From Slate magazine:
Congress and the Bush administration are fighting over horse-butchering.
American firms slaughtered 88,000 horses, mules, and related animals last year; Congress tried to stop it by defunding obligatory veterinary inspections, but the Agriculture Department plans to circumvent that restriction by asking slaughterers to fund the inspections.
Anti-slaughter outcries: 1) The department is "thumbing its nose at Congress." 2) It's a reign of "commerce and greed." 3) It's disgusting to kill animals that "served us faithfully and provided us with companionship."
Pro-slaughter arguments: 1) Nobody can afford to care for horses once they're useless. 2) Slaughtering them is humane, because the law requires us to render them impervious to pain beforehand. 3) If we don't slaughter them, Mexicans and Canadians will.
Bonus disclosure: Americans don't eat most of the meat from our slaughtered horses; Europeans and Asians do. (For Human Nature's take on animal rights, click here; for Slate's take on eating dogs, click here.)