Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat and co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, released the following statement on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) approval of an application for federal inspections at a horse slaughter facility in New Mexico.
“I am deeply disappointed in today’s decision by the USDA to approve a permit for federal inspections at a horse slaughter facility in New Mexico.”
“It’s troubling, particularly given that over the last two weeks, the Senate and House Appropriations Committees amended their fiscal year (FY) 2014 Agriculture Appropriations bills to eliminate all funding for the inspection of horse slaughter facilities, consistent with USDA’s budget request. As Congress completes consideration of this legislation in the coming months, I plan to redouble my efforts to defund horse slaughter inspections and shut down any facilities that may open.”
In FY 2006, Congress passed a prohibition on the use of appropriations for the inspection of horses intended to be slaughtered for human consumption. Without meat safety inspections, no horse meat can be sold to the public, effectively ending the slaughter of horses in the United States. This defund language was removed from the FY 2012 appropriations bill, allowing horse slaughter facilities to once again request USDA inspections. Moran has spearheaded efforts in the House to reinstate the ban on horse slaughter for human consumption.
According to the USDA, each horse slaughter facility opened in the U.S. would cost U.S. taxpayers over $400,000 per year in operation costs. Requiring USDA inspections of horse slaughter plants would even further decrease funding available for beef, chicken, and pork inspections - meat actually consumed by Americans.
Horses are not raised as food animals and are routinely given substances, including the anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone, which the FDA requires to be labeled “not for use in animals that will be eaten by humans.”
In addition to fiscal and public health concerns, public polls have consistently shown that nearly 80 percent of Americans oppose horse slaughter for human consumption.