A proposed federal legislation would place a ban on horse slaughter in the United States, export of U.S. horses for commercial slaughter and prevent people from consuming toxic horse meat. Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, as the legislation is called, comes after the horse meat scandal in Europe.
Many restaurants and food store chains including Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM), Nestle SA (ETR:NESR) (FRA:NESR) and Burger King Worldwide Inc (NYSE:BKW) reported that horse meat is selling under the label of beef in Europe. IKEA too has reported the traces of horse meat in meatballs served at its stores.
The proposed legislation is sponsored by Senators Mary Landrieu and Lindsey Graham; and Representatives Jan Schakowsky and Patrick Meehan. The law would prevent the slaughter of horses for human consumption. It will also outlaw the transportation of animals to Canada or Mexico for killing.
The proponents of the legislation argue that thousands of horses are exported across the U.S. border for slaughter to produce food that is toxic and unsafe for consumers. Earlier, horse slaughter was banned in the United States in 2006, but the ban was lifted in 2011. That prompted, according to Los Angeles Times, the New Mexico based Valley Meat Company LLC to open a slaughterhouse there. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced last week to inspect Valley Meat's slaughterhouse in Roswell, New Mexico.
Rick de los Santos, the owner of Valley Meat Company LLC, said that he kills horses humanely. But animal advocates say that there is nothing "humane" when it comes to horse slaughter. The Humane Society of The United States also said that domestic horses are routinely treated with drugs that are "toxic" to humans.
On the other hand, many Oklahoma legislators demanded a bill to legitimize horse slaughter in Oklahoma for human consumption. But a federal ban will make any horse slaughter law passed by Oklahoma meaningless.