State and Federal Legislation
112th U.S. Congress (2011—2012)
 Horse Slaughter Prevention Bills and Issues (pdf), by Tadlock Cowan, Congressional Research Service; June 28, 2013.
USDA stated that, although the limitation on FSIS inspection had been lifted, there were still significant regulatory obstacles to resurrecting horse slaughter in the United States. For example, any processing facility has to obtain a federal grant of inspection, conduct a hazard analysis, and develop a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan prior to the processing of any horses for human consumption. A facility in New Mexico—Valley Meats, Inc.—was granted a permit by USDA on June 28, 2013, to begin horse slaughter. USDA has stated that it would grant similar operating permits to plants in Iowa and Missouri in early July 2013. The New Mexico plant had sued USDA in February 2013, accusing it of intentionally delaying the approval process. Both the House (H.R. 2410) and Senate (S. 1244) 2014 Agriculture appropriations bills would again prohibit FSIS from inspecting horses under the Federal Meat Inspection Act. The Administration and USDA have also requested that the ban on horse slaughter continue. As discussed above, the provision had been included in Agriculture appropriations bills since 2008.
 Setting the Record Straight on Congress’ Lifting of the Ban on Horse Slaughter. Posted on the USDA blog by Phil Derfler, Deputy Administrator for Food Safety and Inspection Service, December 9, 2011.
There has been a lot of talk in the past week about Congress’ lifting of the ban prohibiting federal funding for the inspection of horses, which prevented the slaughter of horses for human consumption for the past five years. The issue is understandably a sensitive and emotional one for everyone who loves these majestic animals, but it is important that the discussion be tempered with the facts.
While Congress has technically lifted the ban, horse processing will not resume anytime in the near term. Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, horses are an amenable species, which means that horse meat cannot be shipped or sold for human consumption without inspection.
To date, there have been no requests that the Department initiate the authorization process for any horse processing operation in the United States. In the two states where horse processing took place prior to the Congressional ban, Illinois and Texas, there are laws in place prohibiting the slaughter of horses. Even if these laws were changed, any processing facility will still need to satisfy a significant number of requirements, such as obtaining a federal grant of inspection, conducting a hazard analysis, and developing a Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan prior to the processing of any animals.
Contributors: Jane Allin, Vivian Farrell