Florida Plagued by Underground Network of Horse Meat Butcherers  - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

It’s not every day that you hear about horse meat being processed; after all, the U.S. closed its last horse meat processing facility in 2007.

But in Florida, where the sale of horse meat is banned altogether, local farmers are suffering under a gruesome new trend: the theft and slaughter of their prized horses.

Last October, a show horse in Palmetto, Florida, suffered a barbaric end – and officials say that it was likely killed for its meat. That’s not the only case, either.

There are actually a number of illegal horse slaughter farms operating in Florida, and they have been for years. Attacks like the one that occurred in Palmetto are not limited to one particular region of the state. They occur in horse farms throughout the “Sunshine State,” suggesting a widespread epidemic of rampant horse slaughter.

Horse butchers also often raise horses on slaughter farms of their own. These clandestine operations can be difficult to differentiate from legit horse farms, though the conditions are usually far below state standards.

Florida officials rescue these animals from slaughter whenever they can, but their evidence lockers are also full of parts of horses who were not saved in time.

Funding these illegal black market operations can be extremely lucrative, as the going rate for horse meat in Florida is approaching $40 dollars per pound. Some people believe that horse meat heals a variety of conditions, helps battle the side effects of chemotherapy and cures blood disorders – but it’s all a myth.

Horse slaughter is legal in Mexico, and the U.S. has sent tens of thousands of live horses across the border to be processed as meat in the past year.

What Do You Think?

How do you feel about horses being used for food? What about the black market for horse meat? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to share them with me on Twitter or Facebook!

Carlos Gamino