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Horse slaughter funding issue to go before U.S. Senate

A spending bill could allow funding for horse meat inspections for the first time since 2006.


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Chestnut HorsesCommercial slaughter of horses for human consumption has not taken place in the United States since the last equine slaughterhouse closed in 2007. While slaughter is not illegal, Congress voted in 2006 to prohibit funding for USDA horse meat inspections, effectively ending the commercial viability of horse meat production. This year, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) is hoping to change that.

In June, Baucus called for an end to the restriction on funding for horse meat inspections, citing the Government Accountability Office’s report on changes in equine welfare since the end of American horse slaughter. The GAO report concluded that equine welfare had suffered since 2007, in part due to loopholes and gaps in the system that made enforcement of welfare regulations nearly impossible. The report suggested that slaughter either be allowed and regulated within the U.S., or banned entirely with provisions to outlaw transport of horses to other countries to be slaughtered.

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a version of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for 2012 that does not have the restriction on funding for horse meat inspections. Baucus released a statement on September 9 applauding the move.

"We've seen some pretty shocking cases across Montana of horse abandonment and neglect as owners face tough economic times. This ban is a part of the problem and has resulted in the inhumane treatment of injured and sick horses along with hurting the economy. We have an opportunity here to do the right thing for our farmers and ranchers while improving the welfare of horses," he said.

Animal welfare advocates counter that equine slaughter is inherently cruel as horses are bred as sport and companion animals, not meat animals. Past research suggests that horses were subjected to cruelty in American slaughterhouses when they were still operational.

A different version of the bill that contained an amendment upholding the restriction on horse meat inspection was passed by the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee earlier this year.

The agriculture appropriations bill will go before the full Senate soon, although an official date is not known. To voice your opinion on the bill, contact your Senator by phone or email. To find your Senator, visit

Further Reading
How Humane is Horse Slaughter?
GAO releases report on horse slaughter

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Horse slaughter funding issue to go before U.S. Senate

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Reader Comments

c    p, UT

9/13/2013 2:31:49 PM

Horse slaughter is so sad! I wish it could be banished forever!

Clarissa    Provo, UT

8/12/2013 12:38:20 PM

Horse slaughter is not only cruel and inhumane to horses, it is harmful to humans as well. In its lifetime, a horse is given medications and other toxic substances that would be harmful to humans and animals that consume its meat. Horse meat is not sold in the United States, but it is exported to other countries.

Horses are beautiful, intelligent animals that bring joy and friendship into our lives. We need to protect these sensitive animals from being killed.

Horses can't speak for themselves, but we can be their voice. Let congress know that Americans won't stand by while these precious animals are butchered.
Please don't be a bystander, be a rescuer! Follow this link to act today:

Kelly    Whitehouse, OH

10/13/2012 10:22:21 AM

Perhaps on of my favorite bible verses clarifies the cruelty the horses have to endure, is this caring for the nees of the animal?
Proverbs 12:10
The righteous knoweth the life of his beast, And the mercies of the wicked are cruel.

Anita    Buckhannon, WV

4/13/2012 3:16:23 PM

They are treating horses like they are garbage. It's like they do the dog's an cat's there to many around so let's get rid of them anyway possible. I have two of my own an would do anything for them. I love going out an hear them nicker at me every time they see me. All I can say is they have to be hard up to sell them to slaughter. Its like everything else MONEY! that's all!!!!!!!!!!!

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