What's Happenin'

A Sidelines blog

House Appropriations Committee Votes to Block Horse Slaughter From Resuming on U.S. Soil

June 14, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

WASHINGTON (June 13, 2013)—The U.S. House Appropriations Committee has voted to block funding for inspections at prospective horse slaughter plants, which if it survives the entire legislative process, would halt any effort to resume slaughter for these animals on U.S. soil. The committee backed, by a voice vote, an amendment to the agriculture appropriations bill offered by Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va., and Bill Young, R-Fla., to forbid spending by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on inspections U.S. horse slaughter plants in Fiscal Year 2014. A similar spending prohibition was put in place in 2005, however, it was not renewed in 2011, leading to the opportunity for horse slaughter plants to reopen in the U.S at the estimated annual expense of 5 million taxpayer dollars.

horses

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, issued the following response:

“American taxpayers don’t want their money wasted on the inspection of horse slaughter plants that trade in the tainted meat of our former show, race and work horses. The federal budget is already strapped, and we thank the House Appropriations Committee for recognizing that this is one expenditure we will all do better without. Horses belong on the range or in the stable, not on a foreign dinner plate.”

Background:

  • President Obama’s proposed FY 2014 budget included a request for Congress to prevent tax dollars from supporting horse slaughter.
  • Currently, there are no horse slaughter facilities operating in the U.S., but USDA confirms it had received at least six applications from prospective abattoirs.
  • American horses are raised to be companions, athletes and work horses. They are often treated with drugs, both legal and illegal, that can endanger the food supply. There is currently no system in the U.S. to track medications and veterinary treatments given to horses throughout their lives to ensure that their meat is safe for human consumption.
  • “Kill buyers” gather up horses from random sources and profit by selling horsemeat from healthy horses that bring the best price per pound for their meat. USDA reports show that approximately 92 percent of American horses going to slaughter are healthy and would otherwise be able to go on to lead productive lives.
  • The methods used to kill horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as horses often endure repeated blows to make them unconscious and are sometimes remain conscious during the slaughtering process. When horse slaughter plants previously operated in the U.S., the USDA documented severe injuries to horses in the slaughter pipeline, including broken bones and eyeballs hanging from a thread of skin.
  • The Safeguard American Food Exports Act, H.R. 1094 / S. 541, introduced this year by U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Reps. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., is a bipartisan measure that would outlaw horse slaughter operations in the U.S., end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat.

Media Contact: Stephanie Twining, 240-751-3943, stwining@humanesociety.org

Subscribe to Wayne Pacelle’s blog, A Humane Nation. Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your Apple or Android device by searching for our “Humane TV” app.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, rated the most effective by its peers. Since 1954, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. We rescue and care for tens of thousands of animals each year, but our primary mission is to prevent cruelty before it occurs. We’re there for all animals, across America and around the world. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty – on the Web at humanesociety.org.


White House Recommends Removal of Horse Slaughter Funding in Proposed 2014 Budget

April 11, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

Animal welfare organizations support move to block spending

 

WASHINGTON (April 10, 2013)—Congress could once again ban the use of federal funds to inspect horse slaughter plants in the United States if it follows the lead of the White House—a move that is strongly supported by The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI). President Obama’s FY 2014 budget proposal includes a request for Congress to block spending by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to inspect U.S. horse slaughter plants. A similar spending prohibition was put in place in 2005, which effectively shut the door to the grisly horse slaughter industry on U.S. soil. However, it was not renewed in 2011, leading to the potential for horse slaughter plants to reopen in the U.S at the expense of American taxpayers.

 

There are no horse slaughter facilities operating in the U.S., but the USDA confirms it has received at least six applications and is processing those requests. Humane organizations oppose the slaughter of American horses for human consumption because the practice is inherently cruel to horses. Additionally, horse meat poses a potential human health risk, as horses are not raised for food in the U.S. and are consequently treated with a wide range of drugs that are not approved for use in animals intended for human consumption.

 

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, said: “It’s a fool’s errand to inspect tainted horse meat, and this Administration is wise to reject that path and to embrace the idea, even indirectly, that horses belong in the stable and not on the table.”

 

Nancy Perry, senior vice president of the ASPCA, said: “It is wonderful to see our government taking steps to ensure American horses are not slaughtered on our own soil for foreign demand, especially in light of the daily news from Europe about the horrors of discovering horse meat in their food supply from co-mingling with beef in tainted food products. Wasting tax dollars on cruel and dangerous practices makes no sense, and we urge Congress to adopt this budget cut.”

 

Chris Heyde, deputy director of government and legal affairs for the AWI, said: “Now that the administration has taken this important step toward ending horse abuse, reducing the size of the federal government, and saving taxpayer dollars, we urge Congress to swiftly ensure this widely supported language is maintained when sent back to the president for his signature later this year. Given the serious fiscal choices facing our elected officials in Washington, restoring an unpopular foreign driven horse slaughter industry that only serves to drain taxpayers’ money every year, this should be the easiest spending cut they can approve.”

 

The Safeguard American Food Exports Act, H.R. 1094 / S. 541, introduced this year by U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Reps. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., is a bipartisan measure that would prevent the introduction of horse slaughter operations in the U.S., end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat.

 

Background:

• American horses are raised to be companions, athletes and work horses. They are often treated with drugs, both legal and illegal, that can endanger the food supply. There is currently no system in the U.S. to track medications and veterinary treatments given to horses throughout their lives to ensure that their meat is safe for human consumption.

• “Kill buyers” gather up horses from random sources and profit by selling horse meat from healthy horses that bring the best price per pound for their meat. USDA reports show that approximately 92 percent of American horses going to slaughter are healthy and would otherwise be able to go on to lead productive lives.

• The methods used to kill horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as horses often endure repeated blows to render them unconscious, and sometimes remain conscious during the slaughtering process. When horse slaughter plants previously operated in the U.S., the USDA documented severe injuries to horses incurred during their long-distance transport to slaughter plants in unsafe, overcrowded trailers, including broken bones and eyeballs hanging from their sockets by a thread of skin.

 

Media Contacts: HSUS: Stephanie Twining, 301-258-1491, stwining@humanesociety.org

ASPCA: Maureen Linehan, 646-706-4602, Maureen.Linehan@aspca.org

AWI: Chris Heyde, 202-446-2142, chris@awionline.org

 

About the HSUS

Subscribe to Wayne Pacelle’s blog, A Humane Nation. Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your Apple or Android device by searching for our “Humane TV” app.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, rated the most effective by its peers. Since 1954, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. We rescue and care for tens of thousands of animals each year, but our primary mission is to prevent cruelty before it occurs. We’re there for all animals, across America and around the world. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty – on the Web at humanesociety.org.

 

About the ASPCA®

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

About AWI

The Animal Welfare Institute (www.awionline.org) is a non-profit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry, and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere—in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates and other important animal protection news.

 

Animal Welfare Groups, New Mexico Leaders Express Great Disappointment in USDA’s Decision to Process Application for Horse Slaughter Plant Inspections

March 03, 2013 By: janwest Category: What's Happenin'

WASHINGTON (March 1, 2013) – The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), Front Range Equine Rescue and Animal Protection of New Mexico strongly criticized a decision by the Obama administration to process an application for inspecting horse slaughter at a New Mexico facility on the grounds that killing horses for human consumption is inhumane and creates a serious health risk to consumers.

 

If the application is approved, Valley Meat Company LLC will be the first facility in the U.S. to slaughter horses for human consumption since 2007, when the few remaining plants closed after Congress chose to eliminate funding for horse meat inspections. This surprising move toward reopening a horse slaughter plant plays out against a scandal unfolding in the European Union, where consumers have been alarmed by the discovery in prepared food products of horse meat mislabeled as beef. The federal government could potentially spend its resources to open new horse slaughter plants at a time when the sequestration is looming and spending cuts could affect food safety inspections for U.S. meat products.

 

Legitimate concerns about the health risks associated with consuming the meat of horses that are often treated with drugs that are prohibited for use in animals slaughtered for food, as well as the discovery of these drugs in horse meat exported from Canada and Mexico, have prompted The HSUS and Humane Society International to call for a moratorium on the sale in the EU of the meat of horses of U.S. origin.

 

“Slaughtering horses for human consumption is archaic, inhumane, and unsafe, given the medicine chest of drugs often administered to horses and prohibited for human consumption,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. “It is astonishing that we may see the resumption of horse slaughter on U.S. soil while Europe is still reeling from a horse meat scandal. Have we not learned anything about the industry’s deception in Europe and the turmoil it has caused?”

 

“If the USDA moves forward with allowing the cruel and toxic horse slaughter industry to enter our country, this administration is leading our nation in precisely the wrong direction,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations.  “Recent polling shows that 80 percent of the American public overwhelmingly opposes the slaughtering of horses for human consumption, and given the current firestorm of concern and outrage over horse meat entering the food supply in Europe, it is time for Congress to prevent even one more American horse from suffering this terrible fate and stop horse slaughter in the U.S. once and for all.”

 

“The slaughter of American horses for meat is an unnecessary and tragic end for these icons of our nation’s history,” said Hilary Wood, president of Front Range Equine Rescue. “American horses will suffer cruel deaths in New Mexico and will continue to be slaughtered abroad. Horse slaughter also brings a potentially toxic environmental threat to the state, with horses’ lives ending with a terrifying death, to be turned into an expensive and possibly toxic dinner.”

 

“New Mexicans have repeatedly rejected the idea of a horse slaughter plant in our state,” said Lisa Jennings, executive director of Animal Protection of New Mexico. “Horses are a valuable part of our heritage, and we’re determined to develop a robust safety net for them, not condemn them to slaughter.”

 

“I still oppose the opening of a horse slaughtering plant in New Mexico, and I am concerned about the impact it would have on local consumers,” said New Mexico’s Attorney General, Gary K. King. “The horse meat scandal in Europe has raised concerns about human health risks associated with consuming the meat of U.S. horses. Many horses may have been treated with drugs prohibited by U.S. and European regulations from ever being administered to animals that enter the food chain. A horse slaughtering plant in our state that produces meat for human consumption is still a bad idea.”

 

“As a veterinarian, natural resource manager, and someone who has had the great good fortune to grow up with and around horses, I am very concerned about their health and safety. If a horse is hurt, terminally ill, or has no chance to find a loving home, then humane euthanasia is an important option,” said New Mexico State Land Commissioner Ray Powell, D.V.M. “I am told the United States Department of Agriculture is considering the proposal to open a horse slaughtering facility in our state. Since we do not have enough unwanted horses in New Mexico to make this economically viable, it means horses would be trucked in from across the nation. We do not have the safeguards and oversight in place to ensure their humane handling, transport, and euthanasia. New Mexico can do much better by these intelligent and gentle creatures and I strongly oppose this ill-conceived proposal.”

 

Horses are not raised for slaughter in the U.S. and are often treated with a variety of drugs that are prohibited for use in animals slaughtered for human consumption. There is no system in the U.S. to track medications given to horses to ensure that horse meat is safe for human consumption. The HSUS and Front Range Equine Rescue have petitioned the USDA and Food and Drug Administration to declare American horse meat unfit for human consumption because of this food safety issue. The FDA and USDA have not yet responded to the petitions.

 

The HSUS and Front Range Equine Rescue have already announced their intention to file suit if USDA approves Valley Meat’s application.

 

When Valley Meat sued the USDA to speed up the processing of its application to slaughter horses for human consumption, groups in the U.S. beef industry intervened in support of Valley Meat. With beef sales waning in Europe in the wake of the horse meat scandal, it is surprising that beef producers are willing to risk consumer confidence in the entire U.S. meat industry just to prop up a marginalized horse slaughter trade.

 

This decision by USDA adds further to the burden on U.S. taxpayers – already apprehensive under the looming threat of spending cuts to meat inspection programs as a result of sequestration – who will be forced to fund inspections at the horse slaughter facility even though Americans do not consume horse meat and oppose the slaughter of American horses. The HSUS, ASPCA, FRER and APNM urge Congress to reintroduce and swiftly pass legislation to outlaw horse slaughter in the U.S. and ban the export of live horses across our borders to be slaughtered.