By on Apr 04, 2013

The Humane Society of the United States and Front Range Equine Rescue have filed a legal petition with the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board requesting that it adopt a rule that renders any horse “unqualified” for use as food for human consumption.

The petition states that horses are different than traditional food animals because Americans generally do not raise horses as food, and horses are often treated during their lifetimes with drugs that are banned by US authorities, including phenylbutazone.

“The only way to protect the food supply and the consuming public is for the board to declare horse meat to be unqualified, unless the slaughterhouse (or its agent) receiving or buying the horse can unequivocally demonstrate that the horses have not ever received substances prohibited for use in food animals,” the groups said in a statement.

Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president of animal protection litigation for the humane society, said: “The killer-buyers who acquire horses for slaughter from random sources typically have no concern or knowledge about the horses’ prior history before shipping them off to inhumane deaths in slaughter facilities.

“Slaughtering horses in New Mexico would not only put horses through a gruesome and traumatic death, but it would put consumers at risk of consuming tainted meat.”

Hilary Wood, president of Front Range Equine Rescue, said: “American horses are generally not raised for human consumption, and horse owners give them a variety of medications and products making them unfit for consumption.

“Horse slaughter does nothing to eliminate the abandonment or abuse of horses.”