This week, a budget bill that will effectively ban horse slaughter by cutting funding for inspections will be up for a vote in Congress.
The budget bill was released Monday night. Should the bill pass without changes, lawsuits that have constantly prevented the opening of New Mexico horse slaughterhouses could remain unsettled. Congress cut funding for horse slaughterhouses inspectors in 2006 but reinstated funding four years later in 2011.
Animal rights advocates who oppose attempts to re-open domestic horse slaughterhouses applauded the bill saying Americans do not want to see tax money used on the “disreputable horse slaughter industry.”
President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States argued that since “We don’t have dog and cat slaughter plants,” Americans shouldn’t have horse slaughterhouses either. Other animal rights groups have joined the Obama administration in lobbying for the ban on horse slaughter in the U.S. as well.
In December of last year, New Mexico prosecutor Gary King, filed a lawsuit seeking to block a new slaughter plant from being opened. King’s application for a temporary injunction against the opening of Valley Meat Co. will be decided on Friday.
Supporters of slaughter plants, however, say that domestic slaughter is a more humane way to deal with abandoned and abused horses. Currently, such horses are shipped to Canada and Mexico and are slaughtered there anyway.
Native American tribes are among the strong proponents who contend that the exploding number of undomesticated horses is destroying their fields. Blair Dunn, a Valley Meat Co. attorney says, “It is certainly disappointing that Congress is returning to a failed policy at the urging of special interest groups while failing to provide for an alternative.” According to Dunn, the ban will lead to a denial in access to employment opportunities created by the export market and there will be more waste and devastation of the rangelands.
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