You might have to make sure that’s a beef burger your eating since Congress lifted a 5-year-old ban on funding horse meat inspections. That means horses could soon be butchered in the U.S. for human consumption.
According to the Associated Press activist say slaughterhouses could be up and running in as little as a month.
Slaughter opponents pushed a measure cutting off funding for horse meat inspections through Congress in 2006 after other efforts to pass outright bans on horse slaughter failed in previous years. Congress lifted the ban in a spending bill President Obama signed into law Nov. 18 to keep the government afloat until mid-December.
It did not, however, allocate any new money to pay for horse meat inspections, which opponents claim could cost taxpayers $3 million to $5 million a year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture would have to find the money in its existing budget, which is expected to see more cuts this year as Congress and the White House aim to trim federal spending.
The ban has been lifted due to the recession. People are having to choose between paying their mortgage or keeping their horses. Many animal rights activist argue that lifting the ban will encourage horse owners to slaughter their horses as oppose to seeking a more humane way of putting them down like euthanizing.
The USDA issued a statement Tuesday saying there are no slaughterhouses in the U.S. that butcher horses for human consumption now, but if one were to open, it would conduct inspections to make sure federal laws were being followed. USDA spokesman Neil Gaffney declined to answer questions beyond what was in the statement.