Missouri Senator Roy Blunt says he voted to lift a ban on funding horse meat inspections.
Congress cut off funding for horse meat inspections in 2006, but lifted the ban earlier this month (November) after a federal report found more horses had been neglected and abandoned since the economic downturn began.
Blunt says the elimination of the potential for horse slaughter has ruined the horse market.
"Lots of older horses are starving to death on farms and even turned lose in the national forest," Blunt said. "And I don't know that the fact that you can have inspectors means that necessarily you can have those facilities. But I have never been a believer in the idea that the only way to end a horses life is to let it die a slow death."
Pro-slaughter activists estimate a slaughterhouse could open in 30 to 90 days in the U.S. The meat would be shipped to Europe or Asia. A spokesperson for the Humane Society of the United States warns there would be a big outcry "over slaughtering Trigger and Mr. Ed."