All US horse slaughterhouses have closed, but horse slaughter remains a big business. Thousands are shipped to Mexico and Canada, with sometimes-grisly results. “The treatment of these animals is absolutely unspeakable,” said one Mexico City veterinarian tells Salon. Now, Congress is considering a bill to ban both slaughter and the export of horses for slaughter. But many farmers think it’s a terrible idea.
“Why not let those horses have some final use? That’s the whole point of agriculture,” urges one cattle farmer. Others argue that outlawing slaughter will lead to abandonment and neglect. But animal-rights activists counter that it will discourage overbreeding. “They’re a big part of our culture and heritage,” says one. “It’s a betrayal to put them on a cattle truck and send them to slaughter.” (Read more horse neglect stories.)