Horse meat for consumption in the United States?

Horses could soon be butchered in the United States for human consumption in as little as a month.

Congress lifted a ban on funding horse meat inspections after a federal report found more horses had been neglected and abandoned since the economic downturn.

Congress had originally cut off funding for horse meat inspections in 2006, but the ban was lifted in November, and now people on both sides of the issue are speaking out.

Indio and Patron are Juan Reta's best friends.

They are beautiful animals: obedient, big and strong, said Reta.

Reta has been around horses since he was a child, and he said the thought of having slaughter houses back open in the U.S. horrifies him.

"There are some people that look at these horses as a business rather than a pet, but these people need to be educated," said Reta.

In November the ban was lifted for funding for horse meat inspections allowing slaughter houses in the U.S. to re-open.

"Well I am not in favor of these slaughterhouses," said Reta.

He said instead of killing horses, people should give them affection.

"Take care of them, love them, and please support the opponents of these slaughter houses," he said.

We spoke to those in favor of horse slaughter houses.

They didn't want to go on camera but told Action 4 News they've seen many horses starve because of drought and owners that no longer could afford to feed them.

They believe a slaughter market could help prevent that.

"We love our horses we don't want them killed or slaughtered," said Bruno Saldana, who is against horse slaughter houses.

Bruno Saldana said there are other options.

"There's people that with enough information they can adopt a horse or burro," said Saldana.

He said it just breaks his heart that these loving creatures will get slaughtered and sold to other countries for consumption.

Although slaughter houses could open as soon as a month from now, Texas still has laws banning slaughter houses, so you won TMt see slaughter houses opening in Texas that soon.