by JASMINE ELSHAMY Photo & Video Editor
After traces of horse DNA were found in Ikea’s meat in Europe, the issue over Congress not extending the ban on horse slaughter in 2011 has come up again. The U.S. Department of Agriculture was quick to point out that Americans need not worry; horse meat is not brought into the country for human consumption.
This does not mean Americans are not worrying, especially all the horse-lovers out there.
“There are currently no establishments in the United States that slaughter horses, and FSIS does not allow imports of horse meat from other countries for human consumption,” said Brian Mabry, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service in a statement. “None of the countries and companies referenced in the EU export beef to the United States.”
Back in November of 2011, Congress had the option of extending the bill on the ban of horse slaughter in this country. They did not renew the bill, therefore leaving the ability to slaughter horses a viable option. The horse carcasses are then sent to other countries, such as Mexico and Canada, where it is unsure exactly what they do with the meat there.
Five years prior to when it was an option to renew the bill, Congress banned the USDA from using any taxpayer funds for horse slaughter inspections through its annual budget appropriations for the department. Furthermore, since the Federal Meat Inspection Act requires the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to inspect animals for slaughter carcass by carcass, there was no way for horses to make it to American dinner tables.
Now, there are no regulations for the USDA to inspect horse meat in the United States.
“I mean, if you gotta make glue, then you make it. I just don’t see what the big deal is. Personally, I wouldn’t eat the horse meat, but I don’t have a problem with horses being slaughtered. So are chickens, and so are cows,” says freshman Maggie Hancik.
Those who are against the horse slaughter going on in the country claim that it is equivalent to killing one’s own domestic pet and how it is not something of the norm in America. At the same time, what about killing cows and chickens? Some people value those animals as well, yet they are killed every day for human consumption.
The Humane Society of the United States has petitioned the USDA and Food and Drug Administration over the “banned and dangerous” substances it says are “commonly” given to horses sent to slaughter. These include Acepromazine, an anti-anxiety/tranquilizer, the Humane Society said.
There is also the possibility of a horse slaughter house opening soon in New Mexico. A horse slaughterhouse in Roswell, N.M., received word from the U.S. Department of Agriculture saying that they were moving forward with Valley Meat Co.’s application to begin horse slaughter operations, according to Rick de los Santos, a partner in the company.
“Horses are delicious,” says freshman Lucas Fox. “If you don’t feel guilty about biting into a hamburger, there is no reason to feel bad over a few horses.”
Cruel? Maybe. Honest? Always.