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Published December 21, 2011, 09:57 PM

Horse owners divided over repeal of horse slaughtering ban

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Could a horse slaughtering plant becoming to North Dakota? Congress recently repealed a 5 year old ban on horse slaughtering and horse owners are divided on whether that's a good thing.

Could a horse slaughtering plant becoming to North Dakota? Congress recently repealed a 5 year old ban on horse slaughtering and horse owners are divided on whether that's a good thing.

Horses are enjoying the mild winter weather at NDSU's Equine Center. The problem seems to be there are too many of their brothers and sisters in corrals like this across the United States. Do to the economic downturn, fewer people are buying horses.

Carrie Hammer – NDSU Equine Science: “We've seen horses go through different sale barns where you know 5,10, 20 dollar bids trying to get someone to take these animals.”

Prior to 2006 horses could be slaughtered in the US for use in dog food and other products as well as for human consumption.

Kasey Carlin – NDSU Meat Science: “The market or the majority of horse meat that was produced in the US was sent over to Europe.”

Congress lifted that ban in November as part of the budget agreement that kept the government running to the end of the year. Even though this legislation has passed there is no funding for it in the bill so whether a slaughter house could actually open in the US is questionable.

However the Obama administration says that if a slaughter facility opens they will provide inspectors. This has created a divide among horse owners who see slaughter as an economic alternative and those who see it as cruel. A group against horse slaughter has started in North Dakota which is often talked about as a location for a slaughter house.

Jane Marum – ND Anti-Horse Slaughter Coalition: “What we want to do is just offer suggestion or other alternatives to horse slaughter.”

Carrie Hammer: “I think what horse owners just want is mostly just a way to get rid of a horse that they no longer want.”

Hammer says the cost of euthanizing and disposing of a horse can run several hundred dollars. Horse owners for against the ban both agree that if a slaughter house opens it would likely face a wave of protests and public uproar.

Senator Herb Kohl from Wisconsin was one of a bipartisan group that got the ban lifted. His office tells WDAY that many people he talked to thought it would be better to slaughter horses in the US rather than current option of trucking them to Canada and Mexico to slaughter.

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