GAO Accused Of Fraud As Horse Slaughter Plants Fight To Open

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August 8, 2013, Forbes.com, Vickery Eckhoff

gaoA 2011 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report came under fire last week for misrepresenting data that was used to push Congress to end a five-year ban on funding horse meat inspections.

In a new study, “How the GAO Deceived Congress About Horse Slaughter,” the Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) ties fraudulent GAO data on horse abuse and neglect to a campaign by three Congressmen to reinstate the low-margin, poorly regulated horse-slaughter industry, which lost funding for required USDA inspections and shut down in 2007 after a long and costly legal battle at the local, state and federal level.

The EWA is an umbrella organization representing 290 member organizations in 21 countries. The release of its study and an accompanying YouTube video coincides with a fight over the planned opening of two plants in New Mexico and Iowa, pending a federal court decision that could put them in business within a matter of weeks.Abuse-in-six-states-300x205

Several other plants are also seeking inspections permits from the USDA at a cost to U.S. taxpayers of $400,000 per facility. The meat would be exported, except for some going to domestic zoos. It will not be available to U.S. diners, in any event.

GAO report 11-228 (entitled “Actions Needed to Address Unintended Consequences from Cessation of Domestic Slaughter”) was commissioned in 2010 by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) and published in June, 2011. Within several months, the three Congressmen stripped out the defunding language from the 2012 agricultural appropriations bill during a conference committee session, citing the GAO report’s claim that a surge in horse abuse and neglect was tied to the plant closings.

But that’s not true. Horse slaughter didn’t cease when the U.S. plants closed; it simply moved over our borders. Regardless, horse abuse and neglect was a relatively small problem during that period that was actually in decline.

The GAO, however, cherry-picked data to create the appearance of a huge and widening horse welfare crisis. It then sold the U.S. Congress and the public on the idea that bringing horse slaughter plants back to the U.S. could curtail an epidemic of inhumane treatment of horses.

The Equine Welfare Alliance’s new study zeroes in on the only real statistic in the GAO report: a purported 60% rise in horse abuse and neglect in the state of Colorado between 2005-2009 that has since been brandished by legislators and echoed by news organizations as proof that a lack of domestic slaughter facilities causes horses to suffer immeasurably.Colorado-abuse-cases-300x206

As the GAO report itself states, “Comprehensive, national data are lacking, but state, local government and animal welfare organizations report a rise in investigations for horse neglect and abuse since 2007. For example, Colorado data showed that investigations for horse neglect and abuse increased more than 60% from 975 in 2005 to 1,588 in 2009.”

But the plants closed in 2007, not 2005 and the GAO had access to data through 2010. “By fudging the dates, the GAO blamed two years of increasing abuse on something that had not even happened yet and conveniently got rid of one year of declining abuse by omitting 2010,” the EWA study states.

CONTINUED… This is a VERY IMPORTANT article. Please continue reading and COMMENT. A national news outlet such as Forbes attracts a lot of attention from those who have the power to make changes. Your comments on Forbes are vital to the cause.

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AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
11 Comments
  • Debbie Tracy

    I did comment earlier, and I must say it is one, if not the ONLY National news article I have ever read that SAY’S it ALL, and I mean ALL, THE BEST>>>>> Will anything be done or will it be heard??? What do you think the odds are>>>??? I am so very pleased and grateful for this, in all the hard work and FINALLY it has been shown to be a FRAUD,,, YEEPY….. WILL someone in Washington respond?? Please let it be so….

    August 8, 2013
  • Ricky Rogers

    80% Of WE-THE-PEOPLE oppose horse slaughter – it’s time this government started doing what WE-THE-PEOPLE want and that’s to stop horse slaughter for good once and for all!!!!!! What part of NO doesn’t this government understand? NO-HORSE SLAUGHTER!!!!!!

    August 8, 2013
  • Judy Wendt

    The GAO has access to U.N. reports on the devastation that factory farming and animal slaughter, in general, and horse slaughter specifically, does to the environmental. But where is that information in the report?

    For instance in the US alone, 83% of our land is used for pasture to feed (mostly GMO) crops to livestock and 70% worldwide. 16 pounds of grain produce 1 pound of edible meat. In poor countries, crops that could be used to feed the hungry are exported for animal feed. Of course, Sue Wallis’s assertion that horse meat would feed the hungry is just another of her BIG LIES. No one with a working brain cell believes that.

    Raising animals for food causes land degradation, air pollution – greater than the world’s cars, truck & planes combined – water shortages and pollution, and loss of biodiversity. Feedlots and slaughter are a major contributor to global warming, and they want to include horses, too?

    The GAO has access to the destruction of the slaughter towns of Kaufman, TX and DeKalb, Ill, so where is that information in their report???? All those powerful greenhouses gasses like methane and nitrous oxide from animal manure when 10 billion land animals are slaughtered annually are well known. So, why do they advocate adding yet another species, the horse, to this environmental disaster? How could the USDA ever let another slaughter facility pass inspection, especially one where toxins from animals routinely medicated with carcinogens to humans get into the local soil, air, and ground water??????? Very bad for communities, but great for lawyers, I suppose.

    August 8, 2013
  • Cynthia Curtis

    The misrepresentations by GAO started this blasphemy called horse slaughter aka cruel killing and this is just deplorable,shame on GAO and BLM and Congress for going along with the abusive action

    August 8, 2013
  • peggy peterson

    is there any way that the horse population can be controlled with out killing them? I know it has changed for feral cats, they are live trapped spayed and released in the same area they came from and it is changing for the better. It has been a hard fight but it is working, so why not horses? The American people can do great things or HORABLE acts ,what is now going on. Its not crazy only on a larger scale. If the will is there it can be done

    August 8, 2013
    • Judy Wendt

      Of course, Peggy. It requires responsible breeding – something the American Quarter Horse Association members will not do. Horse over population is similar to what we are facing with puppy mills. There is $$$$$ in over producing animals. They believe the “system” of tax paying Americans will take care of the over population of either horses or dogs by euthanizing unwanted dogs in county kill shelters, or (even worse for torture and suffering) slaughtering horses to feed the toxic meat to ignorant foreigners and zoos. Either way it is about unmitigated profit for the producer.

      Responsible pet owners spay, neuter and geld. There is birth control that can be fed to wild horses, but this nonsense about there being an over population of wild horses is a fabrication. If there really were too many wild horses, don’t you think we who live in extreme rural areas where we see wild life all the time would spot a band or two. No, wild horses are like “Sasquash.” We are told they are hiding out there somewhere. Seriously, any wild horses are just too many for the cattle ranchers who want to graze cheaply on our public lands. Again, $$$$$ (the devil) is the decision maker.

      August 9, 2013
  • sherriey

    yup! and it all comes back to MONEY!
    who padded WHO’s Hand(s) here????????????
    glad tho….that its now out in the open…and this whole subject is something we knew all along….the shady Pro-Slaughter jerks will do anything they can …for the sake of MONEY!
    caught-ya!

    August 8, 2013
    • Ricky Rogers

      We investigated Watergate so why can’t we investigate who is responsible for this lie?????

      August 8, 2013
  • Terra Pennington

    I will hold paying my tax money if we allow toxic horse meat to enter the USA food supply to line the pocket of those who need a trash can to take care of their unwanted horses. EX-PUM farms are still breeding because they have the horse slaughter trash can…

    August 9, 2013
  • Connie Nelson

    I am so against the torture of animals and the pollution of our water and land. . .horse slaughter is another human failure…all for meat the is not safe to eat for man or beast.

    August 9, 2013
  • Carol Lynn Lucas

    I am a Canadian and I disagree with horse slaughter. I have contacted my Member of Parliament, Lavar Payne and have even contacted the Minister of Agriculture, Gerry Ritz and have received the same letter that horse slaughter is a humane ending for these animals. I have been told that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is doing a good job but I must disagree with both of them..I live in Alberta close to the plant in Brooks that had the e-coli recall of beef. Our entire food industry is in jeopardy…from the top down. We have GMO crops harvested, the horseslaughterhellhouse in Fort Macleod does a booming business killing horses for food consumption, we have factory farming with pigs and chickens, we have the cloning of horses close in Lethbridge, Alberta who get a ongoing supply of eggs from Bouvry Exports for this replusive business, we have mares that are used to make Premarin, we have a Conservative government that puts a price on all our wildlife from polar bears, to sending live shipments of horses out of Calgary to Japan, to the ugly seal hunt, and the list goes on and on and it makes me physically sick to my heart. When is this stupidity going to end….What in heaven’s name are we feeding our children? If we go back 30 years everything was so different..our food was processed locally, we did not slaughter every living animal for money, our landscapes were taken better care of and pollution was frowned upon…but in this day and age it seems that everything goes..we live in a sick world and it is going to get alot worse…and only time will tell. Our politicans have to stop scouring the land, the animals, the fish in the sea and develop morals which can be held accountable..The days of great politicans the likes of John Diefenbaker, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy ,Martin Luther King are long gone and these iconic ambassadors do not seem to be found anywhere in this generation. We have the likes of Slaughterhouse Sue,to name one,who lies to the people about the chemicals in horsemeat in order to make monetary gain. There are many others with ties to Big Ag and BP Oil who are so wrapped up in destroying the very ground we live on…I sincerly doubt that we truly have enough honest people left in the world with ties to the food industry that can make a difference and strive to honestly feed the world’s population…Stopping horse slaughter would just be a start…food fraud in Europe with regards to horsemeat passed off in beef will also happen here.
    happened in the European markean

    August 9, 2013