Tadlock Cowan Analyst in Natural Resources and Rural Development
In 2006, two Texas plants and one in Illinois slaughtered nearly 105,000 horses for human food, mainly for European and Asian consumers. In 2007, court action effectively closed the Texas plants, and a state ban in Illinois closed that plant. However, horses continue to be shipped to Mexico and Canada for slaughter, and several states have explored opening horse slaughtering facilities. Animal rights activists and advocates for horses continue to press Congress for a federal ban. Lawmakers have prohibited the use of funds or user fees for inspection of horses for human food in several years’ appropriations measures, including FY2010 (P.L. 111-80). Pending at the start of the second session of the 111th Congress were bills (H.R. 503, S. 727) that would have made it a crime to knowingly possess, ship, transport, sell, deliver, or receive any horse, carcass, or horse flesh intended for human consumption. The bills were referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, respectively, and no further action was taken. No bills concerning horse slaughter have been introduced in the first session of the 112th Congress.
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