In recent weeks, consumers in the United States may have been relieved to know the discovery of horse meat in products labeled all-beef was relegated to Europe. But The New York Times is reporting that a horse slaughterhouse in New Mexico could be approved in as little as two months.
If the United States Department of Agriculture approves the slaughterhouse, the factory would become the first to produce horse meat in the U.S. since 2007, when Congress decided the department could no longer finance inspections of the meat.
A spokesman for the department confirmed to the Times that multiple companies have expressed an interest in having the USDA once again start inspecting horses for slaughter.
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In European countries, eating horse meat isn't altogether uncommon. But in recent weeks, a scandal has erupted there over horse meat turning up in unexpected products, including Burger King burgers in Ireland and Ikea's frozen meatballs.
As the Washington Post reports, since February, hundreds of European supermarkets have pulled frozen meals from their shelves over concerns that the products may contain horse meat.
The Post noted that the mislabeling of products, as well as the perceived fraud, are what have European consumers up in arms; there's no discomfort with consuming horse meat.
In the U.S., on the other hand, eating horse meat isn't exactly the norm.
Slate recently posited that Americans may have never warmed up to the idea of eating horses because the bonds people formed with the animals during the country's founding made it seem morally wrong.
After a Philadelphia restaurant announced that it might be adding horse meat to its menu, it started receiving threats.
Still, the discomfort on the part of Americans hasn't prevented those working in the cattle and horse breeding industries from working toward the reopening of horse slaughterhouses for several years now, Huffington Post blogger Vickery Eckhoff pointed out in February.
In addition to the plant in New Mexico, another horse slaughterhouse hoped to open in Rockville, Mo., Reuters previously reported.
At the time, Sue Wallis, chief executive of United Equine -- the company behind the plant -- argued to the news outlet that banning horse slaughter would put about 100,000 horses a year at risk of being abused or abandoned.
The Humane Society feels differently, though, arguing on its website that statistics have found that more than 90 percent of horses sent to slaughter are in good health.