House to Vote on Horse Slaughter Ban

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration contends a U-S ban on slaughtering horses would actually make things worse -- by moving the killing to less humane plants outside the country.

House lawmakers today again confronted a practice they thought they ended last year, when Congress voted to stop horse slaughter.

But they didn't ban it outright then. Instead, lawmakers yanked the salaries and expenses of federal inspectors. And, in response, the Bush administration simply started charging slaughter plants for inspections.

Debate began this morning on whether to ban horse slaughter, and a vote is expected by evening.

Horses are slaughtered at two plants in Texas and in Illinois at the Cavel International plant in DeKalb.

The Agriculture Department says about 88-thousand horses, mules and other equines were slaughtered last year.