Update June 16, 2011: By a vote of 217-203, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 2112, the 2012 agriculture appropriations bill.
Rep. Jim Moran’s amendment made in committee remained intact in the final version.
Under Rep. Moran’s amendment, inspections required for horses bound for slaughter for human consumption will remain de-funded as they have been since 2006. This means if the House version becomes law, commercial horse slaughter for human consumption will remain illegal.
The bill, H.R. 2112, is now assigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
For more on this bill, read Animal Law Coalition’s reports below.
Update June 15, 2011: Today, U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) offered an amendment to the House appropriations bill to strike the prohibition on fee-for-service in the provision defunding inspections of horses bound for slaughter for human consumption.
This would have allowed horse slaughterhouses to pay the USDA for part of the inspections of horses required by the Federal Meat Inspection Act for horses to be slaughtered for human consumption.
Lummis claimed a fee-for-service program would not cost taxpayers anything. But the slaughter industry would actually only pay a small portion of the USDA inspection. The taxpayer would pay for most of the cost. This would also pull critical inspectors away from our own food safety oversight. Fee-for-service is basically another taxpayer subsidy for corporations.
Had the amendment passed and if upheld by the courts, it is possible commercial horse slaughter for human consumption would have been legal again in the U.S.
Lummis later withdrew the amendment. Rep. Jim Moran’s amendment defunding the inspections remains intact in the bill. This means if the appropriations bill passes with the Moran amendment and is signed into law, then commercial horse slaughter for human consumption will remain illegal in the U.S. as it has been since 2007.
For more on the Moran amendment and the appropriations bill, read Animal Law Coalition’s reports below.
Update June 13, 2011: Late last month the House Appropriations Committee accepted Rep. Jim Moran’s amendment to the proposed appropriations bill to continue de-funding of inspections of horses to be sent for slaughter for human consumption.
That means that under the Appropriations Committee’s proposed bill, commercial horse slaughter for human consumption would remain illegal in the U.S.
The vote was close, 24-21. The measure now goes to the full House of Representatives for a vote.
After submitting his amendment to the appropriations bill to assure commercial horse slaughter would remain illegal in the U.S., Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) called for the U.S. to get out of the horsemeat business altogether. Read more here.
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) also issued a strong call for Congress to take action to stop horse slaughter, noting "[t]here are really two issues when it comes to horse slaughter: the private domestic market for horse meat and federal management of wild horses". Read more here.
For more on this, read Animal Law Coalition’s earlier report below.
Original report: The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug, Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Committee has released its proposed appropriations budget for FY 2012.
The proposed bill does not include a provision de-funding inspections for horses to be slaughtered for human consumption. The proposed bill does not prohibit use of funds to inspect horses to be slaughtered for human consumption. The subcommittee report does not mention it.
SEC. 744. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to pay the salaries or expenses of personnel to-
(1) inspect horses under section 3 of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 603);
(2) inspect horses under section 903 of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 1901 note; Public Law 104-127); or
(3) implement or enforce section 352.19 of title 9, Code of Federal Regulations.
It is this language that is missing from the subcommittee’s proposed appropriations bill for FY 2012. It is the de-funding of these ante-mortem inspections of horses in appropriations measures that has prohibited commercial horse slaughter for human consumption in the U.S. since 2007. Now, if the subcommittee bill passes, it could mean the return of commercial horse slaughter to the U.S.
Rep. Jim Moran will introduce an amendment providing for the de-funding of the inspections.