U.S. Senate Committee Votes to Prohibit Horse Slaughter on American Soil

Souce: ASPCA

“Taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund the inspection of facilities that contribute to the brutal slaughter of our horses,”

During yesterday’s markup of the 2016 agriculture spending bill, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved the anti-horse slaughter amendment offered by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) and co-sponsored by Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Chris Coons (D-DE). The Udall-Kirk Amendment would prevent the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from using taxpayer dollars to inspect horse slaughter facilities; without such inspections, the horse slaughter industry cannot resume in the United States.

“Horses are a symbol of the West, and they are an important part of our nation’s history and our way of life today,” said Senator Udall. “Not only is the idea of horse slaughter for human consumption abhorrent to most Americans, but USDA is already stretched too thin and doesn’t have the resources to properly oversee the industry. The practice is unnecessarily cruel and has a record of gruesome pollution and terrible conditions. New Mexicans write to me regularly to say that horse slaughter has no place in the United States. I agree and was pleased to offer this bipartisan amendment on their behalf.”

“Taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund the inspection of facilities that contribute to the brutal slaughter of our horses,” added Senator Kirk. “Illinois banned the practice of horse slaughter in 2007, and this amendment ensures that these inhumane facilities are not opened again on U.S. soil.”

Horse slaughter is inherently cruel, environmentally and economically devastating to local communities and unsafe for foreign consumers. The ASPCA thanks the Senate Appropriations Committee for recognizing that it is irresponsible and wasteful to use taxpayer dollars to fund this brutal practice. The House Appropriations Committee vote, one week ago, was a tie and did not allow the language to be inserted into the larger legislation, so having the Senate take this action is particularly encouraging.

In addition to banning funds for horse slaughter inspections, the Committee also approved a provision to improve the animal welfare policy at U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) and other federally operated agricultural research centers. Following a similar measure in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Committee’s report requires USDA to ensure that the agency’s research is adhering to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), including the necessary inspection and reporting requirements.

Dear Horse Advocate: An Open Letter from Former Mayor Paula Bacon

By Paula Bacon, former Mayor of Kaufman, TX

The Former Mayor of Kaufman, TX Gives Tips to Help the Horses

Dear Horse Advocate,

When I was mayor of a city with a horse slaughter plant, the support, information and backing of horse advocates encouraged me, strengthened my convictions— you were essential to me and frankly kept me going. I want to thank you for your advocacy for horses. It is because of you that elected officials feel compelled or wise to support a ban on horse slaughter.

You are receiving this email because of your advocacy and because one or more members of the House of Representatives from your state is a good candidate to support and/or co-sponsor H.R. 2966 banning horse slaughter.  (Click HERE to find the Members that represent YOU)

This week congressional members are in their home districts.  This is an important opportunity for us to speak to members directly rather than trying to work through young staffers in D.C. 

Can you attend a public meeting or make an appointment to meet with the member this week? Also, do you know of other advocates in your state (constituents, friends, relatives of constituents, etc., in the member’s district) who could meet with the member?

It is very important.  We need as many people as possible advocating a ban on horse slaughter to their legislators.  We have strength in numbers.

Please call one of the Congressional member’s local district offices and find out when public meetings are scheduled for the representative. Or call and make an appointment to speak with the member personally this week. At a minimum, would you call, have others call, and speak directly with the member?

May I suggest that you choose and be ready with 3 major points, keeping your message simple and straightforward. You may want to thank the member for past support, and then to mention that…

  • Recent polls show 80% of Americans support a federal ban on horse slaughter.  Results crossed gender, political affiliation, urban and rural areas and geographic location. In our current political climate of divisiveness, a horse slaughter ban has broad political consensus.
  • The cost to taxpayers is millions annually, yet the market is foreign as are plant interests/ownership.  In these difficult economic times taxpayers would be forced to subsidize an un-American market with foreign interests and ownership that pays almost nothing literally in taxes and that represents a very small number of dangerous, minimal pay jobs, and which Americans do not support. This makes no sense.
  •  99% of horse owners choose to euthanize rather than having their horse butchered; horse slaughter is not a service offered to mom & pop horse owners.
  •  Horse slaughter is not a service or euthanasia. According to the USDA, only 4% of horses at slaughter are 10 years old or older;
  • The slaughter market encourages abandonment. Recent events in the news show horses rejected at the border are being dumped by kill buyers.
  •   Bring a copy of Trent Lott’s recent article on horse slaughter.  Lott is a highly respected former Congressman. Your lawmaker is the perfect audience for Lott’s message.  http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/210585-preventing-horse-slaughter-a-personal-evolution
  •  If you have children’s letters, please share copies with the legislator; they are often very effective.

Practice your message aloud, anticipate concerns from your particular congressional representative.  A concise, effective rebuttal may be simply, ‘That makes no sense when you consider that…’ Stay COOL. Emotional doesn’t help us.

Remember to thank the legislator for past support and that you and thousands of voters look forward to him/her co-sponsoring H.R. 2966.

Thank you for your invaluable help. I apologize for not being more timely. All the same, Good luck! Please email me back with updates or if I can help you with any information.
Best regards,

Paula Bacon

“Write me, personally, for Paula’s email address at rt@rtfitch.com”~ R.T.

When it comes to America’s Horses, Honesty is Not always the Best Policy

OpEd by R.T. Fitch ~ Author/President Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Backroom Politics Plague U.S. Horse’s Future

In 2006 Congress decreed that the USDA would no longer have the funding to send inspectors into the three remaining, foreign-owned, horse slaughter plants in the United States.  No inspection, no sales and the states of Texas and Illinois were quick to follow with legislation to prohibit the slaughter of American horses for human consumption with the backing of over 70% of the U.S. public.  In May of this year, Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia, with full disclosure, on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives received the votes to add the de-funding amendment only to have it secretly and covertly removed, behind closed doors, by a small committee of U.S. Congressman.

While the pro-horse equine advocacy movement works to be transparent and above-board it appears that the anti-horse coalition uses collusion, threats, misinformation and backroom politics to subvert the system of checks and balances and worse; disregard the will of the voting, American taxpayer.

In a time when anti-horse terrorists are carrying a banner saying that things are tough for the equine industry they add more expenses to the Ag Appropriation bill while saying the closure of U.S. Slaughterhouses is why the equine industry is in a slump.  There is no mention that slaughter is still an option across our borders and that as many and often times more horses suffer the cruel fate as when foreign slaughterhouses were open in the U.S..  There is no parallel drawn to the fact that the economy has tanked since 2008 and for most of the world domesticated horses are a luxury and not a requirement by most Americans to sustain their day-to-day life.  Instead, it’s all about the foreign plants being shut down and nothing about the over-breeding exhibited by such registries as the American Quarter Horse Association.

Stepping up to the plate to misrepresent the facts and allegedly to hide their special interest backers are the disappointing Congressman who subverted public opinion and worked in secret to strip the de-funding language from the bill.

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, said he voted against Moran’s amendment to continue the ban.

Cole said numerous horse owners in his district are “pretty unanimous that they want the means to deal with an excess population.”

He said opponents of domestic horse slaughter “are letting their hearts overrule their heads.”

Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., was one of the members of a House-Senate committee who worked to strip out the amendment.

“We wanted to allow horse slaughter again in America because of an unanticipated problem with horse neglect and abandonment,” he said.

He said horse abandonment and abuse in Colorado rose to 1,588 in 2009, up from 975 in 2005.

“The number of horses exported for slaughter really just offset whatever Jim Moran thought he was going to save from slaughter,” Kingston said.

He said horse slaughter has never really stopped but simply moved to Canadian and Mexican plants.

“But we can’t monitor horse slaughter in a plant in Mexico or Canada. And so we don’t know if it’s being done humanely or not because the USDA obviously doesn’t have any jurisdiction there,” Kingston said.

“Along the way, these horses are having a rough transit. USDA does not have the jurisdiction over how the animals are treated along the way,” he said.

The bulk of Americans and pro-horse advocates obviously don’t see eye to eye with the good Congressmen.

Simone Netherlands, founder of Respect4Horses, questioned the fiscal justification for opening up horse slaughter plants.

“In this time when the focus of Congress is supposedly on reducing spending and creating jobs, it is a ludicrous measure to spend tax dollars in order to reinstate an inherently cruel predatory business, from which Americans stand to gain nothing. Horse slaughter plants operating until 2007 have never created a total of more than 178 jobs,” Netherlands said.

And, they are not good jobs, according to Paula Bacon, former mayor of Kaufman, Texas where a horse slaughter facility operated for years. “Horse slaughter means very few, very low wage jobs. This so-called business brought in virtually no tax revenues and local governments incurred substantial enforcement costs in trying to regulate these facilities. The standard of living dropped during the time horse slaughter facilities operated. Having a horse slaughter facility drove away good businesses.”

Americans don’t consume horsemeat. Polls have consistently revealed over 70% of Americans oppose horse slaughter. “It is outrageous,” says Vicki Tobin, vice president of Illinois-based Equine Welfare Alliance, “that American taxpayers would be required to subsidize foreign-owned businesses that Americans oppose and that produces meat from animals that are not raised for food”.

In addition, American horses are not raised, fed and medicated within the FDA and European Union guidelines established for food animals, making them unfit and unsafe for human consumption. Equines are given many drugs banned in food animals such as pain killers, steroids, de-wormers and ointments throughout their lives.

A 2010 study in the Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal showed a drug given routinely to equines like aspirin, phenylbutazone or Bute, is a carcinogen and can cause aplastic anemia in humans. The FDA bans bute in all food producing animals because of this serious danger to human health. The recent EU FVO reports on U.S. equines exported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter show banned drug residues and falsified drug affidavits.

(http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org/Horse_Slaughter.html)

In fact, it creates the problems it claims to solve says R.T. Fitch, founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation “As a convenient and lucrative means of disposal, Horse slaughter has created an over-population problem of horses, by enabling irresponsible breeding, and encouraging a quick turn around and dumping of horses. Very much like the housing market and the banking industry, the horse breeding industry is self-destructing by saturating the market and horse slaughter is the bail out”.

Horse Welfare Organizations wonder why breed associations continue to reward millions of dollars in breed incentives each year, while refusing to use some of that money as funds for horse rescues, funds for gelding, and funds for humane euthanasia.

“After all, there is a large market for dog and cat meat as well in China and Japan, does that mean that American tax payers should foot the bill to pay for the USDA to start inspecting dog and cat meat?” asks Richard “Kudo” Couto, founder of Animal Recovery Mission.

Equine Advocates Be Heard

Update by Vicki Tobin ~ Vice President of the Equine Welfare Alliance

Make Your Voice Count

Here is a great site to be heard. It requires registration but it is important that you comment and vote. Please keep in mind on your comments that the audience for this site is Congress so keep it short, factual and professional. You can register as an organization or as an individual. I noticed that quite a few of you have commented on our slaughter legislation since yesterday. Great comments vs the same tired illogical statements from the dark side.

It is extremely important that organizations register as they are also tracking how many organizations support or oppose legislation. We are asking all of our organization members to take a moment to register and vote.

https://www.popvox.com/

John registered EWA and I believe the only other organizations that was displayed this yesterday was Vivian Grant’s organization, Int’l Fund for Horses.  R.T. also added HfH Advisory Council.

As of now, these are the 4 bills of concern. I have also included the comments I posted underneath each bill number to get you started. In each case, I posted the voting as 7:35p central. You can view others comments by clicking on view report and comments below the pie chart as well as being able to view a US map of where the votes are coming from. As expected, Wallis is all over this…

This is for our senate legislation to ban horse slaughter. S 1176 [72% Support/28% Oppose] 380 votes

I support this legislation because…U.S. horses are not raised as food animals and are routinely given medications prohibited by the FDA and EU. We have no production records for horses and no mechanism to remove horses that are not eligible for human consumption.

In addition to protecting our horses from the documented abuse and cruelty inherent with horse slaughter, the U.S. should be taking the lead on food safety and immediately ban horse slaughter to protect the foreign consumers of U.S. horse meat.

This is for legislation to ban race day drugs – Senate S 886, House HR 1733. [not enough votes to display stats]

I support this legislation because…It benefits horses and the racing industry by ending the potential racing of horses with injuries by masking the symptoms and possibly making a minor injury, worse. It eliminates unfair advantages to horses running on drugs vs. those not using race day drugs.

This was introduced by Cynthia Lummis (WY) to limit fees and expenses that can be recovered in suits against the government – HR 1996 [68% oppose/32% Support] 96 votes

I oppose this legislation because…It is time to send a message to subsidized land users that they do not own the country no matter how many millions they spend lobbying. Every taxpayer contributes to their private use of public land and should be afforded an equal voice. Without big Agriculture dollars backing them, their voices are squelched by the lobbyists.

This bill is another example of big Ag trying to silence everyone.

Delusional Wyoming Politician Shows Backside Over Horse Slaughter Failure

(In My Most Outraged Opinion) by R.T. Fitch

Skewed, Unnatural, Wealthy and Privileged Vegans Pressured Congress?!?!

Equine advocates around the world cheered the bumbled failure of Rep. Cynthia Lummis’ (WY) attempt to tack on an underhanded, last-minute, pro-horse slaughter amendment to the 2012 agriculture appropriations bill on June 15th, 2011.  Knowledgeable citizens knew that little would be heard from Lummis after her public melt down and embarrassing withdrawal of the amendment in light of other scandalous, political news oozing out of our Nation’s capitol. (Like a politico named Weiner getting caught showing his wiener and then publicly admitting that he was/is a wiener.)  But what was not known was how long it would take Lummis’ backdoor informant and supplier of incorrect data and misinformation to rear her ugly head and rant about her bloody failure and inept attempt to cram horse meat down the public’s unwilling throat; Wyoming State Rep. “Slaughterhouse” Sue Wallis did not disappoint.

Yesterday, June 16th, the renegade state representative issued another tirade (click {HERE}) extolling Lummis’ efforts and expounding upon the nutritional value of a companion animals flesh, that being a horse of course.  Ranting on and on upon the alleged, and proven inaccurate, benefits of gobbling up ponies the self-appointed food science specialist (does she even have a college degree, for anything) continually ignores and has her eyes glued shut on the issue that U.S. horses are not considered food animals by the USDA and their bodies contain carcinogenic drugs that are dangerous to humans.

Horse meat is 50% higher in protein, 40% lower in fat, high in iron, low in cholesterol, and has 18 times the Omega-3 fatty acids than beef.  From a purely nutritional standpoint it is better then either venison or bison. In Europe and Asia it is made into baby food, and available everywhere.  Gourmet restaurants in Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Asia serve it with pride. Many would welcome its high nutrition and affordable cost if it was available in the United States, especially some of the ethnic communities that are particularly fond of it such as the Tongans, the Mongolians, and Hispanics.

I am willing to bet that Slaughterhouse Sue has not even been to any of the countries that she has listed, above, and cannot verify with fact that her statements are true.  I, for one, can verify that in Spain, Italy, Germany and even France horse meat is not a main stay and can only be found in limited quantity and in “specialty” restaurants and meat markets.  My wife, Terry, and I have traveled across Europe and poked our noses into remote villages and burgs only to discover that what the Evil Princess of Horse Slaughter purports to is a myth based upon urban rumors and innuendo.  And Asia, sorry Sue, it ain’t that big of a draw there, either.  Year to date I have spent three months inside rural central China and although the Chinese palate accepts a variety of animal parts found offensive to western tastes the horse is not one of the big menu items.  Mongolia?  You have got to be kidding me, the Mongols are a horse culture with the horse being the centerpiece of their society.  Snacking on a filly is not a recognized practice.

Putting all of the above abuses, lies and ranting aside perhaps the most despicable component of the cartoon character’s email is not what it contains but, rather, what is not obvious and totally omitted from her babbling; that would be the will and desire of the voting American public.

Horse slaughter is not accepted in the United States because over 80% of U.S. citizens do not want it here and the bulk of the free world shares that opinion.  It is a bloody, predatory business that when it finally left the U.S. the total reported jobs lost were about 170ish and the only money made was by the foreign companies that owned the three plants, there was and still is not a market here.

Perhaps our good friend and fellow advocate Vicki Tobin sums up the rant the best:

My biggest issue, aside from the usual disinformation, is that I resent that, you, the advocates across the country [and world], are completely dismissed in having anything to do with helping pass the bill as it was intended. I realize that she will never pass up the opportunity to bash HSUS and PETA, it is her goal in life, but to dismiss the real horse owners that were instrumental in the success of the legislation is a slap in the face to everyone and their hard work. I know HSUS was lobbying hard but without our constituent letters and phone calls letting our legislators know our views, the outcome may have been different.”

Spot on and it proves the point that the American people are sick and tired of a few abusively vocal, special interest driven politicians attempting to shove their distorted and whacked agendas up our collective behinds without even the courtesy of asking us to bend over, enough is enough.

The public has spoken, America’s principles were upheld in Congress and political whores such as Wallis and Lummis need to stay under their rocks after being so decisively bludgeoned with the constitution and the American flag.  For if they don’t they may find that more than just their wings will be clipped by the very public that they allege to serve.

Slither away Wallis, you creep America out and we are sick of the stench!!!

Horse Slaughter to Remain Illegal in House Bill

Article by Laura Allen from, and as it appears on, Animal Law Coalition

Moran Amendment Remains Intact

Update June 16, 2011: By a vote of 215-200, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 2112, the 2012 agriculture appropriations bill.

Rep. Jim Moran‘s amendment made in committee remained intact in the final version.

Under Rep. Moran’s amendment, inspections required for horses bound for slaughter for human consumption will remain de-funded as they have been since 2006. This means if the House version becomes law, commercial horse slaughter for human consumption will remain illegal.

For more on this bill, read Animal Law Coalition’s reports below. 

Update June 15, 2011: Today, U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) offered an amendment to the House appropriations bill to strike the prohibition on fee-for-service in the provision defunding inspections of horses bound for slaughter for human consumption.

This would have allowed horse slaughterhouses to pay the USDA for part of the inspections of horses required by the Federal Meat Inspection Act for horses to be slaughtered for human consumption.

Lummis claimed a fee-for-service program would not cost taxpayers anything. But the slaughter industry would actually only pay a small portion of the USDA inspection. The taxpayer would pay for most of the cost. This would also pull critical inspectors away from our own food safety oversight. Fee-for-service is basically another taxpayer subsidy for corporations.

Had the amendment passed and if upheld by the courts, it is possible commercial horse slaughter for human consumption would have been legal again in the U.S.

Lummis later withdrew the amendment. Rep. Jim Moran’s amendment defunding the inspections remains intact in the bill. This means if the appropriations bill passes with the Moran amendment and is signed into law, then commercial horse slaughter for human consumption will remain illegal in the U.S. as it has been since 2007.

For More Information on this Bill Click (HERE)

Text of Lummis Congressional Horse Slaughter Amendment Failure

Compiled and Commentary by Vicki Tobin ~ VP of the Equine Welfare Alliance

Typical Horse Slaughter Supporter “Foot in  Mouth” Syndrome

In case you missed the session on Lummis’ amendment, below is the Congressional Record Text. Some of it wasn’t displayed in the record but only in captions so I grabbed what I could – that’s the reason for the difference in format toward the bottom.

This link will get you to the videos, captions and official record. The videos are tricky – I had to hit “next clip” several times to get to the next clip.

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/videoLibrary/clip.php?appid=600117137

Cynthia Lummis WY

Mrs. LUMMIS. Mr. Chairman, this amendment would remove the restriction only on the fee-for-service horse meat inspection portion. Since fiscal year 2006, Congress has prohibited the use of Federal funds to inspect horses. However, the USDA allowed for a fee-for-service program for mandatory inspection of horses destined for food until 2008, when Congress prohibited the program through an appropriations rider.

Before these bans, horse processing was a $65 million a year industry and owners could receive about $400 to $800 when selling a horse. I am offering this amendment because owners should have the option of selling their horse for processing under their personal property rights. It is not the Federal Government’s role to ban this option. The decision to allow for processing should be made by the States.

The Senate Committee on Appropriations has directed GAO to examine the effects of this ban on the welfare of horses and on the agriculture industry. This report was expected by March 1 of 2010. Over a full year later, we still have yet to be delivered a final report from GAO, but expect one within weeks of this debate. It is important that this analysis be considered when determining whether to consider this ban.

In particular, the GAO was asked to examine how many horses are now being shipped to Mexico and Canada for slaughter, which outside analysis has confirmed is increasing. With the increased exporting of animals comes the concern of longer transportation times to slaughter and reduced inspections by USDA of travel conditions. USDA has no authority to ensure humane treatment once horses cross the border to Mexico or Canada, and there is no reason to believe horses are receiving better treatment by continuing this ban.

Additionally, there continue to be reports of increased animal abuse during the reduced options for unwanted horses. I can assure you this is true in my home State of Wyoming. Recently, 100 horses have been seized from a western Wyoming ranch where they were being starved and had to be transported to the eastern side of the State to the State’s Cheyenne stockyards. While the state veterinarian is caring for the animals currently, the options for selling these horses are limited.

There is just no place to send unwanted horses, and neglect will continue to rise across the country without a viable alternative. In fact, the Wyoming legislature this year made it a crime to release a horse on to public lands. Now, the reason people do that is because there is no other way to get rid of an unwanted horse. There is no opportunity to sell them into this meat market, so people are turning them loose with the feral horses, the wild horses, further exacerbating the Federal wild horse problem.

Congress needs to examine these concerns, and the GAO report should provide us the information needed to make an educated decision on this matter.

Now, I plan to withdraw my amendment after discussing this issue, but would like to provide my colleagues with the opportunity to present their States’ concerns with this ban and to ensure moving forward we examine the GAO report before finalizing any appropriations language for fiscal year 2012.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

Steven Pearce NM

Mr. PEARCE. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the gentlelady from Wyoming bringing this amendment.

You know, many times people think that horse slaughter is just simply inhumane. Somehow they think that horse starvation is somehow more humane. The truth is that people are going to get rid of their horses in some way, so what they do in New Mexico and in the Western States is they simply take them out and turn them loose.

Right now we are struggling with an economy, an economy that is having difficulties from every area, and too often we say it is just a problem of the economy. We don’t break it down to its individual components.

One of the components in New Mexico is that we have completely eliminated sheep from New Mexico. New Mexico used to be a large area of sheep production. That piece of the economy is simply gone because of regulations we in Washington and the States have put into place. New Mexico also used to have a vibrant apple economy. That is now gone because we have given favorable treatment to overseas products.

But then this is another element of the economy that has simply disappeared. New Mexico used to have a vibrant horse trade. Prices were high.

Now prices on horses are low because people know they have no option at the end of a horse’s life, so it is simply doing away with the horse market.

So we find that we in Congress are causing the economic decay of our entire Nation, and the gentlelady’s amendment simply says let’s study the facts. Let’s understand what is going on that we ourselves are causing. Let’s understand the economic duress that Washington and the States are putting on their own economies. It makes ultimate sense, and for us in the West it should be absolutely reinstated. We should reinstate the market there, because horses are being very inhumanely treated in the guise of some more humane treatment. So I thank the lady for her presentation.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

Jack Kingston GA

Mr. KINGSTON. I rise in support of the Lummis amendment. I am disappointed that she is planning to withdraw it and that we will not be having a vote on it. We had a vote on it in full committee. It was actually Mr. Moran’s amendment that pulled it out. I did not support the gentleman from Virginia’s amendment because I believe there is a lot of emotion that goes on when we are dealing with a horse. It still is a private property issue, a personal property issue, and while I do not own horses, I have family members who own horses. I know that you do have to have someplace to move the horse on to when it ages out on you.

It is very emotional in America. We look down at other nations that eat horses, but I have eaten horse before. In Kazakhstan I ate horse, and it wasn’t bad. But we as Americans, we have an obesity problem, so we can pick and choose what we want to eat and what we don’t want to eat, and people feel like, well, we are too good to be eating horses. I understand that, but the rest of the world does eat horses and I think, frankly, that is a different discussion, as my friend from Virginia knows.

But I wish we were having a vote on it. [Page: H4223] Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

Jim Moran VA

Mr. MORAN. I do rise in opposition to this amendment that would allow horse slaughtering to resume in the United States.

The language that the gentlelady’s amendment would strike was put into the bill as a bipartisan amendment by two Republicans and a Democrat–Mr. Sweeney, Mr. Whitfield and Mr. Spratt. What it did is to restrict funding for Federal activities involved with meat inspection. Thereby, it stopped horse slaughter for the purpose of human consumption in any facility in the United States, and it stopped new facilities from opening. It passed this body by an overwhelming vote: 269-158. Now, every year since, the language has been retained in the Agriculture appropriations bill. There are six very good reasons for doing this.

One, it’s money badly spent. Only foreign corporations which deal in horse meat for consumption in foreign markets would benefit from the Federal inspection of U.S. horse slaughter plants. So we are using American taxpayer money to inspect meat so that foreign corporations can send it overseas so that people living in foreign countries can consume it. There is a $37 million cut below last year’s levels in the Food Safety and Inspection Service. So here you are cutting $37 million in food safety inspection. Yet you would be adding this additional burden onto the Food Safety and Inspection Service, an additional responsibility to inspect horse meat. Remember, this is meat that will be exclusively consumed in foreign countries. Before the ban, most meat was exported to France, Belgium and Japan. We should be using our resources to focus on meat consumed by our constituents.

Secondly, the American public overwhelmingly does not support the slaughter of horses for human consumption. Three-quarters of our constituents across the country oppose the slaughter of horses for human consumption.

Thirdly, American horse meat invariably contains harmful chemicals because horses are not raised for human consumption. A recent FDA toxicity report found any number of substances that could cause adverse effects in humans. One example is phenylbutazone. It’s known as “bute.” It is the most common anti-inflammatory given to horses. It is difficult to know every substance given to every horse in the United States. Because they’re not intended to be raised as food, they’re given different chemicals.

The only way to ensure that such harmful substances don’t make it into the food supply is to prevent horse meat from entering the market.

Fourth, most horses sent to slaughter are, in fact, healthy. Sometimes it’s framed, as my friend from Georgia suggested, as a way to dispose of unwanted horses. The facts don’t support this claim. When horse slaughter was allowed in the U.S., 92 percent of horses sent to slaughter were healthy and could have continued to have been used as productive animals. They weren’t old and infirm, because sick and old horses aren’t used as a food source. People don’t want to eat meat from sick, old horses.

So we are talking about primarily healthy horses.

Fifth, other, more humane options are available. A licensed veterinarian can humanely euthanize a horse for $225. That is not cost-prohibitive.

I want to underscore, too, that my very good friend was complaining that there was too much emotion in this argument. What’s wrong with emotion? I mean, the horses inspire us. That’s why most of the statues around the U.S. Capitol are of horses and of heroes riding on horses. Horses were critical to the expansion of the West. They aided in the development of agriculture. They provide entertainment and recreation similar to dogs and cats. They are treasured and loyal companion animals, and we revere them. That’s why the American public rejects slaughtering them for human consumption.

So let’s just summarize here.

A vote for this amendment is a vote to overturn established policy that was enacted under Republicans and supported by the American people to prevent horse slaughter to resume in this country. It would be diverting inspection funding, which is being cut substantially, to inspect meat that foreign corporations will be able to sell to foreign consumers. That’s not something this body should support.

With that, I can argue against every claim that was made, but I don’t think I will take up the time to do that.

I yield back the balance of my time.

Adam Smith NE

Mr. SMITH of Nebraska. Mr. Chairman, I do want to clarify for the record that this amendment is not about tax dollars. This amendment is about adjusting some policy that was put into an appropriations bill some time ago, long before the current makeup of Congress. We are talking about a fee-for-service scenario that would allow the private sector to ensure that there is safe, affordable horse meat to the general public, to a market overseas that is very robust.

Let me also say that a GAO study on the effects of horse slaughter plant closings on the welfare of horses and on the farm economy as a whole was requested by the Senate Ag Appropriations Committee more than a year and a half ago, and is overdue for a report.

The devastated horse industry continues to be attacked by misinformation, and we certainly have a problem here because I would allege that the economics of the ownership of horses are upside down. Unfortunately, Mr. Chairman, the result of this misguided campaign will eventually be a Nation where very few can even afford to own a horse. Without a secondary market, the value of horses at every level has plunged. Fewer horses mean fewer jobs, fewer horse trailers sold, fewer veterinary service dollars spent, fewer saddles sold–and the list continues.

Destroying the U.S. horse industry closed the U.S. to a very robust global market and gave other countries this economic opportunity. With the ability to ethically produce horse meat under regulated, humane conditions in the United States, we would almost immediately create jobs and minimize suffering.

I yield back the balance of my time.

The Acting CHAIR. Does any other Member seek recognition?

Cynthia Lummis WY

Mrs. LUMMIS. Mr. Chairman, the gentleman from Virginia inadvertently misrepresented the terms of this amendment. They only applied to the fee-for-service component.

With that, Mr. Chairman—-

Note: there was an objection here and a bit more banter here but it didn’t appear in the captions

I don’t know who was speaking here – there is more than one voice

02:24:04     I DIDN’T HEAR THAT AND I OBJECT.

02:24:08     IF YOU WITHDRAW THE AMENDMENT, I WON’T OBJECT.

02:24:16     SHE HASN’T WITHDRAWN IT.

This was Lummis

02:24:17       NOW I’M NOT GOING TO WITHDRAW THE AMENDMENT.

02:24:19       I ASK FOR A VOTE.

02:24:25       I’LL ASK FOR A VOTE.

Dan Burton IN

Mr. BURTON of Indiana. Let me just say to the gentlelady that this is an emotional issue, and those of us who do not agree with you feel strongly about it.

Now, I believe, if you put that amendment in, it could very well jeopardize the ag bill. I don’t think you want to do that, so I hope you will reconsider withdrawing this amendment. In committee, your amendment was defeated. There are a lot of people in this country who feel very strongly on both sides of this issue, but the American public, whether or not you agree with them, feels very strongly, as Mr. Moran said, so I hope you will change your mind.

Regarding some of the things I’ve heard about these horses starving to death on the plains and everything–and I was not going to speak on this–there are a number of people in this country who are willing to put up millions and millions of dollars. In fact, I know some of them. They have bought ranches and want to take these wild horses and put them into an area where they will be safe, where they will be [Page: H4224] protected, where they will be cared for. We are talking about, in addition to the ranches, maybe another 600,000 or 700,000 acres that would be used for these horses and for them to be able to survive.

[Time: 15:30] If you have ever looked at the way they transport these horses to slaughter, they cram 20 horses into a truck that’s built for 10. They don’t feed them. They don’t water them properly. And those horses are so mistreated, it’s unbelievable, when they go to slaughter. And that’s why they close these slaughterhouses. In addition, you ought to see what they do in these slaughterhouses for these horses. They hang them up by a hook while they’re still alive and they’re squealing, and they kill them in a very inhumane way.

I am not for changing our agricultural attitudes in this country. We have to have the slaughter of pigs and cows and chickens and that sort of thing. So a lot of times people say if we’re against horse slaughter, we want to do something to hurt the agriculture community. That couldn’t be further from the truth. We just want to make sure that these animals are treated in a humane way, number one, and, number two, that the American taxpayer is not paying for the French to get horse meat.

So let me just say to the lady one more time, I sincerely hope that she will reconsider. We have a disagreement. I hope you will reconsider and withdraw this amendment because I don’t think something of this emotional status should impede or impair something as important as the ag bill.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.

Jack Larson GA

02:27:48     I RISE IN STRONG SUPPORT OF THE AMENDMENT AND BELIEVE WHILE IT MAY BE AN EMOTIONAL ISSUE, AND AS MY FRIENDS SAID, EMOTION IS GOOD, THERE’S A LOT OF LOGIC IN THE GENTLEWOMAN’S POSITION.

02:28:03     THAT’S WHY I’M A STRONG SUPPORTER OF IT AND RECOGNIZING SHE’S ON HER FEET, I’D LIKE TO YIELD HER THE BALANCE OF MY TIME.

Cynthia Lummis WY

Mrs. LUMMIS. Before I withdraw the amendment, I wish to correct that this amendment has never been considered in committee or on the floor. This amendment only applies to the two lines in this horse inspection issue which deal with an individual’s right to pay their own money to have a horse inspected.

There are no taxpayer dollars involved in this amendment. I’m only striking the two lines that now you’re even not allowing people to pay their own money to have a horse inspected.

With that opportunity to correct the record, Mr. Chairman, I withdraw my amendment.

 

I thought you’d all enjoy this comment that was posted on Duquette’s facebook page yesterday.

c-span…..what a blast! Your buddy Lummis didn’t do too well. I thought her head would start to spin like in the exorcist!”

Horse Meat Inspector Amendment Dissolves Into Political Embarrassment

Press Release from the Equine Welfare Alliance

Wyoming Congresswoman’s Facts and Information Flawed

WASHINGTON, (EWA) – A last ditch attempt by supporters of horse slaughter crumbled on a procedural issue Wednesday afternoon after Representative Cynthia Lummis (R/WY) introduced a last minute amendment to the agriculture budget that proposed to allow horse slaughter plants to pay for their own inspections.

The amendment ignored the fact that this strategy had already been implemented by the USDA in 2007 and had been successfully challenged in the courts by animal welfare organizations.

The amendment would have been a contradiction to the Federal Meat Inspection act which requires all inspections to be done by government funded inspectors, and it would appear that it would have had to have been an amendment to that law,  not the budget,  Lummis’ written language was not immediately available.

The amendment immediately set off a heated debate.

At one point Rep. Lummis, apparently became irritated over the fact that the opposition was characterizing her amendment as already having been defeated in committee.

The defeated language would have funded horsemeat inspections whereas the Lummis amendment would have allowed the slaughter plants to pay for their own inspections. The opposition’s position was that the underlying issue of allowing a return of the horse slaughter plants had in fact been defeated in committee.

Lummis went to the rostrum and began to speak about this distinction but an opposing member rose to object to her receiving more time. She became angered by the challenge and stepped down saying “in that case I will not withdraw my amendment”. There had been no indication to that point that she had intended to withdraw it. Rep.Jack Kingston of Georgia and Rep. Adrian Smith (R) Nebraska came to the amendment’s defense, but fellow Republican Dan Burton (IN) urged Lummis to withdraw the amendment on the grounds that it might jeopardize the entire budget.

An angry and visibly confused Lummis returned to the rostrum and voluntarily withdrew her amendment saying “You won’t even let them pay for their own inspections!”

Wyoming Rep. Bumbles Defense in Wake of Ethics Complaint

(The News as We See It) by R.T. Fitch ~ Author/Director of HfH Advisory Council

“Slaughterhouse” Sue Uses Adolescent Histrionics in Defense

Last week, Wyoming resident Patricia Fazio, Ph.D. filed a formal complaint with Wyoming state officials requesting an investigation of alleged violations of ethics laws and securities fraud by Wyoming State Rep. Sue Wallis.

Rep. Sue Wallis ~ Photo by Pam Nicholes

The complaint alleges Rep. Wallis is improperly and even fraudulently abusing her position as a Wyoming legislator. The complaint further alleges that Rep. Wallis not only neglected to recuse herself or disclose her personal financial interest in votes, but that she has actually “sponsored” bills that would materially benefit her or her family.

In a potentially bogus effort to bolster her sagging public image Wallis has posted on her blog alleged letters of support from numerous unidentifiable individuals.  Harking to adolescent methods of public self adulation Wallis lists numerous emails with only first names given but all with the same central line and theme of undying support for the woman who is known around the world as “Slaughterhouse” Sue.  Upon reading this listing one would think that these “emails” were, if not authored, edited and/or fluffed by Wallis, herself, in another flimsy and questionable effort to save her tarnished and bloodied image.

Wallis, likewise, speaks to an unidentified animal rights group that filed a complaint.  To our knowledge only Dr. Fazio filed a complaint and that action has been applauded by many long standing and well known humane advocacy organizations.  It now appears that by her own statements Rep. Sue Wallis currently has multiple formal complaints filed against herself.  Wallis’ letter is inserted below:

A few days ago I was alerted to the fact that an animal rights organization had filed an ethics complaint and called for an investigation of my efforts on behalf of the horse industry in my role as a Wyoming state legislator.  Since releasing my response I have received literally hundreds of messages of support from good hearted people who appreciate the work we are doing. Tonight we are sharing some of that good mail on the Summit of the Horse Blog.

While completely unfounded and a blatant attempt at intimidation designed to prevent us from doing what we know is right for horses and for horse people…the alleged charges are nonetheless serious, and have to be answered. This outrageous and uncalled for attack was sent not only to the Wyoming Attorney General and the House of Representatives, but to every news outlet in Wyoming and spread widely on the Internet. The Legislature will deal with the matter appropriately, and I stand ready to comply with any and all requests from leadership to put this matter to rest.

Because of this organized effort by radical animal rights groups I have been forced to spend time responding and correcting the record, time which could have been put to much better use in organizing and convening the horse industry at the upcoming Summit of the Horse where we will deal with the dire problems in the horse world in a respectful and rational manner all aimed at the well being of horses and horse people.

Below are just a few of the messages that I have received.”

Sue Wallis, Vice President
United Horsemen

Click HERE to read listing

Clouded in a swirl of controversy Wallis’ “Summit” is beginning to evaporate only a week ahead of its alleged commencement.  Due to the covert message that the “Summit” is sending many well known speakers have asked to have their names pulled from the publicity while  federal officials are being petitioned to not attend.  In her statement Wallis is prepping the reader on the potential failure of her meat industry slaughter festival and that the cause may be the result of lost time spent on defending herself from the long list of allegations versus tending to the planning of her doomed BloodFest.  As so often is the case with arguments issued from the office of Sue Wallis there is a finger pointed at someone or something else versus looking in the mirror for the answers to failed policies, practices and missed opportunities.

The case for wearing “Blinders” might work for race horses but it is a pathetic excuse coming from an elected government official who refuses to see the big picture and won’t listen to the voices of the American people.

Congress Gives Bloody BLM MORE Money To Assault Wild Horses

Update from Laura Allen of Animal Law Coalition

Elected Officials Screw Wild Horses and Burros, AGAIN!

Update Dec. 10, 2010: The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a continuing resolution that will keep the government running through the end of the year.

Well, actually, it does more than that. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was handed its requested budget increase for FY 2011, more than $12 million.

As BLM described in the Wild Horse and Burros Program, FY 2011 Budget Justifications: “In 2011 this measure includes an increase of $12,000,000 which will result in … an additional 9 Herd Management Areas achieving appropriate management levels. The 2011 increase allows the Wild Horse & Burro program to gather and hold additional horses“….”[A]chieving appropriate management levels” is BLM speak for rounding up wild horses and burros and placing them in holding facilities.

BLM also said “The 2011 BLM budget request includes a program increase of $12.0 million in the Wild Horse and Burro Management program to support implementation of [Interior] Secretary[ Ken Salazar’s] plan“. The plan as announced in 2009 would allow removal of wild horses and burros to “preserves”, also called “pastures” and “feedlots” in the Midwest and East where they would live in non-reproducing “herds”. Many have called this a plan for extinction.  For more on Secy. Salazar’s “plan”…..

Under the Continuing Resolution BLM has been authorized “to enter into multiyear cooperative agreements with nonprofit organizations and other appropriate entities… for the long-term care and maintenance of excess wild free-roaming horses and burros by such organizations or entities on private land.”  The contracts could now be up to 10 years rather than the current 5.  Still pending is a BLM request for $42 million for the purchase of land in the Midwest or East for the first of Secy. Salazar’s “preserves” – or “pastures” or “feedlots”.

This support for an already bloated program, the sole focus of which, contrary to the law, has become to drive wild horses and burros off public lands, is astonishing given tight budget constraints.

Read the Equine Welfare Alliance and Animal Law Coalition report below for more on a report submitted to Congress just recently on BLM’s questionable numbers, unsubstantiated data and lack of accountability that has prompted many including Animal Law Coalition to call on Congress to de-fund the wild horses and burro roundups pending completion of a study and possible removal of the operation of the wild horses and burros program to another, preferably independent agency.

So far Congress does not appear to be listening – or reading…..

Click (HERE) for Roll Call Article

Click (HERE) to Take ACTION!