WASHINGTON, March 14 (UPI) -- U.S. horses could not be slaughtered in the United States or abroad in a bill before Congress aimed at preventing human consumption of horse meat.
The Safeguard American Food Exports Act was introduced following the discovery in Europe that horse meat had been mislabeled and sold as beef, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
Industry interest in selling horse meat is reviving after a five-year ban on slaughtering horses in the United States expired in 2011.
A New Mexico company recently announced it planned to open a horse meat processing plant. Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it planned to process an application for inspecting horse slaughter at Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, N.M.
Rick de los Santos, owner of Valley Meat, said in December that 130,000 horses are sent to Mexico each year for slaughtering.
Slaughtering horses is "inherently inhumane," the Humane Society of the United States said in a statement. "The methods used to kill horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as horses often endure repeated stuns or blows and sometimes remain conscious during their slaughter and dismemberment."