Horse Slaughter Could Return Under USDA Funding Bill

by | 07.08.2015 | 7:23pm

The American Horse Council reports that the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved its version of the FY 2016 Agriculture Appropriations bill.  This bill provides funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the 2016 fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2015 through Sept. 30, 2016). The bill contains several provisions that impact the horse industry, including funding for USDA equine health activities and enforcement of the Horse Protection Act.

FY 2016 House USDA Appropriations
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Equine Health
The bill would provide $871 million for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). APHIS is the USDA agency responsible for protecting and promoting U.S. agricultural health, including responding to contagious equine disease outbreaks. Funding for Equine, Cervid, and Small Rumiant health would be set at $19.5 million, this is the same amount that was appropriated in FY 2015.

Horse Slaughter
Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA) offered an amendment to prohibit funding for USDA inspections at U.S. horse slaughter facilities that was defeated in a 24-24 vote. Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-AL) spoke in opposition to the amendment.  Such a prohibition would have prevented horse slaughter facilities from operating in the U.S. had it been included in the bill.

Currently, No horse slaughter facilities are operating in the U.S and a prohibition on funding for inspectors at such facilities from last year's FY 2015 USDA bill remains in effect until September 30, 2015. Once that prohibition expires, USDA will be required to provide inspectors and horse slaughter facilities if any were to open.

A similar defunding amendment could still be offered when the bill is debated by the full House or when the Senate begins work on their version of the USDA appropriations bill.

Horse Protection Act
The bill provides $697,000 for enforcement of the Horse Protection Act. This is the same amount that was appropriated in FY 2015.

The bill must now be approved by the full House.

  • Piquetour

    No horse slaughter in the USA. We are better than that.

    • Concerned Observer

      You should travel the back roads a little, in order to see so many emaciated but breathing equine skeletons, standing in a sea of mud, nothing to eat, standing among rusty old piles of scrap and wood, drinking out of mud holes. Then you might not be so opposed to this method. Or “YOU” could personally adopt a few million of them.

      • jrstark

        Why do you think our food supply should be a dumping ground for “emaciated but breathing” skeletons?

        • bobby

          if you don’t wanna eat horse meat then don’t buy it, the most likely thing the industry will do with the meat is send it to a country that consumes horse meat on a regular basis… WE ARE NOT THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD YOU KNOW. hell that will even bring more money to this country from over seas to help our economy… just because we have a kill facility here does not mean the government is going to force you to eat the horses.

          • jrstark

            Meat processing has gone international, that is how US horses ended up being sold as beef in Europe. It is now cheaper to send chickens to China for processing, then back here as an ingredient. Are you going to pay for DNA testing for all frozen dinners in the US? The meat industry is against country of origin labeling, so you won’t even know that ground “beef” you buy came from Mexico and is cut with horsemeat.

          • Jasmine A Vaught

            Well they are OUR COUNTRIES horses, and we are NOT RESPONSIBLE TO SUPPLY HORSE MEAT TO THEM OR ANYONE. THOSE PEOPLE WHO WILL EAT horsemeat ARE NOT GOING TO BE STARVING, INDIGENT PEOPLE, THEY WEILL BE RICH ONES WHOSE MONEY ALLOWS THEM TO EAT HORSE, SHARK FINS, AND OTHER ENDANGERED SPECIES JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN. Since when did we get so caring about feeding the poor, and starving of other countries?

        • katwalk

          Why would meat buyers buy an emaciated skeleton, there’s plenty of horses out there they don’t have to feed that can be sent to slaughter. . . . Those emaciated skeletons should be euthanized.

          • jrstark

            Actually the latest scam is they buy them so they can blackmail generous individuals on social media – “needs bail by tomorrow or he goes on the truck”

          • Jasmine A Vaught

            And the people who let them get that way should be made to volunteer to help out rescues, or go to jail, for allowing such a thing to happen. There should be consequences for animal abuse and big one’s so it does not continue!

      • Piquetour

        I adopted 2. What did you do?

        • Concerned Observer

          I take care of the ones I own and don’t acquire any more that I do not plan to care for…..but this is a much bigger problem.

          Just like giving a homeless person a dollar is not a solution to that problem, I just don’t think adoption can realistically deal with the size and scope of this unwanted horse issue.

          Wish it could…but i don’t think so.

        • Deb Curtis Olivas

          Adopting two, while great, is only a drop in the bucket.

        • bobby

          California girl2, you are correct… the slaughter will not do anything to change how people treat their horses, however let me ask you a question.. which would you treat better, a penny or a $100 bill? right now horses cant be given away if they are sick, old or broken down because there is nothing we can do with them besides feed them and look at them. the only horses that are still helping the industry are those who are sold for working ability or performance ability. the ponies and pasture ornaments are worthless when trying to get rid of them… so when you loose your job and no long have the money to feed your horse what do you do? do you take it to the sale barn where they charge you to sale it plus charge you for a health test all for it to go for $15 if even sold at all? even thought it sold for 15$ you still have to pay the 50$ for the health test plus the 5% or 25$ min commission that the barn charges plus the fuel in your truck to get it there…. you end up loosing 100$ out of your own pocket to give away a horse, what person is going to do that? no one so they leave the horse at their house to die there because for some one who is broke, its cheaper that way because no one will take a free horse right now

          • katwalk

            You know, I think it’s safe to say that if $500 is “over the edge” for you, you can’t afford a horse. Any required vet bill on any given day could easily top that. And $500 is a pretty reasonable amount for euthanasia and body disposal. If you can’t afford to humanely put a horse down, you shouldn’t own one in the first place. It’s responsible ownership that is the issue.

      • CaliforniaGirl2

        If you do some research you will learn that having slaughter in the U.S. has NO effect on how people treat their horses. Neglect and abandonment were rampant even though slaughter was an option. Heck, slaughter is legal in Canada and people still neglect their horses.

      • Jasmine A Vaught

        SO what are you saying that only emaciated, starving horses are going to slaughter? All the more reason to NOT have slaughter. There is no money in it for anyone in your example. So now people can just get a horse, treat it like crap and then sell it, or heaven forbid, breed it for more neglected horses to make a few bucks? People who should NOT have any animals or children for that fact should not be the reason that horse slaughter be allowed. I don’t get how that is any kind of answer. And no II didn’t adopt a horse because I don’t have the money to care for one or I would adopt as many as I could. However I did sponsor rescues for a few years when I was making more money, and gave money to as many rescues as I could afford too.

  • Pop n Go

    The best thing that could happen for horse well fare in the U. S.
    Trainers that continue to have on track catastrophic injuries are much bigger problem.

  • Tres Abagados Stupidos

    Horse slaughter is happening. Whether you like it or not. Not in U.S. (officially) but It is happening in Canada and Mexico. Not sure how humane the process is in Canada but the process in Mexico is very brutal and barbaric. I have seen it first hand. As a person who has owned multiple horses for over 30 years it literally made me sick to my stomach. Approving slaughter in the U.S. and having regulations that have to be met for the humane destroying of these unwanted animals would be so much better than what lies ahead for those that are now headed south of the border.

    • jrstark

      US horses are being shipped by the same contract buyers to the same slaughterhouse owners who were formerly in the US. It was NOT any more humane when they were based here. The minimal regulations were not followed. There is no way to make it humane. Even the one case of Sugarcreek owner Leroy Baker finally being fined for grotesque transportation violations has never been paid.

  • Piquetour

    Ther has to be a more humane solution.

    • idavis

      Euthanize the ill, uncared for horses. Much more humane than slaughter houses.

  • One_Jackal

    I would like to think that all horse owners are responsible people who care for their horses their entire natural life. But we all know that all horse owners are not responsible. Lets not pretend that horse slaughter doesn’t happen. We need to allow horse slaughter under USDA supervision. Why send the jobs and tax revenue out of the USA?

    • jrstark

      What tax revenue? The Belgian slaughterhouse rig their subsidiaries so the profit is realized overseas. Dallas Crown paid $5 (five dollars) in taxes one year.

  • Skip Ean

    Dear Concerned: your words should be directed to the backyard breeders and the Quarterhorse industry and the massive breeding farms who toss away the rejects. Because money is more important than the life of an animal, the breeders keep breeding. They have to be stopped but again, money talks in this country, and it’s the only voice people listen to.

  • carla

    Funny 85% of Americans can’t have an anti horse slaughter say… US slaughter plants are just as inhumane….I just saw a herd of so called skinny mustangs here in Wyoming yesterday…..I grew up in this industry and if you think watching mare foal on the slaughter floor and then the baby being bludgeoned to death Is humane then your sick

    • bobby

      where have you ever seen a mare foal on the slaughter floor? please tell me what is your plans for the horse population? they cant even place the over populated wild horses that the BLM capture every year because there are to many.. so what do they do with them? they turn them loose and allow them to starve in the wild as well as starve the other wild life that shares their habitats…. and also there are laws that prohibit inhuman slaughter of live stock (equine included) and there are people who’s only job is to monitor the treatment of the animals… it is inhumane to ship these horses to a different country to be slaughtered where our regulations can not touch them… the only solution to reduce the horse population and to help the horse market is to open a kill facility here in the states and prevent horses from being shipped out of country, that way OUR PEOPLE can keep pressure on the USDA to insure that the horses are treated humanly. This will do several things for the equine industry, it will increase the value of the horse, it will depopulate the numbers, it will improve genetics, and increase the over all health of the general population. please see the bigger picture and not the one of fat and pretty horses running free on your wall, the picture on you wall is a painting and its about as real as Clifford the big red dog. horses are suffering and yall want to allow it.

      • jrstark

        There is no overpopulation of wild horses, the cattlemen and mining interests just keep taking more land away from the mustangs and the cattlemen won’t allow them on “new” land that wasn’t designated for them by Nixon.

        Increasing slaughter will do nothing for horse welfare, it will only cause increases in horses only going to slaughter. It will decrease values, because most horses are already worth more than meat price.

  • Deb Curtis Olivas

    Every one has an opinion , yet no one has a reasonably solution to the problem . There are not enough homes for plain old riding horses any more . More people need to get their kids into horses and less into soccer.

  • debbie

    The GOP has done it again failed us and all, the innocent healthy young horses and pregnant and baby’s that go to slaughter see it every single day!!!! NOT thin sick horses what a stupid Ignorant excuse to have slaughter because of thin abused horses, that’s a crock for a fact!!!!

    It’s all about money follow the money and who benefits from allowing horse slaughter to start up!!!

    Not to even mention the toxic unregulated meat!

    But we will stop this, you can count on it Mr. GOP’s!!!!

    Unbelievable and so irresponsible!!!

    In the U S of A the politicians work around MONEY as long as they benefit is all that matters!
    Way to go GOP you should be proud!
    Cause the Majority of the Amrican People are NOT!

    • idavis

      To fault the entire GOP is mindless! Get a grip!!

  • Concerned Observer

    You may have the highest ethical ideas for animal care and I sincerely applaud that. But many of you live on 50×50 lots in Tampa or San Diego or Stamford. Your altruistic motives are laudable but unrealistic. Most of these animals do not happen as the result of greedy breeders..they happen as the result of nature. Thoroughbreds are a very tiny fraction of the American horse population. So…what do we do with the thousands of untrained, uncontrollable, un-rehab-able, unwanted, and abandoned horses? How many more can you personally care for?

    The people at fault are sadly not even responsible for their own children, so why do you think we can ever get them to care for their horses?

  • bobby

    the horses that fill the orders for the slaughter facilities are the ones that are run throught the sale barns, do you honestly think that the rodeo people will sell a horse they gave $10k for for only $500 before the cost of shipping them to the facility? I know all of this because I know a few order buyers who ship horses to Canada. they give no more then $250 per horse, feed it up for a few weeks and then sell that horse to a slaughter facility in Canada for the average price of 95 cent per pound of hanging weight.. a 1200 pound horse that dresses out 60% of its live weight is what? yeah you can do the math, then the order buyer is the one who pays to feed the horses up and pays to ship them… do you really think that the stuck up rodeo people will give away a $10,000 horse for that cheap? no they sell them to kids to learn to rodeo on.

  • deprivedfed

    The slaughters need to be reinstated. There is so many mimed, sick and crippled horses that need to go. Vets charge an arm and a leg to euthanize any animal and a 22 shell is cheaper but what do you do with the carcasses? 33% of horses are shipped out of the U.S. for food right now. If I had to yes I could feed myself. Look at cows they set on your table in a plate. Meat is meat and when we realize this, maybe we can get over trying to save every last animal on earth.

    • katwalk

      An arm and a leg? How much is that? If you can’t afford to euthanize a horse, you can’t afford to own a horse. I live in an expensive part of the country outside a major metropolitan area and you can euthanize/dispose for under $500.

    • jrstark

      Slaughter only accounts for 1-2 percent, not 33 percent. As for the carcass, either bury it yourself or call the renderer.

  • deprivedfed

    My answer to ones who said render or get rid of. We have no rendering. Also people who do everything by hand cannot move the animal. So my animals if crippled or mamed or hurt beyond repair but can still walk are loaded into a trailer and take to the Wild life area zoo types and they kill them there for meat for their Lions, Tigers or Bears OH MY. The slaughters will not take care of all the unwanted animals but is another avenue for the unwanted animals that are turned out to try and make it on their own or to get rid of some of these animals that people do not know what to do with. Granted there are still collectors out there that will starve their animals but now their is another way to get rid of them. Yes it is a good thing if you would look at it from dog food way of thinking. The 33% I was talking about is animals who are shipped out for human consumption in other countries. Horse meat in other countries like France is a delicacy. The US is becoming sissified and has tunnel vision. It is as bad as saving every single piece of Wildlife they can think of, then what happens, it becomes over populated and causes all kind of trouble.

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