US Horse Slaughter Ban Lifted: Horse Meat Burgers on the Way

Michael Söze - Author
By

Jun. 16 2013, Updated 12:46 a.m. ET

Ever been hungry enough to eat a horse? Well now you may legally be able to – literally.

Horse slaughter is scheduled to restart in the United States, after President Barack Obama signed a bill Nov. 18 reinstating federal funding for Department of Agriculture inspection of horse meat for human consumption and ending a 5-year-old ban.

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“They’re signing the death sentence for thousands of our American horses. The wild mustangs in Oklahoma and every horse in Oklahoma is at risk,” Stephanie Graham, an Oklahoma City activist, told The Oklahoman newspaper. “Horses are going to die and it’s going to be brutal.”

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Despite the negative feedback the slaughter reinstatement has received from equine lovers, proponents of the bill say the initial ban had unintended consequences, including an increase in neglect and the abandonment of horses, price decreases and a jump in horse exports for overseas slaughter.

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“Horse welfare in the United States has generally declined since 2007, as evidenced by a reported increase in horse abandonments and an increase in investigations for horse abuse and neglect,” a report from the Government Accountability Office noted. “The extent of the decline is unknown due to a lack of comprehensive, national data, but state officials attributed the decline in horse welfare to many factors, but primarily to the cessation of domestic slaughter and the U.S. economic downturn.”

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According to a pro-slaughter group called United Horsemen, meat processors are now considering opening facilities in at least a half-dozen states, including Georgia, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oregon, Wyoming, Montana, and possibly Idaho.

The horsemen estimate the slaughterhouses could open in as little as 30 to 90 days.

The question has to be asked: Would you eat a horse burger?

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