Just as the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommended a grant of inspection for what could become the first U.S. horse slaughterhouse following a five-year federal ban, actor Robert Redford has made a public call for banning horse slaughter, via a letter written to horse welfare organization Equine Advocates. “Horses have always been very important in my life and I feel strongly that they need our protection from any kind of abuse, especially slaughter,” Redford begins. He goes on to compare the treatment of horses in the U.S. to the treatment of dogs and cats, and laments the desire of a “small group of special interests” who want to breed horses to profit from their meat. “The entire slaughter process is cruel and inhumane and perpetuates abuse and neglect without consequences, in addition to condoning a violation of our nation’s cruelty laws,” he continues. He also highlights the concern that horse slaughter allows for a “swift cover-up” of horse theft. For now, the future of U.S. horse slaughter remains up in the air, as the Obama Administration has suggested excluding money for inspectors at horse slaughterhouses from the 2014 budget. Beyond that, Congress may choose to extend the five-year ban. Food Safety News published a report on the potential for horse slaughter to begin in New Mexico yesterday.