While slaughterhouses have never been illegal, the killing of horses for human consumption ended in 2006 when the federal government refused to fund USDA slaughterhouse inspectors. But the language (eliminating funding for inspection) has been removed from Agricultural Appropriations bill, HR 211.

That change in language is what has horse owners up in arms.

A 2011 non-partisan report found that the ban did not lead to a decrease in horse slaughter. Instead, the same horses were slaughtered beyond the reach of U.S. law. According to the report, "Nearly the same number of U.S. horses was transported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter in 2010 - nearly 138,000 - as was slaughtered before domestic slaughter ceased."

Legislation signed into law last month by President Obama opens the door to future inspections of horse slaughter facilities in the U.S.

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