House Ponders Outlawing Horsemeat

Hilary Wood feeds Lola, a rescued horse

Hilary Wood started the Front Range Equine Rescue in 1997. She regularly goes to auctions to outbid slaughterhouse buyers. Here she's feeding Lola, who was rescued at auction in February 2005. Jeff Brady, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jeff Brady, NPR
Horses are herded into a small coral at the Winter Livestock Auction in La Junta, Colo.

Horses are herded into a small coral at the Winter Livestock Auction in La Junta, Colo. Some 200-300 horses are sold at this auction on the last Friday of each month. The auction's manager says half will end up in a slaughtering plant. Jeff Brady, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jeff Brady, NPR

A House bill that would effectively ban the slaughter of horses to be used for meat is receiving mixed reactions.

You can't buy horse meat in most parts of the United States, but 18 million pounds of it are exported to Europe and Asia each year. Just seven states — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio and Virginia — allow the meat's sale domestically.

The idea of horsemeat sickens many horse lovers, and they see a chance to finally put an end to a practice they feel is out of step with the values of most Americans.

But some people who are horse lovers support slaughter, because they believe it's a humane way to dispose of excess horses.

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