A group calling itself Horses United in Hermiston is pushing for a slaughterhouse to be built just ouside the city, but officials are saying 'no.'Dave Duquette, president of Horses United, says a (recently lifted) five-year-ban on such facilities caused horses to drop in value, resulted in animal neglect and abuse, and forced owners with animals needing to be put down had to take them to Canada or Mexico. Congress lifted the ban last November. Duquette says such facilities will serve an important need and cause horses to not be a financial liability.

However, city officials object to the potential stench"from such a plant, the possible health risks, and the negative stigma of having a horse slaughterhouse in the community. Duquette says an un-named California company has purchased 252 acres near the I-84 generating station for such a purpose. The final decision will rest with the Umatilla County Planning Commission. No timetable has been set for the decision.

Duquette also says horse meat is consumed in 70 percent of the world. Last November, Congress lifted the ban on slaughtering horses for the purpose of human consumption.

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