The debate boils down to how Americans view the country's estimated 9 million horses.
Horse slaughter plants have become legal again, after Congress quietly unbridled restrictions on processing horse meat. President Barack Obama signed the enabling bill on Nov. 18.
Entities already are considering opening plants in Oregon, and possibly Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Georgia and Missouri, slaughter plant proponent Sue Wallis says.
Between 120,000-200,000 horses will be killed for human consumption/year, she estimates.
In coming months, the first couple of plants may open, says Wallis. The Wyoming state representative says her pro-slaughter group “United Horsemen,” is working closely with entities to open what she says will be humane slaughter plants. However, plants will have to get state approval and could face court challenges, says Lauren Silverman Simon, a federal lobbyist for the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS). Wallis also says she is working with some tribes on eventually opening plants to help control multiplying wild horse herds.