The White House 2014 budget does not have any funding for horse slaughter inspection. There is no money available to inspect horse meat under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act, or the Code of Federal Regulations. This will prevent the slaughter of horses for human consumption in this country.
There has been a ban on horse slaughter in this country since 2006, but a rider that prevented the USDA from financing the inspection of horse meat was let expire in 2011. Horse meat has been in the news since a European scandal this winter which revealed that horse DNA was found in some products labeled beef that were sold in the UK and other countries.
The problem with horse meat is that the animals can be drugged with hormones and other chemicals such as phenylbutazone, or “bute”, which are not approved for human consumption. Bute can cause aplastic anemia in human beings. Anabolic steroids and gestagenic steroids can also be present in horse meat.
Two weeks ago, the state of Oklahoma approved processing horse meat for export. Governor Mary Fallon stated that she signed the law to prevent inhumane handling of horses that are sent to other countries for slaughter. But the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says that horse slaughter is “inherently inhumane” and has worked to prevent horse slaughterhouses from reopening in this country. That agency applauded the President’s action.