The USDA announced on Tuesday that they will allow horse slaughter for human consumption to continue, despite passage of an amendment designed to ban this practice for one fiscal year. Last year, Representatives Sweeney and Spratt, and Senator Ensign, introduced an amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill that sought to ban horse slaughter by cutting funding for USDA inspectors at horse slaughter plants. Without USDA inspection, the meat cannot legally be exported thereby shutting down the industry.
The amendment received massive support from the American public, with the House of Representatives alone reporting some 25,000 calls, emails and letters on the subject. It passed both chambers of Congress with bi-partisan support by landslide votes — passing in the House 249-159, and in the Senate 68-29.
Yet despite overwhelming opposition to horse slaughter in the U.S., the foreign owned slaughter industry has successfully lobbied our USDA to allow a “fee-for-service” plan whereby the slaughter plants will pay inspectors for their services. This announcement is a slap in the face to Americans, and the U.S. Congress.
Wild horses, long considered icons of the West and living symbols of freedom, are also threatened with slaughter thanks to legislation introduced by Senator Conrad Burns of Montana. In late 2004, Senator Burns slipped a rider into a 3300 page budget bill, amending the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act by making it legal to sell wild horses to slaughter. In April of 2005, 41 wild horses were slaughtered under the Burns provision.
The USDA is accepting public comment on this until March 10th, 2006. You can submit comments to:
Docket Number 05-036IF
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Food Safety and Inspection Service
300 12th Street, SW
Room 102 Cotton Annex
Washington, DC 20250