House Committee Rejects Anti-Horse Slaughter Amendment

horse bound for slaughter being comforted

Jerry Finch, President of Habitat for Horses, is a long time advocate for horses. His opinion was sought by, an online horse health and news website, on horse slaughter, the possibility of US citizens eating horse meat and its effect on the health of the American public. This is an issue that our Congress overlooked in their recent vote that will allow horse slaughter once again on US soil. ~ HfH

From: The Horse
By: Pat Raia

The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee has rejected an amendment to its agriculture funding bill that would have prevented the USDA from paying personnel to conduct inspections at horse processing plants in the United States.

In 2007 a combination of legislation and court rulings shuttered the last existing U.S. horse processing plants, which were located in Illinois and Texas. Congress continued to prevent U.S.-based horse processing by passing amendments that stripped the USDA of funding for inspections at facilities that process horsemeat for human consumption.

horse bound for slaughter being comforted

Girl comforts horse that was bound for slaughter after the trailer the horse was in overturned (2006 –

Funding bills contained similar amendments until November 2011, when lawmakers passed an appropriations bill that did not contain language specifically forbidding the agency from using federal dollars to fund horse slaughter plant inspections. Afterward, horse processing plans were proposed in several states. None of those plants became operational. Succeeding federal funding bills did contain language denying the USDA horse processing plant inspection funds.

Despite the legislation, horses from the United States were exported for processing at plants in Canada and Mexico. Last year an audit from the European Union’s (EU) Food and Veterinary Office banned the sale of horsemeat derived from American horses that were processed in slaughter plants in Mexico.

In April a bipartisan group of lawmakers responded to the foreign horse processing issue by introducing the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) act. Also known as HR 1942, the act would prevent horse processing plants from ever opening in the United States and would ban the transport of horses to foreign plants for processing. The legislation, said supporters, would also protect consumers from horsemeat derived from animals injected with unregulated drugs and other substances.

That legislation remains pending.

On July 8 the U.S. House Appropriations Committee voted to exclude Rep. Sam Farr’s amendment to eliminate funding for horse processing plant inspections from the USDA budget. The tie 24-24 vote was broken by Rep. Robert Aderholt, chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the agriculture funding bill.

Horse processing advocate Dave Duquette said the tie-breaking vote was significant.

“It went that way because they (lawmakers) wanted it that way,” Duquette said. “This is a nonpartisan issue and legislators are finally listening the horsemen that we need this. We have plants ready to open when Congress votes to let inspections begin.”

But horse processing opponent Jerry Finch said the vote ignored serious health concerns connected to horsemeat.

“The effort to legalize the slaughter of horses and sale of horsemeat in the U.S. is a sick, almost comical effort by politicians,” Finch said. “Understanding that the EU is doing its best to ban horsemeat coming from the U.S., putting horsemeat on the same level as (meat from) cattle showing signs of mad cow disease, should lead to the conclusion that something is wrong; there is a serious food safety issue, yet the politicians want to ignore the dangers.”

The final appropriations subcommittee bill now moves to the full House for consideration.

AUTHOR: Amber Barnes
  • Callie

    I feel ill.

    July 13, 2015
  • Julia

    Ditto – absolutely stunned.

    July 13, 2015
  • cynthia curtis

    Tea Party and the new far right conservatives rejoice because they are intent on wiping out wild horse herds and wolves and the list goes on,sorry,saying it like i see it!

    July 13, 2015
    • Sue

      Don’t apologize! You are absolutely correct.

      July 13, 2015
  • The inappropriate result of this vote shows how little we,the public, is thought of by the government and how little the government views it’s “real natives and resources”, the iconic horse.

    July 13, 2015
  • Gail Wiot

    This is but only one third of the way. It is now IMPARATIVE that we all contact our Legislators and tell them 85% of all Amerucans oppose the barbaric process of Horse slaughter itself. The fact of the matter is that the Horse meat us tainted. Bute will stay in the tissue of the Horse. The resulting cancer from ingesting thus meat would totally breakdown a humans immune system. This is but one chemical. Mr! D’s point us some what slanted. A 50/50 vote is in no way a landslide! I live in Illinois and one operated in our state for years. WE DONT WANT IT BACK!!! They left owing violation funds to the environment without paying!

    If we are EVER to keep our beautiful horses Safe from this barbaric death the time is NOW!! Please don’t wait, please call and tell them to support the Safe Food, Safe Horse will take 5 minutes and will save thousands if horses!!

    There will also be a program and a march September 29th in Washington, DC I invite anyone near or far to attend. Information regarding times speakers and events can be found on Face Book under The March for Safe Food, Safe Horse Act.

    July 13, 2015
    • Sue

      They don’t care what we say. They vote according to their self-interests and money lobbyists.

      July 13, 2015
  • Anna Mae

    Give us a list of the fools who voted – I see the name of fool who broke the tie – list the state as well as the name for each.

    July 13, 2015
    • jfinch

      Lawmakers voting yes on the amendment, to protect horses:

      Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Charlie Dent (R-PA), Sam Farr (D-CA), Chakah Fattah (D-PA), Michael Honda (D-CA), Steve Israel (D-NY), David Jolly (R-FL), David Joyce (R-OH), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), David Price (D-NC), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Kevin Yoder (R-KS).

      Lawmakers voting no on the amendment:

      Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Mark Amodei (R-NV), Ken Calvert (R-CA), John Carter (R-TX), Tom Cole (R-OK), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), Kay Granger (R-TX), Sam Graves (R-MO), Andy Harris (R-MD), Jaime Herrera Buetler (R-WA), Evan Jenkins (R-WV), Steven Palazzo (R-MS), Scott Rigell (R-VA), Martha Roby (R-AL), Hal Rogers (R-KY), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Chris Stewart (R-UT), David Valadao (R-CA), Steve Womack (R-AR), David Young (R-IA).

      Not voting:

      John Culberson (R-TX); Tom Rooney (R-FL); Peter Visclosky (D-IN)

      July 13, 2015
  • Joanne Gura

    Don’t ever let what they think influence what you do…that is what they want…fight for what is right and never ever worry about the other side…We need to write to the President and the Senate…tell them how you feel…tell them what you want, and remind that this is our country and we pay the taxes…we need to have a say in what we want…or we will get rid of them all…thanks…

    July 13, 2015
    • Daniel Cordero

      The bill has to be voted on yet by the full House and Representatives may still introduce amendments to reinstate the USDA defunding language. Contact your Representative and let him know you want the USDA horse slaughter inspections defunding language back:

      July 13, 2015
  • MS

    Unbelievable! After all these years, how could they? What argument sways them to think it’s ok to “slaughter horses?” How hungry are we?

    What kind of value system do we have?

    This just can’t be!

    July 13, 2015
  • MS

    WHEN is a good time to communicate with them? Next week? Next month? What kind of a timeline are we working with?

    If I write them today and the issue reappears before them 6 months from now, or longer, I don’t want these reps forgetting what we tell them!

    July 13, 2015
    • Daniel Cordero

      Contact them now that the issue is hot and follow up once a week.

      July 13, 2015
  • Daniel Cordero

    «“It went that way because they (lawmakers) wanted it that way,” Duquette said. “This is a nonpartisan issue and legislators are finally listening the horsemen that we need this.”»

    Yet another laughable attempt by the pro-slaughter ideological lobby to take over true horse people by branding themselves as “industry” in an effort to look “better” and more “professional”… despite the fact the overwhelming majority of horse owners and 85% of the US population (some 275 million people) opposes horse slaughter.

    For Duquette and his small circle of adulators, it seems that only those who enjoy the brutal slaughter of horses to either pad their pockets or boost the ideologico-political agendas of others (who usually pay their bills) are the only “horsemen”… the other 274.9999999999 million are just “radical animal rights” or simply do not exist.

    In fact, hardly there is a “need for slaughter” as he proposes since in fact, it is pretty much business as usual for the horse slaughter industry. Whether it takes places in the US, Canada, Mexico or the moon is irrelevant for the horse meat corporations and international market forces which are the ones that actually call the shots when it comes where they operate, where they sell and at what price they buy horses, despite Duquette’s wishes. That something is made in the US doesn’t make it better (it usually isn’t). There is no a single argument from the pro-slaughter lobby that is factually correct.

    If horse slaughter didn’t exist, Duquette would be there lobbying for something else, since he is merely a mouthpiece of a money-raking lobby.

    «“We have plants ready to open when Congress votes to let inspections begin.”»

    False, as everything that comes out of Duquette’s big mouth. The only place that was ever near of opening -with a less than irrealistc business plan- is now up for sale as a total failure and the other “plants” he claims to have ready are actually phony companies that only exist in paper and that were registered, usually with address being a private residence, so some pal of Sue Wallis can file petitions to USDA back in 2011.

    Therefore, and taking into account the slaughter of horses and the padding of pockets of those who profit from it continues unabbated with more 65,304 horses slaughtered so far this year, both the pro-slaughter lobby and this vote should be seen as a fruitless ideological crusade started merely so lobbyists, subordinate mouthpieces like Duquette and irresponsible, moldy and corrupt politicians can continue raking in money from the larger agribusiness and the so-called conservative lobbies.

    The legislators responsible of the defeat of this vote have a very narrow knowledge of horses, less so of the secretive horse slaughter industry. Yet their distorted view prevailed due to ideological rethoric. The issue itself was irrelevant to the goals of the new GOP-controlled Congress. There are no US horsemeat industry and never will be. The amendment protecting horses was defeated out of pure ideological fanaticism.

    It is sad when ideology and rethoric defeats logic and facts, all for the sake of lust for power, and it must be said that this is consequence of putting the wrong people in office. The ultimate responsibility lies on the voters who elected them… that didn’t know or didn’t want to see through the non-sensical rethoric.

    At the end, most legislators will act the same way in issues like security, economy and so forth for such issues are governed by larger forces which are usually out of a nation’s control. But votes on issue like this are what makes a difference, a difference between life and death in the case of equines.

    This vote is a wake-up call for the times to come… we must chose between protecting what we truly love and appreciate, what fill our lives, or the non-sensical rethoric based on skewed, moldy, outdated, wrong ideological constructs they usually bombard us with.

    Now the bill will be reported to the House floor for a vote and amendments not included in the negotiated text presented to the full House can still be introduced during the debate. We should thus contact all Representatives, not just those of the Appropiations Committee, and ask them to vote for any amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations Bill (no formal bill number has been introduced yet) introduced in the House floor to prohibit USDA from using funds to carry out mandatory inspections of horses in slaughter plants.

    July 13, 2015
    • MS

      Thank you for info

      July 13, 2015
    • MS

      It would really help if I knew the number assigned this particular bill (if it helps) — specifically, this forum is dedicated to the rejection of Farr’s amendment — I’m in the process of composing correspondence, which I will eventually send to committee members BUT (and obviously) I need to address this amendment. This is what I came up with so far S1214 and HR1942 — is Farr’s amendment to these bills?

      July 15, 2015
      • Daniel Cordero

        The bill is actually HR 3049, the 2016 fiscal year agriculture budget.

        The bills you made reference to (S1214 and HR1942) are the different versions of the SAFE Act (to ban horse slaughter) and they are not related to this particular amendment, which prevents the operation of horse slaughter plants by making mandatory inspections unavailable.

        The USDA defunding amendment was originally passed in 2005 but was watered down by a Texas ex-Representative (Henry Bonilla which now works for a lobby firm, together with some senators. Eventually, the provision watering it down was ruled illegal in court in 2008 but by that time the US plants were already closed due to state laws. Since then it prevented the opening of new slaughter plants, like Ricky De Los Santos’ place in NM.

        July 16, 2015
        • MS

          Daniel, this is what I recently learned ——– Some days ago, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee voted in favor of an anti-horse slaughter amendment to its Fiscal Year 2016 Agriculture Appropriations bill. The amendment, offered by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), would prohibit federal funding for USDA inspections of horse slaughter plants. The amendment will continue the de facto ban on horse slaughter in the U.S. However, last week the House Appropriations Committee rejected a similar anti-horse slaughter amendment. Now it’s up to the full House and Senate to determine the fate of American horses — both wild & domestic. Will Congress allow horse slaughter plants, closed since 2007, to reopen in the U.S.? Help us make sure they don’t…..Tell your Congressman and Senators to prohibit the expenditure of tax dollars to subsidize the horrific horse slaughter industry! By the way, I already sent emails to MY reps emphasizing all points made PLUS a point Finch made regarding health issues & dangers from eating horse-meat (which no one seemed to address). I already began communicating with those on Finch’s list who voted against our horses PLUs those (2?) who abstained from voting altogether. By the way, communicating isn’t as straightforward as it used to be — these congressmen prefer hearing only from their own constituents so I had to take different routes — e.g., Tweet them, FB pages, some even use YouTube for comments and then there are those who give their direct email.

          July 18, 2015
          • Daniel Cordero

            Yes. Now House and Senate must reach an agreement on the text they will finally send to the President for signature. For our purposes a number of things could happen:

            – The House adds the amendment to their bill and we are good to go.

            – The House does not and the bill is taken to a Conference Committee. They can decide to keep the amendment or remove it.

            – The Senate strips the amendment while debating their bill (unlikely)

            July 18, 2015
  • Kathy McCovey

    What really is sickening is that now they removed the labels. You don’t know what you’re eating and can’t even make a conscious effort. I think we are all screwed and they are hell bent on poisoning us.

    July 13, 2015
  • Cindy Coker

    Thank you for publishing this report!
    I have written to my Congressmen – Babin, Cornyn, and Cruz.
    Now – I’m going to write to all of these representatives from Texas who are a bunch of spineless, greedy, weasels!!! Some, no doubt – are “good old boys” doing the “good old boy” thing. They probably are getting “paybacks” from these companies who buy these animals at auction and ship them off to the slaughterhouse.

    Everyone!!! Find your rep from your state and lets get all of our friends to write letters to them – telling them what scum they are!!!
    Remind them that they can be – DESELECTED WHEN IT COMES TIME TO VOTE!!!!
    And, let’s start one of those on-line petitions — I have done it on something before — if anyone knows how to get one started – let’s get it going!!!
    I’ll sign it — let’s get it going and keep it going till we have so many signatures that it can be sent to the U.S. Congress!
    I’m not giving up –
    THE BILL IS HR 1942 – The Safeguard American Food Exports Act (SAFE) –
    This bill has come up time and again – It always gets TABLED – meaning, it doesn’t come up for a vote. So, it dies in session.
    LETS MOBILIZE EVERYBODY – start writing and start calling your Congressmen.
    CALL 202-224-3121 to ask them to support HR 1942 – it is the same number for both the House and the Senate – You call it once for each one – call the number, tell them you want to tell your Representative to support the bill – then, call the number again and tell them you want to tell your Senator that you want him/her to support HR 1942 OR the SAFE ACT.

    Someone — please if you know how to do it -start a petition. I know it doesn’t cost anything – I just forgot how it works, it’s been so long since I’ve done one.

    Cindy Coker
    Baytown, TX

    July 16, 2015
  • Cheryl Bowe

    No matter where they are slaughtered, United States horses are not raised as meat animals, under our FDA rules, or under the food safety rules of other nations….For our representatives to propose slaughter for meat production as a way to rid our nation of “too many horses” is criminal.

    July 21, 2015