Always something to learn: The history of horsemeat: “Cowboys drove wild mustangs up the cattle trails right to the plants in Chicago…” http://t.co/v4DB9RmFoe
The ban lapsed in 2011. But ever since it was enacted, there were efforts to reopen “rendering plants” for horses, and in recent weeks, they seem to have finally succeeded. A bill to authorize slaughterhouses in Oklahoma is advancing quickly, and New Mexico is now trying to harvest what some view as an untapped cash crop. The states will need the USDA to once again agree to inspect the plants and their horsemeat, and reports suggest that the USDA is poised to do just that. The White House, meanwhile, has asked Congress to reinstate the ban, and some representatives are starting to speak up in support, as Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., did Friday.
But the horseflesh industry has been around since the advent of the train and car. By the end of the 19th century, the horse had outlived its usefulness — except for being money on the hoof. At the time, there were about two million mustangs running the range, as well as countless other horses across the country — carriage horses, plow horses, war horses and more. As I document in my book “Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West,” hundreds of thousands of wild horses were driven up the cattle trails right to the plants in Chicago, and they were then shipped to Europe in tin cans or to California as chicken feed for the thriving poultry industry. The railroad even had a special rate for such shipments.