SANTA FE, N.M. — Animal protection advocates applauded President Barack Obama on Tuesday for proposing to continue a federal funding ban that's blocking the resumption of commercial horse slaughter in the U.S.
The president and Congress agreed earlier this year to withhold money through September for Agriculture Department inspections necessary for slaughterhouses to process horse meat for human consumption.
The president's budget calls for the funding prohibition to remain in place through the end of the next budget year in September 2015.
"Wasting tax dollars on the cruelty of horse slaughter makes no sense, and we urge Congress to once again adopt this provision," said Nancy Perry, a senior vice president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The ban on inspection funding derailed a New Mexico company's plan to slaughter horses to export the meat to overseas consumers.
Blair Dunn, a lawyer for Valley Meat in Roswell and Rains Natural Meats in Missouri, said the "president's budget is not law and certainly not the end of the story."
"Amid the other problems with the president's budget and the midterm elections it is unwise to assume that this provision will remain in the budget in its final form," Dunn said in a statement.
After Congress initially eliminated inspection funding, the last U.S. horse slaughterhouses closed in 2007. Plants in New Mexico, Missouri and Iowa unsuccessfully sought to resume horse slaughtering when federal money was restored in 2011.