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Eating Horse Meat Could Soon Become Legal In The US

REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

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Henry Rodgers Senior Congressional Correspondent
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The House Appropriations Committee is set to debate a Department of the Interior appropriations bill Tuesday that could legalize eating wild horse meat.

Alabama Republican Rep. Robert Aderholt advocates ending the ban on horse meat inspection, saying that over 100,000 horses are exported from the U.S. for slaughter in Canada and Mexico every year. Aderholt explained that an American-regulated inspection program could result in more humane processing of the animals, according to a USA Today report.

The committee ended a ban on horse meat inspections, originally created by the Department of Agriculture, in a 25-27 vote in early June. The ban made horse slaughter operations illegal by not giving funding to federal horse meat inspectors.

Suzanne Roy, director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, raises concerns that the provision might be stripped out by another member of the committee, Utah Republican Rep. Chris Stewart. He says that the management of horses protected by the federal government should be taken care of by the state government, not the federal government.

The Senate considered lifting the ban on horse slaughter for human consumption in 2014, which would have opened the practice to a Missouri-based processing plant. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a warning in May to an acclaimed gourmet restaurant in Pittsburgh for serving horse tartare, which is raw horse meat mixed with vinegar chips and egg yolk. The meat came from Canada.

California Democratic Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard remains strongly opposed to the bill. She created an amendment that would have denied funding for a federal horse meat inspection program, saying, “We know unequivocally that horse slaughter is not humane and can’t be done humanely because of the unique biology of horses.”

Roybal-Allard believes horses are exposed to a variety of chemical substances that could make their meat a public health hazard. She added that slaughtering horses would bring little economic benefit, and could lead to a community with polluted waters and a “foul stench.” The representative also mentioned humane society inspection efforts that showed the disturbing treatment of horses, some of which remained “conscious during dismemberment.”

The Daily Caller News Foundation contacted Aderholt and Stewart’s offices, but received no comment in time for publication.

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