New Mexico Panel OKs Slaughter House Study

Would allocate funds to study feasibility of horse slaughter facility.

A legislative committee in New Mexico has unanimously approved a study to determine the feasibility of locating a slaughter facility in the state for purposes of processing horse meat for human consumption.

The Agriculture and Water Resources Committee voted 10-0 Jan. 30 to recommend to the Legislature that it allocate $20,000 to New Mexico State University to undertake the feasibility study. The bill, House Bill 90, has been sent to the Appropriations and Finance Committee for consideration.

Horse slaughter in the U.S. for human consumption, primarily in Europe and Asia, effectively stopped in 2006 after federal funding ended for United States Department of Agriculture inspection of slaughter houses.

In late 2011, President Obama signed into law a broader bill that reverses the ban on the funding, leading to the possibility that horse slaughter would resume in the U.S. Federal legislation actually banning the process of horse slaughter has failed to pass Congress.

A U.S. General Accountability Office report in 2011 concluded that the ban on horse slaughter has led to increased case of horse abuse.

According to the synopsis accompanying the New Mexico legislation, the USDA has not issued protocols for drug residue testing since the ban on funding for horse slaughter inspections was lifted and has not approved any facilities for operation to date.