WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today said she is extremely disturbed and disappointed that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved an application for inspections at a horse slaughter facility in New Mexico and that it plans to approve similar requests for plants in Iowa and Missouri. Sen. Landrieu recently passed a ban on horsemeat inspections through the Senate Appropriations Committee as part of the Agriculture Appropriations Bill. She is also pushing for a permanent ban through her bipartisan Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act that she introduced with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
"I am extremely disturbed and disappointed that despite the numerous economic and safety concerns, several horse slaughter
plants could soon operate in our country. Americans overwhelmingly oppose horse slaughter because of its brutality, risks to food safety and serious environmental impacts. By granting these applications, we are going in the wrong direction as far as protecting consumer health, responsibly managing taxpayer funds and protecting our domestic meat industry. Today's announcement makes swift congressional action even more crucial," Sen. Landrieu said.
"Sen. Graham and I successfully included a temporary ban on horse slaughter in the Senate Agriculture Appropriations bill, and I remain committed to passing this legislation with the ban intact, as well as passing the bipartisan SAFE Act for a permanent ban. I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass this ban as quickly as possible to close the doors on domestic horse slaughter plants for good."
The ban included in the FY2014 Agriculture Appropriations bill would last for the duration of the bill. To permanently ban horse slaughter, the SAFE Act would permanently prohibit horse slaughter operations in the U.S., and end the current export and slaughter of more than 150,000 American horses abroad each year. A similar bill has been introduced in the House by Reps. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Il.