Deregulation Watch: Horsemeat

Unintended consequences are everywhere in the world of regulation. Some rules actually have the exact opposite of their intended effect. This happened after Congress passed a bill in 2006 banning horses from being slaughtered for human consumption. The goal was to improve the well-being of horses. But the rule actually made them worse off.

Some older horses unable to do farm work that would have been slaughtered were instead mistreated, neglected, or abandoned. Last year, about 138,000 horses were taken to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico, defeating the very purpose of the ban.

Recognizing its failure, the ban was lifted earlier this month. Congress and President Obama did the right thing. Now at least one slaughterhouse is expected to open in the next few months. That should create a few jobs at a time when a lot of people could really use one. Most of the meat will be exported to Europe and Asia, since horsemeat doesn’t appeal to American tastebuds.