“The Safeguard American Food Exports Act — would bar horse slaughter in the U.S. and ban horse shipments to Mexico”
Slaughtering horses isn’t illegal in the U.S. but has been barred by a technicality, in that over the previous two presidential administrations no federal money was appropriated for U.S. Department of Agriculture inspections of processing plants. With such oversight, the meat could not be sold.
The last horse slaughter plant in the U.S. closed a decade ago, but that hasn’t stopped horses from being exported to Mexico for slaughter despite efforts by places like Greenwood Stables and Equine Horse Rescue near Peabody in south-central Kansas, The Kansas City Star (http://bit.ly/2nK408T ) reported.
A measure introduced in both houses of Congress — the Safeguard American Food Exports Act — would bar horse slaughter in the U.S. and ban horse shipments to Mexico, and a Humane Society spokeswoman said recently she expects a “major battle over horse slaughter” this year.
Republican Missouri state Rep. Warren Love says he welcomes that legislative fight. The Osceola rancher considers horses livestock, calls slaughter a form of euthanasia and says the demise of slaughter severely damaged the horse industry. He hopes that changes under President Donald Trump, proclaiming, “There’s a new sheriff in town.”
Trump has not issued any opinion on the matter, though he has called for a repeal of other business regulations.
At Kansas’ Greenwood Stables and Equine Horse Rescue, run by 20-year-old college student Saje Bayes and her mother, Amy Bayes, the tandem has a working relationship with a man who buys horses to resell them to Mexican slaughter plants.
The man lets them have dibs on any horse they think they can find a home for. Last year, that amounted to 700 horses — a fraction of the number the man drove to Mexico.
“The picking is the worst thing ever,” said Bayes, a Newton librarian. “He puts up with a lot from us. He lets us pull horses he would rather we not. He gives us a chance to find them homes. He’s been nice. We’re not friends by any means, and he knows what side I’m on. We just agree to disagree.”
Critics said horses during the road trips to Mexico typically don’t get food or water and must stand in crowded trailers for journeys that can last 36 hours.
Cindy Gendron, manager of the national Homes for Horses Coalition, believes horses clearly are different from cattle, noting that “Americans don’t eat horse meat.”
One reason for that: Drugs that are injected into horses. But horse meat from Mexico has gone to Europe until 2014, when the European Union banned the import after an audit cited inhumane practices at Mexican slaughterhouses. Much of the meat now goes to Asia and the Middle East.