Today, the House Appropriations Committee marked up its agriculture spending bill for Fiscal Year 2014, and it included much good news for animals. Most notably, the committee approved by voice vote an amendment offered by Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va., and Bill Young, R-Fla., to forbid spending by USDA on inspections of horse slaughter plants on American soil. The Senate should follow suit.
A similar spending prohibition was put in place each year beginning in 2005, but was not renewed in 2011 or 2012, leading to the opportunity for
horse slaughter profiteers to initiate plans to reopen equine abattoirs in the
U.S at an estimated cost to taxpayers of at least $5 million each year. If the de-funding amendment restored by the committee survives the entire legislative process, it will block any effort to resume slaughter of horses for human consumption on U.S. soil. We are grateful to Reps. Moran and Young for leading this effort, and to all the committee members who voiced their approval for the measure to save horses from brutal slaughter and save taxpayers from the gambit of wasting their money on this predatory enterprise.
In other good news, the bill approved by the committee includes strong levels of funding for the USDA’s enforcement of key animal welfare laws such as the Animal Welfare Act, Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, animal fighting statute, and programs related to veterinary medical services and disaster planning for animals. This was despite a reduction in spending overall on federal programs, in a very competitive budgetary climate where every single program has its advocates. The animal welfare line items no doubt got a boost from the 164 Representatives and 34 Senators led by Reps. Chris Smith, R-N.J., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and David Vitter, R-La., who signed letters to the House and Senate committees urging that they adequately fund the enforcement of animal welfare laws.
We are grateful to them and especially to House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., and Ranking Member Sam Farr, D-Calif., for supporting the strong funding levels in the House committee bill to help ensure
that the nation’s animal welfare laws are properly enforced. We will keep you posted on the spending levels as the appropriations bill moves through the process in the House and Senate, as well as next steps on the horse slaughter