Jun 28, 2013

USA: More Horse Slaughtering Permits Awaiting USDA Approval

Please be in touch with your representatives as you track the bills.

Horse Slaughter Update (excerpt from today's American Wild Horse Preservation News & Alerts) 

Good news on Capitol Hill this month as both the U.S. House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations subcommittees included language in the Fiscal Year 2014 budget bills to defund USDA horse slaughter inspections. Without such inspections horse slaughter plants cannot operate in the U.S.. The langauge must still pass the full House and Senate. Special thanks to Senator Mary Landrieu (R-LA) and Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) for leading the effort. Meanwhile, the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act  (H.R. 1094/S. 541) has picked up 112 co-sponsors in the House and 16 co-sponsors in the Senate. However, the good news on the Hill is tempered by today's expected announcement that the USDA will begin to issue permits to horse slaughter plants. Three plants -- in New Mexico, Iowa and Missouri - are awaiting USDA permits. If they receive the necessary federal permit and meet all state permitting requirements, the plants could begin operations this year until Congress passes the 2014 budget bill with the anti-horse slaughter restrictions. We will keep you updated about developments in this critically-important situation as we receive them. 

My Senator (who has worked hard to ensure that our laws protect domesticated and wild animals) wrote me today:

Federal law requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture to inspect all cattle, sheep, swine, goats, and horses that will be slaughtered for human consumption. With the passage of the 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 110-161) and each year after, Congress has prohibited the use of federal funds for the inspection of horses for slaughter. Until recently, this has prevented horses from being slaughtered for human food in the United States. However, the ban did not prevent the transport of U.S. horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. 

This prohibition was not included in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (P.L. 112-55), which was enacted on November 18, 2011. 

At the present time, there are two slaughter facilities in the United States that have inspection applications pending with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Agriculture Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (H.R. 5973) included a provision to reinstate the ban, but this legislation was not passed by the U.S. House of Representatives before the 112thCongress adjourned.

The Safeguard American Food Exports Act (SAFE Act), S. 541, was introduced by Senator Landrieu on March 12, 2013. If enacted, this legislation would ban horse slaughter in the United States as well as banning the transportation of horses abroad for slaughter. This legislation was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions where it awaits further action.