Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Domestic Slaughter Dealt a Possible Death Blow in House Committee

Horseback Magazine

June 19, 2012
By Steven Long
HOUSTON, (Horseback) – An amendment to the federal agriculture bill has passed a House committee and will now become part of the House version of the Agriculture budget. Passage of the measure is the first step in again prohibiting the use of federal meat inspectors in horse slaughterhouses. It could be a possible death blow to efforts to again legalize the slaughter of horses inside U.S. borders.
The Moran Amendment passed last year, however, when Senators failed to put the language into their version of the budget. It was sent to conference committee where at the eleventh hour Senators Blunt and Kohl and Congressman Kingston voted to drop the language. Sources close to the legislation say it would have likely passed had the full Senate been able to vote on it. The possibility of equine slaughter became a reality when President Obama had no choice but to sign the bill or veto the entire agriculture budget.
The Moran Amendment was introduced by longtime animal welfare supporter Rep. Jim Moran, (D) Virginia. The agriculture budget bill will now likely pass the House and move on to the Senate. The upper house may use the House version or hobble together one of their own.
Passage of the amendment out of the House committee is a severe blow to the meat industry which had launched a vigorous and expensive lobbying campaign to re-open slaughterhouses, despite a decade of polling that indicates consistently that 70- 80 percent of all Americans oppose the slaughter of horses.
Many believe that any effort to open slaughterhouses for American horsemeat is wishful thinking because of the habit of American horsemen who use drugs prohibited in food animals by the federal Food and Drug Administration. One such drug is the common phenalbutazone, or bute, also known as “horse aspirin.” The drug remains in the horse’s body forever and is dangerous to pregnant women and is a carcinogen for humans. Other drugs such as wormers and fly sprays are also prohibited, and the European Union prohibits import of such meat.
“Last Friday I personally called every office and they indicated that the call volume was high and very much in favor of the amendment,” said John Holland, president of the Chicago Based Equine Welfare alliance. The alliance is the largest group opposing slaughter in the nation. They are also active in efforts to curtail the captivity of America’s wild horses.
“If the forces of slaughter thought you would be discouraged by their trickery, they miscalculated,” Holland said in a note to EWA members. “Horse lovers are united and filled with resolve as never before.”
Wyoming State Representative Sue Wallis has mounted a tireless effort for years to re-open slaughterhouses in the United State. She recently said her firm would open one in a small Missouri community. It is believed she has substantial backing from several national breed associations and others in the horse industry who like to sell off unwanted culls to recover the cost of their birth, veterinary bills, and maintainance.

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