A five-year ban on funding the inspection of horse meat slaughterhouse facilities was recently lifted by the federal government and a fully functional slaughterhouse could be operational within a month. Governmental officials with the United States Department of Agriculture still must find the funding for inspections, which opponents claim could cost taxpayers between $3 and $5 million annually.
The last horse slaughterhouse closed in Illinois back in 2007. Horse meat advocates claim the ban had unintended, negative animal rights consequences like increases in horse abandonment and mistreatment. In Colorado, reported cases of animal cruelty increased more than 65 percent between 2005 and 2010. Horse meat advocates claim 200,000 horses could someday be slaughtered for their meat. The majority of it would be exported to countries in Europe and Asia, like France and Japan.
Wyoming state legislator Sue Wallis claimed the ban devastated "an entire sector of animal agriculture for purely sentimental and romantic notions."
California and Illinois are among the states that have banned the sale of horse meat for human consumption. The Humane Society of America predicted large protests if a slaughterhouse opened anywhere in the country. "If plants open up in Oklahoma or Nebraska, you'll see controversy, litigation, legislative action and basically a very inhospitable environment to operate," president Wayne Pacelle said. "Local opposition will emerge and you'll have tremendous controversy over slaughtering Trigger and Mr. Ed."
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