The Congress passed, and the President signed the new budget, effectively banning horse slaughter once again by cutting funding for USDA inspections at horse slaughter facilities. Congress did this very same thing in 2006, an action which effectively closed all horse processing plants in the country. Much has happened between then and now.
In 2011, the highly respected General Accounting Office (GAO)—Congress’s own watchdog agency—reported bluntly to Congress that their funding cut and the resultant plant closures actually had the opposite effect from that intended. The GAO told Congress that horses were now traveling further (to Mexico and Canada) and in many cases were slaughtered under worse conditions than before, and that their legislation had harmed horse welfare.
After receiving that report, in 2011 Congress reinstated the funding for USDA inspections, opening the door for a resumption of horse processing in this country. As a result of that action, the USDA recently gave approval for the opening of horse slaughter plants in New Mexico and Missouri. However, lawsuits filed by animal rights activists repeatedly delayed those openings.
"Americans do not want to see scarce tax dollars used to oversee an inhumane, disreputable horse slaughter industry," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). "We don't have dog and cat slaughter plants in the U.S. catering to small markets overseas, and we shouldn't have horse slaughter operations for that purpose, either."
HSUS and the Obama administration both lobbied to end horse slaughter in the U.S. Yet unsolved, however, is the issue of how to humanely cope with the more than 100,000 unwanted and abandoned horses that used to pass through those processing facilities each year.
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Posted January 15, 2014