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Congress Blocks Horse Slaughter for Meat

Last year, we told you that a horse slaughterhouse in New Mexico was working to open its doors and begin processing (read: killing) horses for human consumption. Valley Meat Company, located in southern New Mexico, had been trying to get up and running since 2011 when Congress effectively lifted a ban on horse slaughter.

Last week, Congress ensured that the plant and others would not being opening anytime soon. On Friday, President Obama signed a budget measure that prevented federal money from being spent on horse slaughterhouse inspections.

See also: First Horse Slaughterhouse in the United States to Open Soon

The measure provided temporary funding for the U.S. government (good job, Congress) but blocks the U.S. Department of Agriculture from spending money on the inspection of horse meat. This move effectively reinstates the ban that forced all horse slaughterhouses to close in 2007.

On the downside, the legislation only bans the practice through September. After which time the measure could be extended "in the event of so-called continuing resolutions that keep the government's spending on autopilot," according to the Chicago Tribune.

Animal rights proponents argue that horse slaughter plants are inhumane.

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"Americans do not want to see scarce tax dollars used to oversee an inhumane, disreputable horse-slaughter industry," Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society says in a press release. "We don't have dog and cat slaughter plants in the U.S. catering to small markets overseas, and we shouldn't have horse-slaughter operations for that purpose, either."

But others -- including Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) -- argue that horse-slaughtering plants are a practical way to deal with old and abandoned horses.

"Without these facilities, aging horses are often neglected or forced to endure cruel conditions as they are transported to processing facilities across the border," Inhofe wrote in a release. "This provision is counterproductive to what animal rights activists are hoping to achieve."

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