Blunt, McCaskill at odds over reintroduction of U.S. horse slaughter

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BY TIM SAMPSON
Missouri News Horizon

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – After a five-year moratorium on the slaughter of horses in the United States, Missouri’s two Senators are at odds over reintroducing the controversial practice.

Although neither lawmaker have come out strongly on the issue, Sen. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill have each staked out competing positions on the matter, with both insisting that their stance ultimately protects animals from unnecessary cruelty.

Blunt said he supported the expiration of the ban on the domestic slaughter of horses for human consumption, saying that slaughtering horses for meat to be sold in other parts of the world was less cruel than some alternatives for aging animals.

“Horse slaughter is an appropriate way for some horse owners to decide that it’s time for that horse’s life to be ended, frankly a much better way than which many horses are dying today,” the Republican senator said.

Blunt said regulated slaughter was more humane than letting animals die of old age or abandonment – as he said many horses ultimately do. And Blunt is not alone in his position. The animal rights group PETA has also called for the end of the slaughter ban, saying that it was preferable to other alternatives.

PETA says the ban has led more horse owners in the U.S. to send their horses overseas for processing, where slaughter houses are less strictly regulated and animals receive harsher treatment.

But McCaskill took a different stance on the issue, insisting that there are more humane ways for animals to be put down than through slaughter. She cited here own experiences growing up in rural Missouri.

“I don’t support the slaughtering of horses for domestic consumption and I would vote again to oppose it if given the opportunity,” she said.