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U.S. horses now slaughtered elsewhere

July 5, 2011 at 6:44 PM

WASHINGTON, July 5 (UPI) -- Horses are being shipped from the United States to Canada and Mexico for slaughter now that U.S. slaughterhouses have been shut down, a government report says.

The Government Accountability Office reported on the unintended consequences of closing the last three slaughterhouses, which were located in Illinois and Texas. More than 135,000 horses are still being killed for food every year, the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram reported Monday.

"Nearly the same number of U.S. horses was transported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter in 2010 -- nearly 138,000 -- as was slaughtered before domestic slaughter ceased," the report released in June said.

The GAO found the number of horses shipped for slaughter to Canada rose 148 percent between 2006 and 2010, while exports to Mexico were up 660 percent.

The report suggested ending domestic horse slaughter has cost the United States jobs and exports to Europe. In addition, circuses and wild animal parks now import horsemeat for lions, tigers and other big cats instead of buying it at home.

Horses may be suffering more. Many are now transported farther for slaughter, often in bad conditions, the report concluded.

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