Horse slaughter debate returns to Texas capitol


SAN ANTONIO – The debate over horse slaughter is controversial, pitting horse lover against horse lover.

When the federal government closed the last equine slaughter house more than five years ago amid a chorus of cries against the inhumanity of killing beloved horses for their meat, several developments occurred to create a perfect storm.

The economy tanked, a drought hit Texas, and there was no longer a place to dispose of old, crippled horses that could no longer be cared for.

What happened next is what's being debated.

Some say the numbers show that slaughter houses outside the U.S. began doing a brisk business of buying up the glut of horses on the market and trucking them, often in far more inhumane conveyances, to plants in Mexico and Canada where no U.S. government can regulate their operation.

The meat is sought after in other countries and is considered a delicacy.

Another development often noted is that as the market filled with so many horses for sale, it was no longer as profitable to raise, train and sell them.

Reports of abandoned, starving horses on roadsides and rescue operations filled the ears of horse lovers everywhere.

Now the Texas Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs will meet on Tuesday at 1 p.m. in Austin to pick up the issue again as to whether horse slaughter houses should be allowed in the state again.

Some rescue operations, such as the Triple Me Mac Equine Sanctuary in Indian Springs, says it's our responsibility to keep them shut down and take responsibility for humanely caring for horses.

Others say it's inhumane to continue the practice to shipping them out of the country for brutal slaughter.