The latest ag funding bill from Congress not only prevented the funding of the GIPSA rule in the short term, but it also quietly lifted the ban on horse slaughter by allowing USDA inspectors to return. Of course, the horse industry and the livestock industry in general rejoiced at the news, and stories are already been circulating about slaughter facilities potentially being opened in at least six states.
I suppose I'm getting a little cynical in my old age. It certainly hurt the horse industry by removing the floor. It also created problems with unwanted and unusable horses. And it created a whole host of ethical problems that most everyone agrees far surpass anything that occurred prior to the horse slaughter ban. Heck, even People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) supports the lifting of the ban, much to the consternation of groups like the Humane Society of the U.S., because PETA feels supervised horse slaughter is more humane than what's been occurring.
Call me cynical, but I don't believe this issue is over. Here's why. I was floored by the response I have received in the past on my articles on the horse slaughter ban; it is a passionate and well-organized group of people who support the ban.
Even though most of the major equine organizations, and the equine veterinarians, opposed the ban, it's a controversial subject among horse owners. Groups like PETA do support a ban on slaughter; they just want it more extreme. They would support it if it was to include a ban on exportation of horses for human consumption and slaughter.
I think that all the removal of the ban on horse slaughter does is set the stage for round two. And, I can't see significant investments being made in the U.S. in the near term until that uncertainty is removed. It's a classic example of unintended consequences.