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When Americans Ate Horse Meat

Stashed in: Pwnies!, America!, Meat!, Freakonomics

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Interestingly, the United States has continued to slaughter and export horses for consumption -- though various legislation has attempted to combat these operations.

The legality of the practice is usually determined at the state level. For instance, California Proposition 6, enacted in 1998, made it a felony to “possess, transfer, receive, or hold a horse with the intent to kill it, or have it killed, where the person knows, or should have known, that any part of the carcass will be used for human consumption.” In 2007, the Illinois General Assembly likewise moved to outlaw the slaughter of horse for consumption. Since, at least 10 other states have followed suit, including New York and Massachusetts, where the practice once thrived.

All federal attempts to ban horse slaughter for consumption have been unsuccessful -- though, in 2007, a provision was enacted that prevented the use of federal funds to conduct mandatory inspections on slaughterhouses; without proper inspections, all but 3 major horse slaughterhouses in the U.S. were permanently shut down. Exporters recouped their losses by simply shipping live horses for slaughter abroad, in Mexico and Canada, where they would be ground up and sent to Europe for consumption. Briefly, from 2011 to 2013, the budget limitation was lifted, but it has since been reenacted.

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