Coupon clippers, keep your eyes peeled for great savings on the country's hottest new Congressionally sanctioned treat: horse meat! Yes, that's right, Congress has just lifted a five-year-old ban on funding horse meat inspections, which means that horse slaughterhouses in the US could be up and running in the next month.

For the past five years, Congress stripped the USDA's funding for horsemeat inspections, essentially killing the horse-killing industry. But just before Thanksgiving, Obama signed a new agriculture spending bill that did not include a ban for the inspections, which basically gives the go-ahead to slaughterhouses to get back to business. Congress released a report over the summer saying that the ban only "depressed prices for horses here while causing many of the animals to be shipped to 'foreign slaughtering facilities where U.S. humane slaughtering protections do not apply.'" Some pro-slaughter activists say that the ban actually resulted in more sick, aging horses being abandoned by owners who could no longer care for them.

One thing the new bill did not do, however, is allocate any new money to pay for the inspections, which critics says could cost taxpayers $3-5 million every year. And beyond the tax issue, there's always the sentimental argument against eating horses, too: "If plants open up in Oklahoma or Nebraska, you'll see controversy, litigation, legislative action and basically a very inhospitable environment to operate," predicted Wayne Pacelle, president and of The Humane Society of the United States. "Local opposition will emerge and you'll have tremendous controversy over slaughtering Trigger and Mr. Ed." Which is probably true, although the legions of foreign horse meat customers who import the remains of our Black Beauties have always praised her lean, clean flavor and rosy flesh.