Last month Congress lifted a five-year-long ban on funding meat inspections for horse meat. State Rep. Sue Wallis said it was a Government Accounting Office report that showed not being able to process horse meat since 2007 has precipitated a 70 percent decline in domestic horse numbers. Compound that 70 percent decline to the industry, says Rep. Wallis, fewer vets, less hay production, fewer trailers sold, the list goes on. K2 Radio talked to Rep. Wallis about horse meat for human consumption.

SANDOVAL: Historically, going back to 2007, just that far back, when those plants were operating, those slaughterhouses, where did that product go?

REP. WALLIS: The plants in the United States were shipping mostly to Europe, a little bit to Asia, but it was all an exported product.

SANDOVAL: And these are people in a different culture, obviously, that have no problem eating horse meat.

REP. WALLIS: Oh yeah, the rest of the world really considers horse meat just another ordinary food source. China's the largest consumer, by far. Mexico is pretty close, Mexico being the second largest consumer; about 50 percent of what they produce and is exported and the other 50 percent is used right there at home. You can find it in all the French speaking areas of Canada. In Europe, Italy is the largest consumer, followed closely by Belgium and France, kind of the ones we sort of think of when you think of foreigners eating horse meat. But then the Scandinavian countries use it a lot. Argentina just became the world's largest exporter of horse meat and their main customer is Russia. So, in places like Italy and Japan, it's sold widely as baby food; you can buy it in the stores with little cans with pictures of horses on it, packages specifically for bay food. And for good reason, it's very nutritious. Horse meat is very high in protein, 50 percent more protein, 40 percent less in fat, really high in iron, 18 times the omega-3 fatty acids of beef.

SANDOVAL: Wow, so, um, how does it taste?

REP. WALLIS: It's good. Most people, if they didn't know the difference, would probably think they were eating beef, quite honestly. It's very dark red. It's lean and I would describe it as maybe being in between beef and really good elk or venison, and maybe with just a slightly sweet taste.

SANDOVAL: That sounds good to me.

You can hear the extended interview on this week's Report to Wyoming, on all TownSquare Media stations at 7 am Sunday, and again Sunday night at 9 on KTWO AM 1030.