Source: By Debra Zimmerman Murphey of WeMakeItNews.com
“public backlash has triggered grassroots and national attention…on horse slaughter“
For the first time on the policy front, and through the Obama White House, the United States Department of Agriculture’s proposed upcoming budget supports an initiative to defund horse meat inspections in the United States.
Previously, this kind of action had not been initiated by the executive branch, according to U.S. Congressman Jim Moran’s office. But as news of horse slaughter starting again in America intensifies, a public backlash has triggered grassroots and national attention. The announcement regarding the USDA’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget request, which does not include future funding for horse meat inspections, came last week.
“The USDA’s inclusion of language to defund horse slaughter inspections in the Fiscal Year 2014 budget request is an important step in the right direction. This decision reflects the food-safety concerns inherent to horse meat and is consistent with the 80 percent of the American people who oppose this inhumane industry. It is now up to Congress to do the right thing and vote to approve this language in the Fiscal Year 2014 Agriculture Appropriations bill,” Moran said.
But Moran also points out that Congress has the “power of the purse” and there will be a battle regarding approving the defunding policy. He acknowledges that the pro-slaughter lobby is strong, but is hopeful that members of the public will let their elected officials know that horse slaughter is inhumane and that they do not want to financially support this kind of business sector.
Moran (D-Va.), a vocal opponent of horse slaughter, had requested just weeks ago in a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack that the USDA include defunding language in its upcoming budget as a way of stopping horse slaughter in our country. In that letter, Moran raised several concerns about horse slaughter resuming in America and the meat from butchered horses being shipped abroad and sold for human consumption. His reservations include public-health issues, such as people eating potentially toxic horse meat, and pressing budget matters.
Word from the White House — LISTEN to Part 1 of Moran interview
The Meat of the Issue — LISTEN to Part 2 of Moran interview
Indeed, Moran’s push now is even more urgent as the horse slaughter landscape has drastically shifted in recent months:
- Oklahoma passed legislation that ends a 50-year ban on horse slaughter.
- There are pending applications with the USDA for horse meat inspections at proposed horse slaughter plants in Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee, and one for a facility in New Mexico which filed a lawsuit and whose owner is awaiting the go-ahead to open the first horse slaughter operation in the United States since 2007 (sources: Bloomberg, The New York Times and Front Range Equine Rescue).
- The horse slaughter debate takes on a new intensity in light of a mounting controversy in Europe over mislabeled meat products, including those containing trace amounts of horse meat, and what creeps into the global food-chain.
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- Sharp drop in US horses going to slaughter in Mexico (horsetalk.co.nz)
- Oklahoma Lawmakers Ramming Horse Slaughter Bill Down Constituent’s Throats (rtfitchauthor.com)
- Obama Moves to Block Horse Slaughter (rtfitchauthor.com)
- Moran Calls on USDA to Deny Horse Slaughter Facility Permits (rtfitchauthor.com)
- Congressman Moran Statement on Reports of Horse Slaughter Plants Reopening (rtfitchauthor.com)