No US horse slaughter any time soon – agriculture official

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Companies considering reopening horse slaughter plants in the United States have yet to start queuing outside the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

» History: A story of horse carnage in the US

The media has been awash with stories recently about the potential resumption of horse slaughter in the US, after Congress lifted the ban on federal funding for the inspection of horses at plants.

However, it has yet to translate into any requests to the USDA, a spokesman said.

The deputy administrator for the department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, Phil Derfler, noted in a blog that there had been much talk around the lifting of the inspection ban.

“The issue is understandably a sensitive and emotional one for everyone who loves these majestic animals,” he said, “but it is important that the discussion be tempered with the facts.

“While Congress has technically lifted the ban, horse processing will not resume anytime in the near term.

“Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, horses are an amenable species, which means that horse meat cannot be shipped or sold for human consumption without inspection.

“To date, there have been no requests that the department initiate the authorization process for any horse-processing operation in the United States.

“In the two states where horse processing took place prior to the Congressional ban, Illinois and Texas, there are laws in place prohibiting the slaughter of horses.

“Even if these laws were changed, any processing facility will still need to satisfy a significant number of requirements, such as obtaining a federal grant of inspection, conducting a hazard analysis, and developing a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan prior to the processing of any animals.”

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