Did U.S. Legalize Human Consumption of Horses?
While it may sound like a war measure act of long ago, the laws that control the slaughter of horses and selling the horse meat for humans to consume, don’t really exist. At one time, eating horses was fairly widespread in the United States, but it has been rare since the end of World War Two. The sale and human consumption of horses was never really illegal in the U.S., but in 2006, Congress cut off funding for all U.S. Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.) inspections of horse slaughterhouses, which effectively stopped the slaughter of horses and the sale of their meat for human consumption (in the U.S., meat can’t be sold unless it is inspected). The last three U.S. horse slaughterhouses were shut down in 2007.
However, the efforts to stop the slaughter of horses for food didn’t necessarily end the practice, as over one hundred thousand horses destined for human consumption are hauled to slaughter plants in both Canada and Mexico every single year. In fact, chef Martin Kouprie at the chic eatery ‘Pangaea’ in Toronto, Ontario, serves up a succulently delicious pan-seared equine tenderloin, served with Saskatoon berries, as well as an excellent equine tartare (horse was the original French tartare, not beef).
Now You Know
Then, in November of 2011, a bill was passed by the U.S. Congress and then signed by President Barack Obama that removed an amendment to discontinue the inspection ban, swinging wide the gates for horse slaughtering plants to reopen in the U.S. despite opponent claims it could cost $3-5 million a year to reinstate the inspections. So, if the next burger from a greasy spoon you sink your teeth into in the U.S. has a little extra ‘kick’ to it, now you know why.