouri-based Rains Natural Meats, Iowa-based Responsible Transportation LLC and New Mexico-based Valley Meat Company LLC.

“USDA cannot predict at this time when a grant of inspection for any of the active applications might be approved,” she stated.

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AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • Marcia

    Should be equally unacceptable to send them on long transport to other countries. Some of the conditions in Mexico have been documented and are truly horrible.

    April 18, 2013
    • Judy Wendt

      The SAFE Act, when passed, will prohibit transporting American horses for the purpose of slaughter for human consumption.

      The 2014 budget – if and when passed with the defunding language intact – is just a short fix. Slimeball legislators can still add language for the USDA to fund horse slaughter in a subsequent budget bill or pull another fast and dirty trick with this budget. However, we are watching this time.

      April 18, 2013
  • LNorman

    Seems HSUS and Front Range Equine Rescue have sent letter of intent to sue USDA over Valley Meats application on an ESA (Endangered Species Act) violation. very clever.

    April 18, 2013
  • Amy Miller

    It would be so nice to not have any American horse slaughtered. It is also hard on people selling their horses, they become so afraid to sell their horse to anyone. I don’t want to even imagine what it is like for the horses who do make the trip to the border.

    April 18, 2013
  • To those that think the horse slaughter industry is being singled out unfairly, you have your rights. I do not want to eat horse, period!!! I wish no animal was killed for humans to eat. But somewhere in time this began. But horses were not one of those chosen to eat. Leave the horse where it belongs and that is not in someones “FREEZER”.

    April 18, 2013
  • Daryl

    there is a lot more to this then I thought and could still be put in a bill at the last minute to open the slaughter hourse in USA and get it passed like they have done before. It is horrible that human’s could even think of doing this to the horses, blows my mind, some think they are helpingthe public to get rid of unwanted horses in this mannor. Would they do this to their dog or cat? I bet no, but for us and our horses it’s okay, and a way to get rid of these wild horses, out of the government pockets to feed and care for . We need to more then watch these men places adn pray we are in time.

    April 18, 2013
    • Judy Wendt

      Cats & dogs, Daryl? Of course they would. Cats, dogs and horses are eaten in other parts of the world. We already have a puppy mill problem and many euthanized cats & dogs from kill shelters are rendered into pet food, called “digest.” When horses were first slaughtered in this country by the Ken L Ration company after WWII, it was for pet food. If they could persuade Americans to eat cats and/or dogs, like these meat mafia are trying to do with horses, they certainly would. It is all about the $$$. There is no emotion or recognition of pain and suffering involved – just like all slaughter.

      April 18, 2013
  • shirley mix


    April 18, 2013
  • I do not care how lean horse meat is, I have no desire to eat “horse meat”. I pray that the horse slaughter ban passes. Horsemeat now!! What will be next? And that our horses will not be shipped to other countries that eat horse meat!!!!!

    April 18, 2013


    April 19, 2013