Update June 20, 2013:The Senate Appropriations Committee approved by voice vote today the Landrieu amendment which would defund in the FY 2014 appropriations bill the required ante-mortem inspections of horses sent to slaughter for human consumption. The House Appropriations Committee approved a similar amendment last week. President Obama has recommended defunding in the administration’s proposed budget for FY 2014.
Without funding of these required inspections, horses cannot be slaughtered in the U.S. for human consumption. Both the full House of Representatives and Senate must approved the measure. For more on defunding, read Animal Law Coalition’s reports below.
Update June 18, 2013: This Thursday, June 20, 2013 the Senate Appropriations Committee will vote on the Agriculture Appropriations bill for FY 2014. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) has proposed an amendment similar to the Moran amendment approved last week by the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee to defund horse inspections. For more on the Moran amendment to defund horse inspections, read Animal Law Coalition’s earlier reports below.
Update June 13, 2013: The U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee approved today by voice vote an amendment to the FY 2014 Agriculture Appropriations bill that defunds ante-mortem inspections for horses sent for slaughter for human consumption. If approved by the full House of Representatives and the Senate and signed by the president, it would mean horses and other equines could not be slaughtered in the U.S. for human consumption. The amendment was introduced by Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) and had been recommended by the Obama Administration in its proposed budget. The bill now goes to the full House of Representatives for approval. For more on this and how you can help pass defunding of horse inspections, read Animal Law Coalition’s original report below.
Original report: While a bill to ban horse slaughter for human consumption is pending in Congress, the Obama administration has agreed to support defunding of ante-mortem inspections required for equines slaughtered for human food. This means no funds could be used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pay for inspectors to conduct these inspections. Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, 21 U.S.C. Sec. 603, without the inspections, equines cannot be slaughtered in the U.S. for human consumption.
The USDA has proposed the defunding of equine inspections in its FY 2014 budget:
p. 197, Sec. 725:
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 104127); or (3) implement or enforce section 352.19 of title 9, Code of Federal Regulations.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Find your one U.S. representative. Find your 2 U.S. senators here. Call your U.S. rep and senators now and urge them to support the Agriculture Committee bill with defunding of horse inspections and stop horse slaughter for human consumption in the U.S.
Defunding ante-mortem inspections for equines in a FY 2006 appropriations act led to the shuttering of horse slaughter plants in the U.S. that could not as a result operate legally. The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Appropriations Act, 2006, Pub. L. 109-97, § 794, 119 Stat. 2120, 2164 which became law on November 10, 2005, contained a provision that de-funded ante-mortem inspections of equines. The de-funding of the ante-mortem inspections continued until 2011.
In that year the House of Representatives voted to continue de-funding, but the Senate version of the agriculture appropriations bill did not contain any language de-funding the ante-mortem inspections. In the Conference Committee formed to reconcile the House of Representatives and Senate versions of the appropriations bills, Conference Committee Chair Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) voted to reject de-funding of inspections for horses for slaughter for human consumption. Only Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) voted to support continued de-funding of the inspections. The Conference Report, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012, Pub. Law No. 112-55, H.R. 2112, became law on November 18, 2011.
Since then it has been legal to operate horse slaughter facilities in the U.S. where it is not prohibited by state law. A USDA permit or approval is required, however. To date, only one facility appears set to obtain such approval. That facility owned by Valley Meat Co. is located in southern New Mexico. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has said the facility will be approved to begin slaughtering horses unless Congress acts to defund the required ante-mortem inspections.
WHAT ELSE YOU CAN DO
Call President Obama at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/write-or-call#call and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack at 202-720-3631, and urge them to take the lead in assuring the appropriations law for FY 2014 defunds ante-mortem inspections for equines.