Congress clears way for horse slaughter in US - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Congress clears way for horse slaughter in US

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Horses could soon be butchered in the US for human consumption.  That's because Congress has lifted a five-year-old ban on funding horse meat inspections, and it was signed into law by President Obama as part of a spending bill.  While the move isn't easy for horse lovers to stomach, it's one they say could ultimately help a growing problem.

"They're calm and sweet and take good care of the kids when they ride.  So they really dedicate their hearts to the jobs they do," Marilyn Moore, president of ASPIRE Therapeutic Riding Program in Waterloo said.

But unfortunately, love isn't enough to keep horses alive.  The down economy has dropped the bottom out of the horse market, allowing anyone to pick up a horse for little to no money.  But bargain horses are still pricey to feed and care for.  And when owners can't cover the costs, horses suffer.

"If we're in a situation that we can't afford to feed ourselves, the animals are going to go first.  And they're actually starving to death," Moore said.

So while it's tough to swallow, even some horse lovers don't see the return of slaughtering as an altogether bad thing.

"If I had lots of money, I would save them all.  But you can't save them all.  So you have figure out what's the lesser of two evils," said Moore.

Moore just hopes the USDA ensures the process is regulated and done as humanely as possible.

"I think you'll see a slaughter plant open within 60 days.  And I believe that everybody we know that's involved in the industry or could be involved are going to do it right," said David Duquette, president of United Horseman.

It's new business that could provide an economic boost to the country, while possibly improving the market for the animals, which horse lovers hope will drop the rate of animal abuse.

The USDA will be required to inspect any plants that want to begin processing horse meat.  And while there's only a very small number of people in the US who eat horse meat, it is widely eaten in many parts of Europe and Asia.  Experts say horse meat would also be very marketable to pet food manufacturers.

 

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