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10 June 2011 Issue

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House Appropriations Committee Adopts Amendment to De-fund USDA Inspections of Horse Slaughter Plants

UPDATE (5/31/11, 6:30 p.m.): Your calls did it! The House of Representatives Appropriations Committee voted 24 to 21 in favor of Congressman Jim Moran’s amendment to the 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill to de-fund USDA inspections of horse slaughter plants. Without funding for federal meat inspections, horse slaughter plants cannot operate in the U.S. The Appropriations Bill must still pass the full House and Senate, so the battle to protect America’s horses
including our cherished mustangs is far from over. But this small victory is an important first step to preventing the re-establishment of horse slaughter plants in the U.S.

Thanks to all who called the Appropriations Committee today! And a special thanks to Congressman Moran, a longtime defender of America’s wild horses and burros, and the 23 other House Members who stood up for America’s horses by supporting the Moran Amendment.

- The AWHPC Team

One of the biggest threats to the tens of thousands of wild horses who have been removed from the range and are stockpiled in holding facilities is the prospect of being sent to slaughter to supply foreign demand for horse meat. Your action is needed today to protect the mustangs and all American horses from this horrific fate.

Late this afternoon, the House Appropriations Committee will vote on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill. For the first time since 2005, this bill does not include language to de-fund USDA inspections of horse slaughter facilities. No horse slaughter plants currently operate in the U.S., and none can re-open in the absence of USDA inspections. If the Congress provides federal funds for required inspections, it would open the door for foreign investors to re-establish horse slaughter plants on American soil.

To prevent this, Congressman Jim Moran will introduce an amendment to restore the prohibition on putting USDA inspectors in horse slaughterhouses.

As soon as possible, please call the members of the House Appropriations Committee listed below and ask them to support the Moran Amendment. If you cannot call every member, then please call as many as you can, making sure to call your Representative (if he or she is on the committee) as well as committee members from your state.

America’s Horses Need You to be Their Voice.


“Hello, I’m calling to urge Rep.____ to vote in favor of the Moran Amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations Bill that will prohibit funding for USDA inspections of horse slaughter plants. American taxpayers cannot afford to subsidize foreign companies that want to open horse slaughter plants on American soil to supply foreign markets and cause extreme pain and suffering for America’s horses in the process. Thank you.”

(All numbers: Area Code 202)
Harold D. Rogers, KY, 225-4601
C.W. Bill Young, FL, 225-5961
Jerry Lewis, CA, 225-5861
Frank Wolf, VA, 225-5136
Rodney Frelinghuysen, NJ, 225-5034
Robert B. Aderholt, AL, 225-4876
Ander Crenshaw, FL, 225-2501
Rodney Alexander, LA, 225-8490
Ken Calvert, CA, 225-1986
Steve LaTourette, OH, 225-5731
Mario Diaz-Balart, FL, 225-4211
Charles Dent, PA, 225-6411
Norm Dicks, WA, 225-5916
Marcy Kaptur, OH, 225-4146
Pete Visclosky, IN, 225-2461
Nita Lowey, NY, 225-6506
Jose Serrano, NY, 225-4361
Rosa DeLauro, CT, 225-3661
Jim Moran, VA, 225-4376
John Olver, MA, 225-5335
David Price, NC, 225-1784
Maurice Hinchey, NY, 225-6335
Lucille Roybal-Allard, CA, 225-1766
Sam Farr, CA, 225-2861
Jesse Jackson, IL, 225-0773
Chaka Fattah, PA, 225-4001
Steve Rothman, NJ, 225-5061
Barbara Lee, Ca, 225-2661
Adam Schiff, CA, 225-4176
Betty McCollum, MN, 225-6631


(Photo provided courtesy of the Animal Welfare Institute )

Since 2005, the annual Agriculture Appropriations Bill included language de-funding federal inspection of horsemeat and horses for slaughter for human consumption.

This year that language has not been included for Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations, but horse-friendly Congresspersons will be offering an amendment to add it. The amendment needs support so make your calls today. Here is some information that may be helpful:

On the FY2006 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, Representatives John Sweeney (R-NY), Spratt (D-SC) and Whitfield (R-KY) offered an amendment to eliminate federal funding for the inspection of horsemeat required by federal law for horses being slaughtered for human consumption. This amendment passed 269-158. The Senate overwhelmingly approved a similar amendment in the Senate sponsored by the late Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) and Senator John Ensign (R-NV).

Funding federal inspection of horse slaughter plants is fiscally irresponsible. Only foreign corporations, which deal in horsemeat for consumption by wealthy foreign gourmands overseas, would benefit from federal inspection of horse slaughter plants. Funding these inspections will only benefit foreign markets at the expense of American taxpayers and will add to the size of the federal deficit. Precious federal dollars should be conserved and put to better use by funding worthy domestic programs, including those programs that ensure the safety of food that is consumed in our country.

Inspecting horse slaughter facilities is a federal responsibility. Horse slaughter is a federally regulated industry. Opponents claim that slaughtering horses for human consumption is a states’ rights issue. The slaughtering of any animal for human consumption in the U.S. is a federally regulated process. This is the same for beef, hogs or other livestock (Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 603); Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 1901). In addition, since horses sent to slaughter come from all 50 states, and horsemeat is not consumed in the U.S., it must be hauled across state lines and the over the U.S. border. Prior to the closure of the horse slaughter plants in the U.S., very few of the horses slaughtered in a state actually came from that state. Further, if federally-funded inspections were to begin, none of the meat would be consumed in the state where a horse was slaughtered, as we do not consume horsemeat in this country. Lastly, if a horse slaughter plant were to open in the U.S., the plant would slaughter horses transported across state lines, including horses from states strongly opposed to horse slaughter. A state should have the “right” to protect its own horses from slaughter.

Live horses benefit the U.S. economy. The horse industry (racing, showing, eventing, etc.) bring billions of dollars to the U.S. economy each year. While selling a 5-year-old horse to slaughter might bring $50 to a killer buyer, and more to the foreign investor, keeping that horse alive and in the local economy will bring far greater return for years to come in income and job growth.

Horses sent to slaughter are healthy and robust, not “unwanted.” The USDA estimates that 92.3 percent of the horses being sent to slaughter are healthy and can continue to be productive animals they are not old or infirm.

American horsemeat poses a serious risk to human health. Horses in the U.S. are not raised as food animals, so while their flesh may be considered a delicacy by foreign gourmands, it poses serious risks to human health. According to a recent Food and Chemical Toxicology report, substances routinely given to American horses cause dangerous adverse effects in humans. If federally funded inspections were to begin, not only would taxpayer dollars be needed to inspect these facilities, but additional funding would be required to enforce transport regulations and increased food safety testing as required by new European Union mandates.

Horse slaughter for human consumption is a cruel process and one that should not be practiced here in the U.S. Americans do not eat horsemeat. Over 70 percent of the country believes that this is a cruel and unnecessary practice.

Approximately 100,000 American horses are exported to slaughter each year. There are 9 million horses in the U.S. Of the 900,000 horses that die annually, approximately 100,000 are sent to Mexico and Canada for slaughter for human consumption by foreign gourmands. Despite claims made by horse slaughterhouse lobbyists, each year the same number of American horses are slaughtered that were slaughtered when U.S. based plants were in operation. Our horses are simply being hauled to a location outside of the U.S. for slaughter for human consumption. The closure of the horse slaughter plants in the U.S. have not led to an increase in “unwanted” horses, as the same number of horses are being slaughtered now that were prior to the closure of the plants in the U.S.

Slaughter is not humane euthanasia. The average cost to humanely euthanize a horse by a licensed veterinarian is $225, roughly the same cost that it takes to feed and shelter a horse for one month. Properly euthanizing a horse is not cost-prohibitive and is what the vast majority of Americans choose to do with their horses at the end of their lives.

This de-funding language must be retained! This de-funding language has prevented horse slaughter plants in the U.S. from operating, and any new facilities from opening, which is why it is crucial in eliminating this cruel practice in the U.S. This de-funding language has been included in every Agriculture Appropriations bill since FY06. Americans taxpayers should not be forced to foot the bill for this unnecessary practice now, or ever.


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