It is currently illegal to slaughter horses for human consumption in the USA. The USDA must inspect all animals and meat that is meant for human consumption and funding for horse and horsemeat inspection was pulled from the USDA back in 2008 and has not been reinstated. Horses may still be slaughtered for animal consumption (zoos, pet food, etc.). They also may be exported to Canada, Mexico, and other countries for slaughter there (exported live).
Individual states have laws banning the sale of horsemeat for human consumption (Texas has had one on the books since the 1960s) and also laws against their slaughter for human consumption (CA passed a law banning even the sale and transport of horses for slaughter in 1998). The US Code has no such law banning the sale or consumption of horsemeat, or slaughter of horses.
The slaughter of horses for human consumption is illegal only due to no funding for USDA inspections and private inspections not being allowed, for comercial purposes. You can butcher your own horses, just like you can pigs, cows, deer, etc. for your own personal use. The USDA does not get involved there, except inspecting the processing plants to make sure they're operating legally.
Last edited by luvs2ride1979; 08-19-2010 at 10:15 AM.