Obama Budget Could Halt Horse Plant Inspections Through 2015

Cash for unwanted horses

While its wonderful news that the proposed budget from the offices of the President will preclude horse slaughter plant inspections, as Habitat for Horses President Jerry Finch points out towards the end of this article – our current and proposed US budgets still allow 400 horses a day to cross the US borders to be slaughtered in Canada or Mexico. Few people give thought to that fact – that slaughter of American horses is still going on every single day. One victory does not mean the day is won. In fact, its far from over. ~ HfH

From: The Horse
By: Pat Raia

Cash for unwanted horsesFunding for USDA horse processing plant inspections would be eliminated through 2015 under a request contained in the $3.9 trillion budget proposal revealed this week by President Barack Obama. But one horse processing advocate believes the budget plan could violate North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) provisions.

Horse processing has not taken place in the United States since 2007, when a combination of court rulings and legislation shuttered the last two domestic equine processing plants in Illinois and Texas. Horses were thereafter shipped to Mexico and Canada for processing.

Congressional funding bills contained amendments denying the USDA funds for horse processing plant inspections until November 2011. Then, Congress passed an appropriations bill that did not contain language specifically forbidding the agency from using federal dollars to fund horse slaughter plant inspections. Shortly afterward, horse processing plants were proposed in several states, however, none became operational.

In April 2013, Obama introduced his $3.8 trillion budget plan for fiscal 2014. Under the budget, the USDA received $22.6 billion in descretionary revenue, which previously could have been use to fund horse processing plant inspections. However, the budget also included the USDA’s request that Congress vote to prohibit the agency from using any of those federal funds to inspect U.S. horse processing plants.

In January, Appropriations Committee leaders from U.S. House and Senate released their consolidated appropriations bill, the “Omnibus Bill of 2014,” which strips the USDA of funding to pay horsemeat inspection personnel. Both the House and Senate passed the Omnibus Bill, and on Jan. 17, Obama signed the bill into law.

On March 4, Obama released his $3.9 trillion budget plan for fiscal 2015. That plan devotes $22.2 billion in decresitionary revenue, and, like the 2014 budget, requests that Congress prohibit the USDA from using its funds for horse processing plant inspections.

Attorney Blair Dunn, who represents Valley Meats, LLC in litigation relative to potential horse processing at its New Mexico plant, said in a written statement that he believes the proposed budget could violate NAFTA’s terms by failing to protect legitimate businesses in Canada and Mexico.

“The U.S. Congress defundng a mandatory law … is the same as ‘taking’ without just compensation of a lawful business under NAFTA with the companies have Mexican or Canadian ownership,” Dunn’s statement said.

Meanwhile, horse advocate Jerry Finch, president of the Texas-based Habitat for Horses, believes the proposed budget and current budget legislation denying funds for horse plant inspections do not help U.S. horses bound for processing in Canada or Mexico.

“Over 400 equines per day make the trip across the borders to their doom and that is a battle we continue to fight,” he said.

Obama’s 2015 budget plan remains pending.

Read Original Article


AUTHOR: Amber Barnes
  • Callie83

    The full picture is this: Due to the North American Free Trade Agreement our Borders will never be closed to Mexico and Canada. The Department of Transportation would have the task of inspecting vehicles for horses. Where will we find the funding for this?

    Also, the Bills we have now (that are going nowhere as usual) allow horses and their cousins to be slaughtered for Zoos. In 2006 when HR 503 passed the House but died in the Senate had the language that horses, ponies, donkeys and mules could not be slaughtered for ANY purpose. The bill passed Goodlatte’s Ag Committee and because Senator Landriue did not call for a Cloture the bill died in the Senate.

    To reiterate, Borders can never be closed, the Department of Transportation would be responsible for inspecting vehicles at the Borders, Horses and their cousins can be slaughtered for Zoos and nobody is talking about these logistical problems.

    Even if we get it shut down state by state, there will always be a challenge from the State Horse Councils and the Farm Bureau which are both PRO Slaughter. If slaughter is to be banned successfully all of the above have to take effect.

    I am not hopeful, perhaps I just have fatigue as I have been at this since the 107th Congress.

    March 8, 2014
    • Robynne Catheron

      Callie83, it’s refreshing to read intelligent comments such as yours. It’s obvious you’ve done your research. Thank you, fellow warrior!

      I’d heard that animals in some zoos and exotic animal sanctuaries are getting sick from the toxic horse meat, so those particular places are no longer feeding it. I don’t remember which ones or in which states they are. I was hoping that news would spread like wildfire to zoos all over the United States, but evidently that hasn’t happened.

      It saddened me greatly when I found out that State Horse Councils were “neutral,” as they told me, and so is the American Horse Council. Whether that means they won’t commit either way or they silently condone it, I have no idea. It’s definitely frustrating to read on their website that they support the humane treatment of animals, and then have them tell you they’re silent on the topic of horse slaughter. When I posed that question, I got no response. It’s sad, because I’m a member.

      As far as the Farm Bureau, that’s a no-brainer. Cattle will always take precedence over horses, even though most of the meat is exported. Cattle ranchers have a whole lot more money to buy Congressmembers and lobbyists than any horse barn. It’s too bad we can’t rely on our three largest horse communities to protect American horses, the AQHA, APHA, and The Jockey Club, but they send more horses to slaughter than everyone else combined. It makes me sick.

      As for the S.A.F.E. Act, I’m working my tail off trying to get more co-sponsors so it can at least get out of committees and to the respective floors for a vote. Getting that Act signed into law would be a huge step in the right direction, but it only protects horses being hauled across the borders. It does nothing for the horses being slaughtered here for zoos, exotic animal sanctuaries, and for sick sport, like Bravo Meat Packing Co in New Jersey.

      You’re not alone in your curiosity about inspecting every livestock trailer on the road, especially at the borders. Who’s working on that, and where is that funding coming from?

      We warriors, both large equine welfare groups and the little guys like Callie83 and me, need help. Lots of it. Nothing is going to change without us.

      March 8, 2014
      • Callie83

        Hi Robynne,

        It is a mess and so at odds with itself it can be reduced to an Absurdity. My belief is that we have to get the language in the bills to include Carnivore Consumption.

        The organizations that say it is better to let some die then had all die are just ludicrous. HR 503 passed the House in 2006 and that bill included Carnivore Consumption in addition to Human Consumption. That is the absurdity I am referring to. How does one decide which ones get to live and which get sent to an UNREGULATED and UNINSPECTED Slaughterhouse where the abuse is beyond comprehension.

        That point is very important because the Logic dictates that slaughter is slaughter and there is no difference between an off track Thoroughbred or a Nursemare Foal. We must get them ALL included or we will never get rid of Horse Slaughter on American Soil.

        The passage of HR 503 in September of 2006 clearly illustrates that slaughter can be banned for all Horses, Ponies, Mules, Donkeys and Hinnies! Some people clearly do not remember that fact or how Mary Landriue never called for a Cloture and she had all the votes she needed! She was up for re-election and she did not want her constituents to think that Horses were an important issue so she let it drop.

        The Borders are a MAJOR problem and one that most people did not connect the dots to. I have been aware of NAFTA since it came into practice and always knew that if we banned slaughter of Equidaes in our Country we would have to inspect the trucks at the Borders. Also we need a Passport system like they have in Europe.

        This is a huge Hydra with more than eight heads to chop off and we also have to be more forceful about passing Laws that regulate the breeding of all Horses, Ponies, and yes, dogs and cats. Make rules about how many can be bred and make the fee for the License very expensive and have some of that go into a fund for either that breeder’s horses to care for them when they are retired, or distribute the funds to the Rescues who do the job of cleaning up the horses that have been abused by racing, or just cruelty or ignorance. To Rescue and do it well is very expensive!

        I still think we need to get ALL horses included right away. No more challenges from States that want to slaughter for Zoos!

        Great to meet you!

        March 12, 2014
  • Sundee

    I live in Arizona. There are “kill buyers” in my area and i am enraged by their activity. I post on craigslist, talk to people whenever i can, and have made a flyer to RAISE AWARENESS about horses being collected and trucked into Mexico for inhumane slaughter. I am advising horse owners NOT to give away their horses for free or to sell their horses for less than their worth by the pound. I also offer solutions to their unwanted horse problem, such as donating to a horse rescue or humane euthanasia. WE ALL NEED TO SPREAD THE WORD OF AWARENESS. We can’t fight the law makers or make them move any faster, but we can find or CREATE SOLUTIONS!

    March 10, 2014