Some say slaughterhouses aren't so bad

NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - Horses could soon be headed back to the slaughterhouse, after a recent act by Congress.

Many believe the slaughterhouse is a horrible death for horses, but what's happened since they've closed has caused some to re-think their opinion.

Five years ago, Congress banned funding for horse meat inspections, after other efforts to directly ban horse slaughtering failed.

But now Congress has lifted that ban, meaning slaughterhouses could re-open as soon as next month.

Some say that's a good thing.

Terri Gammage with Panhandle Safe Hayven Equine Rescue says, "I don't like slaughter. I don't like the fact that our horses are being killed, but I would prefer if they are going to kill our horses, they do it in the United States where it can be regulated and controlled."

Currently horses are shipped thousands of miles to Mexico or Canada for slaughter, where there is no regulation on their treatment.

Sarah Faulkner with Hope Veterinary Clinic explains, "The reason the act came about was to help prevent animal cruelties that are sometimes present in slaughterhouses. I understand that, but it would have been better for all the effort and money to be spent improving those conditions."

That's because closing slaughterhouses has brought on a growing problem for horses, abandonment and neglect.

Gammage says, "As a rescue we are flooded. We are overwhelmed. Rescues all across the United States are overwhelmed with the number of horses being abandoned. We can't take care of them all."

Perhaps the most controversy comes with the possibility the animals may once again be butchered for meat, which may not be safe to eat.

Gammage explains, "Our horses regularly get wormed, they get Butazolidin for pain. All of that stuff is not intended for human consumption."

But the USDA says they will conduct regular inspections of slaughterhouses to make sure they are following federal food laws.

However, Congress has not allocated any new money to pay for horse meat inspections.