Congress Cuts Horse Slaughter Funding… Again

Congress Cuts Horse Slaughter Funding... Again
Friday is #notimpressed with Congress’ poor decision

Just when I was starting to think that we might actually see horse slaughter in full-swing in the U.S., a process with many benefits, Congress actually works together to pass a bill. Go figure.

Yesterday, Congress passed a spending measure which contains wording to eliminate funding for horse slaughter inspection. As you may remember from recent posts, if there is no inspection from USDA, slaughter and meat processing cannot take place. The final step is for Obama to sign his name and it’s official.

This is frustrating on so many levels – a process that is safe, humane and benefits our economy is being restricted, again, after being delayed for 2+ years. I’m not a political expert but the only way around this one, I believe, is for individual states to fund inspections. I would welcome hard facts on that topic. Readers who are lawyers, please chime in. Updated: Please refer to the first comment on this post from ‘Tuck’ who is a third-year law student. He’s been very helpful!

So for the time being, there will be no horse slaughter in the United States which is a crying shame considering the meat can be used for zoo animals and exported to other countries (just because we don’t eat it, doesn’t mean other countries don’t consider it a delicacy), the plants provide local job creation and thousands of neglected horses could be humanely euthanized.

I guess I should be thankful that Congress actually agreed on something, for once.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

The thoughts and opinions of this blog post strictly represent that of Brandi Buzzard Frobose and are NOT representative of any other entity or organization.


15 responses to “Congress Cuts Horse Slaughter Funding… Again”

  1. They allow some state-inspected processing facilities but, only for certain facilities. They look at a number of factors including size of the individual operation (less than 25 employees) and where the final product is sold (only for intrastate commerce). This is just my 2 minute research so I'm not sure if there are any other avenues. One could petition the USDA to create a regulation that would allow state inspected facilities to directly export certain meat products. I will look into seeing if that is already possible without federal inspection.

  2. No it's not possible w/o USDA inspectors. American horses are not raised for food.

  3. vickysecho Avatar

    Brandi – if you have a background in animal science and livestock production than surely you would know what is and isn't a food animal! The stroke of a pen does NOT safely convert an adulterated animal into safe food. How do you believe they can guarantee 'safe' horsemeat from an entirely unregulated, largely adulterated species? And lets not see the canned answer that it is 'inspected'. Everyone knows that inspection is not 100% and is just an added bonus step in what is suppose to be a given quality. Brandi – you seriously want adulterated horsemeat – with all of the legal and illegal drugs given to U.S. horses – available for your children and grandchildren? You are aware that kill buyers are allowed to fabricate drug affidavits immediately after acquiring a horse and ship it the SAME day? There can never be two classifications of ONE species that do not cross over by the greed of man.

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    Tuck is incorrect. Cooperative inspection is not an option since USDA inspectors cannot participate in inspection of horses. That was tried prior to the removal of the defunding in 2011. State inspected meat cannot cross state lines and that is not going to change.

    The real question is who thought producing horse meat in the US was a good idea? Prior to horse plants closing in 2007 we could send horse meat to the profitable EU market. We no longer have that option because EU has food safety requirements we are not willing to meet. We have a higher cost of doing business than most countries. So who thought is was a good idea to produce a product with higher input costs and then compete for the bottom end market where food safety isn't such a concern?

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Google Paula Bacon, Kaufman TX, & Animal Angels..that should get you started..also Horse meat scandal in Europe.
    I am not sure why it is so difficult for people to get this one point..In America..we do not raise horses as food animals..period..

    The profit to be made on horse slaughter is in getting the horses to slaughter as quickly as possible..the longer in the kill buyers hands, the less profit..keeping them on a feedlot for 6 months is expensive. Horses go straight from the track to the killing floor in 24-48 hours sometimes..drugs and fraudulent paperwork and all.

    Look at what happened in NY..They let 30 horses burn to death on a trailer that should have had no more than 15 horses on it on the freeway..The kill-buyers comment.."if they burn, they burn" nice guy there.. all for profit.. By the way..there is no withdrawal period for some stays in the horses tissue.. that is why some drugs are banned, period, from use in any food animal.

  6. mhortness Avatar

    Please, do some research on this subject. Here is a great place to start There is an overwhelming amount of information at this site. You can also find a link to the USDA report (over 900 pages) that was compiled following investigations of the last American horse slaughter plants prior to their closing. View the hundreds of photos; read the documentation, look at the pages of violations sited. This WAS horse slaughter in America. This WAS USDA regulated. Nothing would be different today. This is what you consider safe and humane? And if a person happens to be the type that doesn't care about the inhumane aspects, consider the fact that there are over 100 drugs and products that are routinely used on horses that are not to be used on animals intended for human consumption. Withdrawal times have not been established in horses. Antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, pain meds, hormones, vaccines, performance enhancing drugs, all the concoctions like frog juice and snake venom that the racing industry comes up with—-none of this is regulated in horses. Because horses are not raised to be served up on someone's dinner plate. One dose of bute given at any time in a horses life bans that horse from entering the food chain. But because the horse slaughter industry is fraught with deceit and corruption, we all know these horses "slip through the cracks". When the horse meat scandal broke in Europe and Great Britain over a year ago, USDA officials stated that our food supply was safe because we don't have the horse slaughter industry here to pose a threat. They further stated that if horse slaughter were to resume in the U.S., that assurance would disappear. Americans do not want the safety of what they are feeding their families compromised. And as far as providing jobs…..the last three U.S. slaughter plants employed under 200 people…combined. If you truly are concerned about humane treatment of horses, help get the Safeguard American Food Exports Act passed and stop the transport of horses to Mexico and Canada for slaughter. End the slaughter of our horses, end the transport to other countries for slaughter and stop the overbreeding, which is where it all begins.

  7. Some very educational comments for Brandi.

  8. Anonymous Avatar

    And what do they expect us to do with all these unwanted horses?. Choices: Ship to Mexico or Canada, turn them out on government grazing lands and forests to starve to death or keep euthanizing them instead of being able to take them to slaughter for a salvage price when no longer useable? Don't even mention horse rescues. I called one and told them that I had 10 aged broodmares that were not halter broke or able to be handled but wanted to donate them to horse rescue. They refused. So what to do with aged breeding stock. Every year I have to put down 10 to 15 mares instead of being able to take them to slaughter like we did in the past where we averaged $.50 to $.60 / lb. I would love for someone to try to tell the cattle raisers that they would no longer be able to take their old or non productive cows to slaughter for salvage value. Let the riots begin then.

    1. Anonymous Avatar

      why are you breeding knowing that the horse market is so bad? Rescues are not in place to help horse breeders to dumb their untrained old broodmares. If you must have so many broodmares and you do not want to take the time to train them then do the right thing and put them down humanely. Get your vet to come out and shot them and then bury them Some must better than shipping them to slaughter. You must have made money off the babies you had from these grand dames so do right by them and put them down humanly

    2. Anonymous Avatar

      You bred too many of them, and now expect my tax dollars to allow you to heinously and barbarically kill them, because you are done with them? They made you money year, after year, after year and you throw them to the bolt gun?

      You are the "over breeder" that has ruined and continues to ruin your own industry. Take an Economics 101 class, and compassionately euthanize those poor mares, that MADE YOU MONEY.

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    Hey Anonymous who posted about the 10 aged broodmares no one would take and your couldn't take them to be slaughtered. Salvage value? What are they a used car?

    First you are part of the problem you keep breeding more horses. Second….American horses have been heading to Mexico and Canada even when US plants were open in TX and IL. Even after the plants were shut down in 2005, 2006 and 2007 you could still sell your horses to a kill buyer or take them to auction where a kill buyer would ship to slaughter for you. This choice was never taken away. Currently kill buyers on average are getting 48 cents a lb. No much has changed there.

    Sounds like you also have not been researching why horse meat was being sold as beef and what happened in Europe and continues to happen as a result. It has been devastating. If you don't think that cannot happen here and put a full stop on our beef supply line, you are completely blind.

  10. Anonymous Avatar

    **Before the horse slaughter plants were shut down, for repetitive and serious welfare, handling and environmental violations, fraudulent hiring practices and operating at a loss in the US and then selling at a profit in Europe (meaning that one plant paid FIVE dollars for a 5 MILLION dollar income on their state income tax form), our American horses STILL went to Mexico and Canada.

    **Even if SEVERAL plants open here in the US, our horses will CONTINUE to head to Mexico and Canada. Why? Because the same foreign investors who own plants in Canada and Mexico are the same Belgium investors who wish to reopen here in the US.

    **Mexico IS regulated! I repeat the 4 plants over the border in Mexico ARE EU captive bolt regulated and always have been. It is only the local abattoirs deeper in to Mexico where they use the Puntilla knife to stab the horses in the spine, paralyzing them before slaughter. The Puntilla is NOT accepted by the EU. Again the plants in Mexico ARE JUST LIKE the plants we had here in the US when they were open, and would be the same if opened here again.

    **The choice to slaughter your horse or sell him/her to a kill buyer was NEVER removed from any horse owner in the US. So all along you could take your horse to an auction and a kill buyer would be happy to buy the horse and take the horse to be slaughtered.

    **Transport issues. Even if plants were to open here in the US, the same kill buyers, shippers, auction house owners and feed lot managers would still be the SAME people that have been operating for decades. This will NOT change. So no matter if it is 50 miles or 1500 miles the abuse, the lack of compassion and safety measures will continue to be a huge issue!

    **Horses are NOT bred to be food animals. They are officially categorized as a non-food animal and a companion. Part of it is because of our rich and deep history with our beloved equines. They are athletes, war veterans, entertainers, work partners, therapy partners, Border patrol mounts, Police officer support mounts, companions, and for some….movie stars.

    **This past year when companies like Tesco (Burger King world supplier), Nestle (worlds LARGEST food supplier including pet food), Yum Brands (Taco Bell anyone?), Walmart, Aldi, Stouffers and countless more were found selling horse meat as 100% beef, their entire passport and ID system came under global food safety radar. WHY? The majority of drugs and substances domestic and BLM wild horses in holding receive on a regular basis are BANNED in food animals and are carcinogenic to name only ONE serious side affect from consuming adulterated horse meat. Europe's beef consumption dropped a WHOPPING 43% in the 3 weeks after this deception was discovered. Horses are NOT bred or meant for human consumption in this day and age and the FDA will never sign off on such a thing.

    **The average age of a slaughtered horse is 7 years of age. The range is typically from 18 months to 7 years. Some horses have been as old as 13 on kill buyer inventory weight list records at the border, but it is RARE. Think about it…..we don't eat 30 year cows do we? The horse slaughter business is about money and meat consumption.

    **This nasty business is NOT a population control tool and it never will be, because in order to have the kind of horses they like for slaughter, and for consumption you would have to continue to breed MORE horses to supply that pipeline.

    If you think horse slaughter is a great business and will bring prosperity to your community, you have not done your research, period. PLEASE stop the ignorance….PLEASE.

  11. Wow – I don't check the comments over the weekend and they explode.

    I have the right to support horse slaughter but the we does not have the right to delineate what people can and can't eat. Food is a choice. Again, just because the US doesn't quantify horses as food animals doesn't mean that they aren't food animals.

    One of the MANY anonymous commenters – I'm going to disable that function because I believe it's abhorrently cowardly to berate someone and insult one's intelligence while cowering behind a wall of anonymity, was correct in the overbreeding statement. People who continue to breed many horses a year, in a market that has been slow for several years, need to have their heads checked. Same goes for those who buy horses but can't afford to feed them. There are many horse owners who are ignorant to the costs of providing decent care for a horse – feed, farrier, vaccinations etc.

  12. And to respond to earlier comments about how there is no way around it – meat must be federally inspected to cross state lines or be exported to foreign countries.

  13. Anonymous Avatar

    I am so glad that Congress/Senate has FINALLY done something I am proud of. I as a horse owner would never want any animal or human to have a chance to eat one of my horses. Besides my personally believing slaughtering horses is just wrong. The drugs I use on my horses to keep them healthy and strong, states clearly on the packaging – "Do not use in animals to be slaughter for consumption" The drugs and steroids used to enhance performance by AQHA and racing horses I am sure state the same warning. The Europeans are finally finding out that these drugs used by Americans on their horses should not be eaten and the market for our horses have gone way down this past year. Now if all American (or the 80 percent that is against slaughter) really want to SAVE a horse RIDE your Federal State Representatives to PASS the SAFE ACT and we can be done with the slaughter issue of American Horses!!!!! SAFE ACT = no transporting horses to Mexico or Canada.