Monday, January 21, 2008

Bill would ban transport, sale, purchase, donation of horses for slaughter for human consumption

Since October, the closure of horse slaughterhouses in the U.S. has been blamed for a crisis in care for many horses, along with drought, amateur breeding and other factors. But opponents of killing horses for meat anywhere are pressing their case in Congress, on the heels of an initial legislative victory, reports the Washington bureau of The Courier-Journal.

"Buried deep within the government spending bill Congress passed last month is a provision that effectively bans horse slaughter in the United States. The measure bars the U.S. Department of Agriculture from collecting fees to pay for horse meat inspections, without which slaughter can't legally continue," James R. Carroll writes.

Now a sponsor of that measure has "legislation that would ban the transport, sale, purchase or donation of horses to be slaughtered for human consumption. The idea would be to permanently prohibit the practice nationwide and also prevent horses from being taken to other countries for slaughter." Republican Rep. Ed Whitfield of Western Kentucky's 1st District told Carroll, "The problem now is that people are moving more of the horses to Mexico, where the slaughter process is even worse than it was in the U.S." The bill's other primary co-sponsor is Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois. The Senate also has a bill.

Carroll reports, "Some agriculture organizations, like the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, worry that banning horse slaughter is the first step in animal activists' plans to outlaw the processing of other meat. The bill is supported by the Humane Society of the United States, which "released a video report in September that it prepared on the horse slaughter industry in Mexico." (Read more)


Juli Thorson said...

Please see my blog post on this very subject, entitled "Things I See Coming":

If this legislation passes, effectively closing the door on horses' base-price value for food and other tangibles, the horse will become the only form of livestock to HAVE no base-price value. The FREE horse will become the new value floor--which is already occurring.

Furthermore, we have no environmentally sound alternative in place for the disposal of equine remains. As I mention in my blog post, every horse, whether people care to acknowledge it or not, eventually becomes a half-ton carcass that must be dealt with in some fashion. Those clamoring for so-called "humane euthanasia" of horses have no idea of the toxicity produced by the chemicals used for euthanasia by injection.

Lawmakers and voters need to be made aware of the unintended consequences of this proposed legislation.

vicki said...

The language is not new. It was in previous bills. Remember when the USDA came up with their scheme to let the kill houses pay for the inspections? That reopened the kill houses and was challenged and eventually proven illegal and eventually shut down the kill houses in Texas. It took a new law in Illinois to finally shut down Cavel.

There are two options that come to mind for disposing of a horse remains. If burial isn’t an option, the horse can be rendered or cremated. Before you start on the cost, if they can afford to care for a horse for one month, they can afford euthanasia and rendering. The cost is less or equal to the cost of one month’s care. One question comes to mind, shouldn’t you be prepared to care for a horse in life and in death before you get one?

BTW-the vast majority of Americans do not view horses as livestock. They are not raised or bred as food animals in the US and you cannot buy or sell horsemeat for human consumption. That law was passed many years ago.

Your blog does not address the real issue of over breeding. Instead of trying to promote slaughter, why not address the issue and offer solutions on how to educate owners and BYBs on needing to have the means to care for their animals before they bring more into the population? What about the hay shortage and cost of what is available? Don’t you think that could be responsible for the downturn? After all, if you can’t afford to feed your horse(s) you’re not going to buy more – yes?? And they certainly shouldn’t be breeding if they can’t afford to care for what they currently own.

Al Cross said...

Just to clarify, language that prohibited using federal funds to pay for inspections was proposed by the sponsors a few years ago, but was circumvented by a USDA reg allowing the abbatoirs to pay for the inspections. Now that there are no abbatoirs, the sponsors have the advantage and are pressing it.