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Senate committee hears horse slaughter testimony

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One of the last horse slaughter plants in the U.S. was in Paula Bacon's town. The former mayor of Kaufman, Texas says she doesn't want to see one come back.

It became illegal to slaughter horses in 2007.

"You don't get to do that. It is not humane, it is not a necessary evil and it is not a service," Bacon said.

Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs heard testimony on the subject of horse slaughter.

Since the federal government loosened its regulations late last year, there once again could be plants in the U.S.

While it may sound inhumane, veterinarian Dee Ellis with the Texas Animal Health Commission says the reality is horses are transported hundreds of miles to be killed across the border.

Even animals rejected by inspectors face an uncertain future.

"When the truck drives off to Mexico City with 38 of the horses that are headed to slaughter, the two that were rejected by the Mexicans are standing in Presidio. They are standing in El Paso, with no oversight, and no one telling them what to do and they definitely may not go back home," Ellis said.

Ellis also says that when the industry shut down in the U.S., an inventory system to track disease was also lost.

As for Bacon, she says she has lived through this before and doesn't want to see it return.

"This is not about we either have to have horse slaughter or all these horses are going to suffer,” she said. “That's not the question. It is not about rescue. It is not about any of that except a horse owner's choice, to euthanize and not slaughter a horse."

The Senate Committee will consider the public comment and make a recommendation on the subject for the next legislative session.

Those advocating against horse slaughter want the federal government to pass a law that would prohibit the transport of horses out of the country to be killed, as well as slaughter all together.

The Humane Society supports the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, a bill before Congress.

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