Obama Makes Eating Horse Meat Legal Again
It seems that in these trying economic times, the answer to our prayers has finally been answered – we can eat horses again. Congress quietly lifted the ban on funding horsemeat inspections, which has been in effect for 5 years. Anti-slaughter activists were able to put a stop to horse slaughtering in 2006 but getting their bill to ban funding approved by congress. Various other attempts to ban slaughter were denied. After 5 years of quiet time for the slaughterhouses, President Obama signed a new spending bill on November 18. While the new bill did lift the ban, it did not provide any new money for inspections – a cost of between $3 million to $5 million that the opponents feared would fall on taxpayers’ shoulders. That responsibility however, lies with the US Department of Agriculture, who claim that while there are currently no slaughterhouses in the US, should one open, they would conduct inspections.
“The ongoing debate that is already growing heated feels like the plot of an animated children’s movie”
The last slaughterhouse was located in Illinois and closed in 2007 to the tune of threats from animal activist organizations. Needless to say, these organizations are not pleased at all by this new development. “If plants open up in Oklahoma or Nebraska, you’ll see controversy, litigation, legislative action and basically a very inhospitable environment to operate. Local opposition will emerge and you’ll have tremendous controversy over slaughtering Trigger and Mr. Ed” said Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of The Humane Society of the United States.
However, activists on the other side are much more optimistic and believe they can open a slaughterhouse in 30 to 90 days. They estimate that somewhere around 200,000 horses would be killed for human consumption, but most of the meat would be shipped to Europe and Asia where it is considered a delicatessen. “I have personally probably five to 10 investors that I could call right now if I had a plant ready to go,” said Dave Duquette the president of United Horse, a pro-slaughter activist group. “If one plant came open in two weeks, I’d have enough money to fund it. I’ve got people who will put up $100,000,” he added. Duquette has also explained that he views this as a benefit to our economy since it would be the first American owned slaughterhouse. The vice president of the group, Sue Wallis, shares Duquette’s optimism for the potential horse market in the US. She explained that because farmers could no longer sell old horses to slaughterhouses, they instead had to ship them to Mexico or Canada for a much smaller profit.
The ongoing debate that is already growing heated feels like the plot of an animated children’s movie. The beloved and kind pet horses must ban together to fight the evil slaughterhouse tycoons who want them for their meat. So, who is going to be the first business group to brave the onslaught of criticism and protest from outraged activist groups and Americans – we’ll have to wait and see. It is a little odd that while Obama pardoned a single Turkey for Thanksgiving, he has also potentially condemned thousands of horses.