USDA Horsemeat Inspections Funded Through 2013

images-4 / Pat Raia / March 28, 2013

images-5Federal legislation intended to fund U.S. government agencies will continue provide revenue for USDA inspections at horse processing plants located in the United States through September 2013. The current federal continuing funding resolution that also included USDA expired on March 27.

Every year since 2006, lawmakers had denied funding for USDA meat inspections at horse processing plants in the United States. The lack of funding eliminated food safety certifications necessary for U.S.-produced horsemeat products to be exported Europe and other offshore markets. As a result, the defunding figured significantly in operators’ decisions to close the last U.S.-based horse processing plant in 2007. Thereafter, U.S. horses were exported to processing facilities in Mexico and Canada. In November 2011, Congress passed an appropriations bill that did not include language specifically forbidding the USDA from using federal dollars to fund horse slaughter plant inspections. Since then, the owners of the Valley Meat Co., LLC, in New Mexico have applied for a USDA inspection permit, which remains pending. In addition, according to published reports, operators of prospective plants in several other states have also applied for inspection permits. Currently no horse slaughter plants are currently operating in the United States.

In June 2012, U.S. Rep. Jim Moran introduced and the U.S. House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment that reduced funding for USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) meat facility inspections to a level below the fiscal 2012 funding level. The amendment also deprived the USDA of funds to inspect horse processing plants in the United States. Moran said that funding horse processing plant inspections would consume FSIS resources at the expense of funding for chicken, pork and beef inspections.

Last week, on March 21, Congress passed HR 933, the Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013, which provides funding for the Department of Agriculture at fiscal 2012 levels, but does not contain the Moran Amendment. President Barak Obama subsequently signed the measure into law.

On March 25, Moran submitted a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting that the USDA deny applications for horse processing plant inspections. In his letter, Moran argues that horsemeat inspections will strain USDA resources.

“At a time when USDA’s budget is diminished by budget cuts and sequestration … every dollar spent at horse slaughter plants would divert necessary resources away from meat actually consumed by Americans,” Moran said in his letter. “I strongly urge you to exercise all available options to prevent the resumption of this industry.”

The letter also asks Vilsack to include language prohibiting the use of taxpayer dollars for horse processing plant inspections in the in the Department of Agriculture’s 2014 budget proposal.

“We expect that (budget) proposal in early April,” said Moran’s spokeswoman Anne Hughes. “If it is included in the agency proposal, it should be easier to ensure (defunding) language in the bill.”

A USDA spokesman confirmed that Vilsack had received the letter from Moran’s office.

“We will be responding soon,” the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, the spokesman said that without a ban, the FSIS must go forward with inspections at horse processing plants which successfully apply for permits.

“While there are currently no establishments authorized to slaughter horses, several companies have requested that FSIS reestablish inspection,” the spokesman’s statement said. “These companies must still complete necessary technical requirements and FSIS must still complete its inspector training, but at that point, the department will legally have no choice but to go forward with inspections, which is why we urge Congress to reinstate the ban.”

Blair Dunn, attorney for the Valley Meat Co., was unavailable for comment.

To SHARE – CLICK HERE (Please share from the article site – Jerry)

AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • Debbie Tracy

    This country has not learned a thing from having horse slaughter here in the past?? I thought we all are suppose to learn from our lesson’s what ever thay may be! This is going to happen isen’t it!? Unreal to me, even with the ban of American horses in Canada and EU right, so WHAT are they going to continue to process illegal papers for the horses and ship them anyway like they have been doing? I am sorry but WHAT IN HELL is going on!!!!!!!!??

    March 28, 2013
  • Belinda Caron

    For you in Kaufman County,Tx. This is what i recieved today. We need to go right around this guy and others like him.In fact we should vote them out. JEB HENSARLING
    Texas, 5th District


    Web Office: District Offices
    6510 Abrams Road
    Suite 243
    Dallas, TX 75231
    (214) 349-9996

    810 East Corsicana Street
    Suite C
    Athens, TX 75751
    (903) 675-8288

    March 28, 2013

    Dear Mrs. Caron:

    Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts regarding horses. I appreciate having the benefits of your thoughts on this issue.

    As you may know, on September 19, 2011, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011 (H.R. 2966) was introduced in 112th Congress. This legislation was similar to a bill passed without my support in the 109th Congress that would ban the processing of horses in the United States for human consumption. H.R. 2966 was not considered prior to the end of the 112th Congress.

    Having grown up working on a farm and both owning and riding a horse, I believe this bill is not about whether we are a nation of horse lovers, but whether we are a nation of freedom lovers. We are presented with a simple question of freedom, namely: will we grant the federal government the power to tell livestock owners and family farmers what they can do with their livestock?

    I believe that enactment of H.R. 2966 could have had several unintended consequences detrimental to the well-being of the horses that H.R. 2966 claims to protect. For example, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, horse owners will lose a humane option to dispose of a horse that is either unwanted or unable to be cared for. In 2005, around 90,000 horses were processed in the U.S. If there was another viable option for these horses, clearly they would not have been sent to the processing facility.

    Another unintended consequence is the precedent that we set by prohibiting the processing of livestock for any compelling reason other than we don’t think it should be processed. This is a slippery slope issue. I am particularly fearful that one day a similar movement will make the argument that cattle are no longer appropriate for processing for human consumption. While it may seem farfetched, with passage of H.R. 2966, we would have set a precedent that it is permissible for Congress to ban the processing of livestock for non-scientific and non-health reasons, providing those who wish to ban the processing of cattle a legal leg to stand on with either Congress or the courts.

    Horse processing facilities are currently subject to numerous federal government regulations, including the Humane Slaughter Act and the Federal Meat Inspection Act. Poor treatment of these animals and poor corporate citizenship are issues that are best addressed by enforcement of existing laws, not an effective ban on the process altogether.

    There is no doubt that a horse is a wonderful animal. For those who do not wish to process a horse, no one is forcing them to do so. In the end, I believe that it is important to protect the freedom of livestock owners to humanely decide the fate of their livestock. Protecting freedom sometimes means allowing our neighbors to do things we might find objectionable. This is America. We should love horses but we should love freedom even more.

    Thank you for contacting me. I appreciate having the opportunity to serve you in the United States House of Representatives. I encourage you to visit my website at where you can sign up for my e-newsletter. The website also provides links to my YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter pages, all of which will help bring my work in Washington, D.C. home to you.

    Yours respectfully,

    Member of Congress

    March 28, 2013
  • Susan Durrenberger

    What in the name of God have we become that this once great country now OK’s the slaughter of our horses which is cruel beyond description?

    President Obama must hate horses to sign such a bill when he pretends to like animals.

    I am thoroughly ashamed of the United States of America. It is a cruel country ruled by greed and corruption.

    March 28, 2013
  • Debbie

    Please boycott all breeder associations, which are nothing but PACs shelling out bribe money to their political puppets to keep the slaughter pipelines running blood. Please boycott registries, competitions, sponsors, products, services, and any media promoting them. Starve them.

    March 28, 2013
  • Deborah Beare

    People must take action and contact their legislators. USHS has their contact info at and has a sample letter to send as a follow up after the call. That’s the least we can do, and share it on facebook, also leave comments on Susanna Martinez (governor or New Mexico) facebook page anti- slaughter.

    March 28, 2013
  • Dorothy Hudecek

    Does he also believe that if a market should want to open for dog meat we should let that happen also. He doesn’t even realize this is animal cruelty and we the american public have laws against this. Why should we have to pay to have companion animals slaughtered, We pay for laws to protect animals.

    March 30, 2013
  • Dorothy Hudecek

    We don’t eat friends, dogs, cats or horses.Does he believe that if a market should want to open for dogs that would be ok?

    March 30, 2013