Congress' much anticipated vote on whether to continue to allow the slaughter of horses for human consumption came up on Thursday (Sept. 7). The result: the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly (263 to 146) to ban the activity. 
So, on the house side at least, H.R. 503 is the first step in outlawing the shipping, transporting or selling of horses for human consumption.

Agricultural groups fought long and hard to convince lawmakers to come to a different vote. "We are very disappointed by this vote, which clearly was based on emotion, not science," says Joy Philippi, president of the National Pork Producers Council. Nearly all U.S. meat groups had opposed the bill, citing it as an unprecedented governmental directive that would control agricultural practices. The fear is that it will set the stage for more to come.

According to, three U.S. facilities conduct nearly all horse slaughter for meat. What's more, virtually all of the meat is exported, mainly to the European Union, where consumption of horsemeat is commonplace.