Obama, Congress restore horse-slaughter industry

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Michael Markarian, who oversees the Humane Society Legislative Fund, which lobbies for animal protections, said any state that allows a horse-slaughter plant to open will face pressure.

“People will not be happy about their community potentially bringing in one of these plants,” he said. “Americans don’t eat horses, and don’t want them butchered and shrink-wrapped and sent to France or Japan as a delicacy.”

In 2010, about 138,000 horses were exported for slaughter, and another 30,000 horses were shipped for other purposes, though some of those likely were sent to feedlots to be fattened for slaughter.

Congress never banned horse slaughter outright, but gave inspection powers to the Agriculture Department in 1996. In 2006, it voted to halt federal inspections, which essentially ended the industry.

This year, the House version of the Agriculture spending bill maintained the slaughter-ban language, but the Senate did not. When the two chambers reconciled their bills, the language was not in the final version.

Mr. Obama signed the spending bill by autopen on Nov. 18. He was traveling in Asia at the time the bill was presented to him, so he used the automated signature machine for the second time in his presidency.

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