Missouri Isn't Alone in Desire to Slaughter Horses

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State representative James Viebrock's (R - Battlefield) bill last year to make Missouri the only state in the nation with a horse slaughtering facility never gained much traction.

Never the less, in 2009 the Missouri Senate unanimously pass a resolution calling for the resumption of horse slaughtering in the United States. And, as it turns out, Missouri lawmakers aren't alone in their quest to process horses for meat.

This week in Las Vegas dozens of ranchers, horse owners and even some animal-welfare folks are meeting to determine what they can do to reintroduce domestic horse slaughtering.

The last equine processing plant closed in Illinois in 2007 after Congress shut off funding for inspection of such facilities. Now the horses that would've been processed in the states are often shipped by trailer to Mexico where they're turned into meat for export to Europe and Asia. (Yes, horse meat is considered something of a delicacy in some nations.)

As the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, around 50,000 horses per year are now shipped to Mexico for processing -- that's up from about 11,000 per year before 2007. Some animal-rights groups contend that exporting horses thousands of miles for slaughter that could occur in the United States only adds to the misery for old and abandoned animals who no longer serve much purpose on the farm.

Viebrock contends that horse processing could also provide Missourians with jobs. What's more, burying a horse can cost $1,500 whereas horse owners could actually get paid for selling old mares for food. Call it horse cents, err horse sense.

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