The US House Appropriations Committee has voted to block funding for inspections at prospective American horse slaughter plants.
The decision, if it survives the entire legislative process, would halt any effort to resume horse slaughter on US soil.
The committee backed, by a voice vote, an amendment to the agriculture appropriations bill offered by Representatives Jim Moran, D-Va., and Bill Young, R-Fla., to forbid spending by the US Department of Agriculture on inspections at US horse slaughter plants for the 2014 fiscal year.
A similar spending prohibition was put in place in 2005, but was not renewed in 2011, leading to the opportunity for horse slaughter plants to reopen in the US at the estimated annual expense of $US5 million.
Humane Society of the United States president and chief executive Wayne Pacelle said: “American taxpayers don’t want their money wasted on the inspection of horse slaughter plants that trade in the tainted meat of our former show, race and work horses.
“The federal budget is already strapped, and we thank the House Appropriations Committee for recognizing that this is one expenditure we will all do better without. Horses belong on the range or in the stable, not on a foreign dinner plate.”
Currently, there are no horse slaughter facilities operating in the US, but the Department of Agriculture has confirmed it had received at least six applications from prospective abattoirs.
The issue of horse slaughter is mired in controversy in the US, amid concerns over drug residues and the ability to humanely kill horses in such plants.