Horsemeat poised to make a comeback in the U.S.

Horsemeat poised to make a comeback in the U.S.

(Image: James Byrum)

Top Chef Canada made headlines (and alienated horse lovers everywhere) earlier this year when it featured horsemeat during a classic French cuisine challenge. The scandal prompted an in-depth investigation of the industry by the ever-intrepid Toronto Star, which explained how a 2007 slaughtering ban in the United States led to a boom in Canada’s industry. Now, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune, horsemeat may be making a return to the U.S. market in the coming months.

From the Tribune:

Horses could soon be butchered in the U.S. for human consumption after Congress quietly lifted a five-year-old ban on funding horse meat inspections, and activists say slaughterhouses could be up and running in as little as a month.

Slaughter opponents pushed a measure cutting off funding for horsemeat inspections through Congress in 2006 after other efforts to pass outright bans on horse slaughter failed in previous years. Congress lifted the ban in a spending bill President Barack Obama signed into law Nov. 18 to keep the government afloat until mid-December.

Still, as the paper points out, that consumption of horsemeat is practically non-existent in the United States, with prior slaughterhouses shipping their meat to countries in Europe and Asia (Toronto’s La Palette pulled the dish from its menu in the wake of the Star investigation). Horsemeat consumption is often opposed due to uncertain sourcing and inhumane practices, but proponents like Montana senator Max Baucus have argued that the flip side is an increased neglect and abandonment of horses across the United States. How this will shake out for Canada’s slaughterhouses is still unknown.

• Horses could soon be slaughtered for meat in U.S. [Chicago Tribune]