Hey, you can finally defrost that horse steak you've had in the freezer! The spending bill that Obama just signed included a provision lifting the ban on federal inspection of horses that are raised for food, a ban that has made it effectively illegal to slaughter horses for the last five years. And weirdly, PETA is all for it.
This change won't mean much to your daily life, unless maybe you are in They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, which you aren't because they broke up in 2008. First of all, we're going to guess that the ban on horse meat didn't affect you much in the first place. Second, there aren't any horse slaughterhouses in the U.S., and the bill doesn't allocate USDA any money for horse meat inspections. They're allowed to inspect horses now, but they have to do it out of their own pocket.
The agency does say that if there were any horse-meat production facilities, it would make sure they were humane, but the ruling still pisses off some animal rights groups. The Humane Society has issued a statement saying that horses are considered "companions" and shouldn't be eaten.
PETA, however, is totally behind the move. They'd rather see horses killed domestically than shipped to Mexico or Canada, which is what happens now.
“It's quite an unpopular position we've taken,” PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk told the Christian Science Monitor. “There was a rush to pass a bill that said you can't slaughter them anymore in the United States. But the reason we didn't support it, which sets us almost alone, is the amount of suffering that it created exceeded the amount of suffering it was designed to stop.”
On the one hand, that's philosophically consistent. On the other, I guess it means we won't be seeing PETA trot out pretty girls dressed up as half-naked ponies. Sad.
Horse: Coming soon to a meat case near you?, CNN.
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