A bill that bans the sale of horses for human consumption passed in the House yesterday and is an important step in protecting an animal that is an icon of American culture. Though they are classified as livestock, most regard horses are companion animals due to the unique working relationships that they form with people, through work as cart and police horses and their performance in sports and recreational activities. There are three slaughterhouses in the US, all foreign-owned, that process horse meat for human consumption in places like Japan and parts of Europe. About 90,000 horses from the US are killed each year, either at those plants or after being shipped across borders to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada.
The bill still has to pass through the Senate before it becomes law, but this is generally regarded as a huge victory for those in the horse industry - except for those who profit from the horse slaughter industry, of course - across the country.