The New Mexico legislature has effectively killed the latest attempts to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption, while litigation over a proposed meat processing plant continues.
The House Committee on Agriculture, Water and Wildlife tabled three proposals to curb the practice, according to the Albuquerque Journal. One would have banned slaughter for human consumption outright; another would have granted horses protections under New Mexico’s cruelty to animals law; and a third would have required a state board to monitor horses that are shipped to Mexico.
No horse slaughter actually takes place in New Mexico. Valley Meat Company, based in Roswell, N.M., had proposed overhauling a cattle processing plant, but the company backed off its plan in August. The company initially wanted to start slaughtering horses for food after Congress allowed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund inspectors specifically for horse slaughterhouses, in 2011. Other companies in Missouri and Iowa also planned to begin slaughtering horses, but those plans fell through.
Congress did not fund horse inspectors in 2013 or 2014.
New Mexico still exports thousands of horses to Mexico for slaughter every year. So far this year, the USDA reports the United States has sent more than 12,000 horses across the southern border for slaughter.