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Is It Illegal To Eat or Sell Horse Meat?

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

Although it is certainly illegal to mix beef with horse meat and sell it, the question remains whether selling horse meat in the U.S. is completely illegal.

Many maintain that horse meat should be illegal due to cruelty in the horse slaughtering practice, but there are other dangers.

Are There Laws Against Selling Horse Meat?

Short answer, yes.

In many states, like Illinois, there are specific laws prohibiting the sale and production of horsemeat for human consumption. Even posessing horsemeat with the intent to sell it as food is considered a crime in some states like Texas.

There are currently no states with operating horse processing plants, but with plants operating in Mexico and Canada, imported horse meat is not far away for buyers.

Can You Dine on Horse?

Of course ... in Florida

With so many states saying nay, there are some states which say yum, such as Florida, which allows markets to sell the future equine entrees so long as the meat is stamped and described as coming from Mr. Ed's extended family.

Adventurous eaters can even legally buy some imported horse meat online, including some questionable looking horse jerky with the ominous title "My Brittle Pony," reports Huffington Post.

What About Federal Law?

Horse slaughter in the U.S. had practically become illegal from 2006 - 2011, when a federal ban prevented federal funding for required horse meat inspections, reports The Associated Press. Now that the funding for inspections is back on the table, a horse processing plant in New Mexico may become the first U.S. plant in years to start making human food from horses, reports The New York Times.

Future consumers and horse breeders alike are concerned over this horse-chomping trend, which may fail to take into account the health risks from eating horse meat tainted with racing drugs, reports CBS.

The bottom line, if you have a hankering for horse, you can eat it, but check the laws in your state before you try to buy it.

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