Sunday, June 30, 2013

USDA Approves Horse Slaughter, Despite Overwhelming Opposition

Humane Society of the United States

June 28, 2013

USDA Approves Horse Slaughter, Despite Overwhelming Opposition

Today, in a mystifying and infuriating decision, the U.S. Department of Agriculture granted an inspection permit to a discredited horse slaughter plant operator in New Mexico, bringing the nation closer to its first horse slaughter operation since federal courts and state lawmakers shuttered the last three U.S.-based plants in 2007. The USDA has let it be known that it may also approve horse slaughter plants in Iowa and Missouri next week.
Consider these facts, each of which should have been sufficient to dissuade the USDA from proceeding with this inspection permit for New Mexico.

  • The USDA granted the permit even though Republican Governor Susanna Martinez and Democratic Attorney General Gary King oppose the opening of the facility in their state. 
  • The department took this action even though Congress, in its 2014 agriculture spending bill, is poised to forbid the USDA from spending money on horse slaughter inspections. In June, both the House and Senate appropriations committees approved amendments to defund any horse slaughter plants.
  • The USDA is moving ahead even though the Obama Administration, in its 2014 budget proposal to Congress, recommended a defunding of horse slaughter plants. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has called for a “third way” in dealing with unwanted horses and expressed opposition to horse slaughter.
  • Approval was granted even though The HSUS submitted a petition to the USDA that provides incontrovertible evidence that horses are routinely fed or dosed with more than 100 different drugs unfit for human consumption. 
  • The USDA pursued this course of action just months after Europeans learned the hard way that horse slaughter operators and meat traders substituted their product for beef, throwing the European beef market and consumer confidence in the safety and integrity of the food supply into a tailspin. 
  • Horse slaughter is being approved in spite of polling information indicating that an overwhelming majority of the American public – to the tune of 80 percent – opposes slaughtering American horses for human consumption.
I’ve been asked why the Administration would take this action, contradicting its own stated goal to end horse slaughter. And I cannot explain it, other than the lawyers at the USDA driving the train and offering a highly legalistic view of the controversy, given that Valley Meat has sued the USDA for unreasonably delaying action on its application. We seem to have a case where the decision-makers have decided they are obligated to grant the permit when there is a fact pattern that screams at them from every angle that they should not grant that permit.
Horses bound for slaughter
Kathy Milani/The HSUSHorses held in export pens before transported for slaughter.
The Administration wouldn’t grant an inspection permit for a dog slaughterhouse even if the application for the permit was properly filled out and the operator hired a lawyer to compel action. Local and national opposition to such an idea would be more than convincing in compelling the USDA to keep any plant from opening up and sucking dogs into the slaughter lines.
The HSUS will work with state authorities to block this plant from opening, and will join Front Range Equine Rescue in taking the USDA to court on this issue
Horse slaughter is not humane euthanasia and is a betrayal of our trusted companions. The entire pipeline of horse slaughter, including auctions and transport in crowded trailers in freezing cold or oppressive heat, is abusive. The slaughter process itself is horribly cruel and many horses suffer during the misguided and often repeated attempts to render them unconscious.   
Sensible policy makers don’t want to see a bloodbath in the United States resume. Let’s hope we can hold off slaughter until the defund language, expected to take effect in a few months, becomes law.
Now is the time to express your concern to your members of Congress and urge them to pass the Safeguard American Food Exports Act to shut the door on horse slaughter once and for all.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

FBI busts OK horse farm for Mexican drug cartel money laundering

Agents at horse farm

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Source: the FBI

FBI agents at the Oklahoma horse farm that served as a money-laundering front for Los Zetas.
Equine Crime A Horse Farm of a Different Color   06/28/13
By outward appearances, the owner of an Oklahoma farm bought American quarter horses to train, breed, and race. But Jose Trevino Morales, the brother of two leaders of the violent and powerful Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas, was not just in the horse business: He was using the farm as a front to launder millions of dollars of the cartel’s illicit profits.
A three-year investigation led by the FBI resulted in convictions recently in federal court against Trevino and three others for conspiracy to commit money laundering. The case was significant because it revealed the reach and influence of Los Zetas in the U.S.—and it also illustrated how effective our investigators have become at targeting the cartel’s leaders.
“Core family members of the cartel and key business partners were impacted by this case,” said Special Agent David Villarreal, who supervised the investigation from our Laredo, Texas Resident Agency. “The FBI is targeting the highest echelons of the cartel’s leadership, and that sends a strong message not only to the cartel but to the people who are laundering their money on the American side of the border.”
The investigation, conducted through the Department of Justice-run Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, showed that since 2008, Trevino and his associates bought and sold racehorses with Los Zetas drug money using shell companies and front men. Testimony at trial revealed that during a 30-month period, the defendants spent $16 million in New Mexico, Oklahoma, California, and Texas on the horse farm operation.
U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman, who prosecuted the case, said after the trial, “The government was able to show how the corrupting influence of drug cartels has extended into the United States with cartel bosses using an otherwise legitimate domestic industry to launder proceeds from drug trafficking and other crimes.”
Investigators traced “upwards of $22 million that was laundered and shipped back to Mexico,” Villarreal said. “And that was just a piece of the operation that we used as a snapshot to prove our case in court.”

The government seized 455 horses and will seek a judgment in an upcoming civil trial that will include forfeitures that could total more than $70 million.
Villarreal believes that dismantling the horse farm operation will hamper the cartel’s ability to launder money, and that, in turn, will help restrict its U.S. operations. As part of the case, the government seized 455 horses and will seek a judgment in an upcoming civil trial that will include forfeitures of cash, U.S real estate, and three jets that could total more than $70 million.
In Laredo, on the South Texas border, “the Zetas are the main criminal threat, responsible for most of the violence, kidnappings, human and drug smuggling, and related crime,” Villarreal explained. “Across the border in Mexico, they have bombed police stations and assassinated numerous public officials.” This cartel, he said, “has committed countless atrocities, and they are responsible for destabilizing the border.”
He added that everyone on the task force—including the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agency partners—worked hard to make the case against Trevino and his associates.
“Personally,” said Villarreal, who grew up in the region, “it is very rewarding to be able to bring justice to these ruthless people and to help stop their U.S. operations.”

BLM decides to scare shit out of wild horses with sprinklers

Straight from the horse's Heart

In what can only be the second most idiotic alternative (other than letting the wild horses suffer in the heat), instead of installing any type of SHADE, the BLM, in Nevada, where wild horses have had to be rounded up because of drought, has decided to cool the horses in some pens in the Palomino Valley holding facility using SPRINKLERS.   Yes, the ones that make a lot of noise.   Besides the water shortage issues, we all know there are sprinklers out in the wild so the wild horses won’t be skittish when the sprinklers go off, right?   Also, how might these sprinklers solve the problem of the wild horses with no protection in the snowy winters?  This coming winter, will the BLM decide to install a ski lift (or some equally ineffective solution) for them?   Debbie
BLM Installing Sprinklers to Keep Horses Cool
By: Staff  Email
Updated: Fri 11:58 PM, Jun 28, 2013
Courtesy: BLMCourtesy: BLM
(BLM) officials say they are installing water sprinklers at the wild horse enclosures in Palomino Valley in an effort to protect the horses from record-breaking heat.
On Friday, June 28th, the official temperature in Reno hit 103, breaking the previous record by three degrees.  Record-breaking temperatures are expected to continue throughout the weekend and a Heat Advisory is in effect from 1pm Sunday to 10pm Tuesday.
The BLM says crews are installing the sprinklers in three of the large, outside pens and five mare/foal pens.  The sprinklers are meant to reduce the heat levels inside the corrals.  In addition, BLM staff will closely watch the horses react to the sprinklers to make sure they remain healthy.
In a press release, officials say shade shelters have been considered and the current policy is based on a number of things, including:
“- Wild horses and burros are accustomed to open environments and when their nutritional demands are met, they do well against the natural elements, including sun, rain, snow, and hot and cold temperatures.  At Palomino Valley, the animals are fed hay each day; mineral blocks are available in each pen; and a continuous supply of water is available via automatic waterers.
- Open corrals with plenty of sunlight have proven to be the best way to minimize disease-causing organisms.  The BLM’s open corrals enable the drying effects of the sun and wind to take effect.  The corrals are sloped to minimize the pooling of precipitation in the pens and to allow it to channel to the exterior of the facility.
- Due to the temperament of the animals, the social hierarchy between the animals, and their unfamiliarity with shelters, the BLM feels that corrals without shelters are the safest approach.  Shelters could create a potential obstacle for animals running and playing in the corrals, and cause significant injuries. The BLM has wind breaks and/or shelters for sick animals.  The “sick pens” do not have the same safety issues because the animals are in a smaller area with limited pressure from other animals.”

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

BLM’s Pick-Up Truck Wranglers

Straight from the Horse's Heart

SOURCE: PPJ Gazette by Debbie Coffey, Director of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation
On May 23, 2013, several wranglers at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Palomino Valley facility seemed to be too lazy to saddle up their horses, so all 3 of those big boys crammed themselves into a pick-up truck and drove it around inside a pen of wild horses like they were in a Monster truck event, and what may be a government owned vehicle even fishtailed – yee haa!!  Apparently, this was supposed to have been an effort to separate out a paint horse from the other horses.
Wild horse advocate Patty Bumgarner was there and this is what she saw:
Is this BLM’s standard operating procedure?
Now, after this little joy ride failed to separate out the horse, they drove the pick-up past Patty, and one of the wranglers asked “Did you get some good pictures?”  He didn’t say this in a polite way, but in a way that seemed meant to intimidate and harass her.
It was none of this wrangler’s business if a taxpaying American, who pays his salary and for the operation and activities of this government facility (which is a public place), wants to stand there all day, every day, and take photos and/or video.
Or, isn’t this a free country anymore?
Patty was there representing all of us.
This is just one more example of not only BLM’s reckless actions around wild horses, but of an attitude towards the public that would get them fired in any other work environment.  What business do you know of where an employee could get away with treating the public rudely?   None.  And guess what BLM?   We’re NOT going to put up with it.
Bullies are brave when they think they’re anonymous, so let’s all just take a look at a photo of  these 3 yahoos:
photo by Patty Bumgarner
3 wranglers
We encourage more advocates to go as often as possible to BLM facilities to observe both the activities and the condition of the wild horses, and to take photos and video.
Patty also observed that the horses at Palomino Valley have warts near their mouths,
(photo by Patty Bumgarner)
and noted:
“Warts can spread from one horse to another if they’re not confined.. Warts on a horse is known as papillomavirus, and they usually appear as blemishes on the face, mouth, or nose regions in younger horses.  They appear as either single warts, or as clusters of warts that have a “cauliflower” appearance. While unsightly, they usually pose no threat to the horse’s overall health and are considered merely a cosmetic blemish. In most cases, the warts will disappear on their own, in a matter of time. But it is important to remember that warts are a viral, contagious disease and that proper steps should be taken in order to prevent them from spreading from one horse to another, especially if the horse is kept in the vicinity of other horses.
Younger horses are more susceptible to warts because they have less-efficient immune systems than older horses. Their skin also is not as tough, and they have less hair to ward off the insects that can carry the papillomavirus. The good news is that once a horse has been infected, it builds up an immunity and is less susceptible to future infections. Provided the horse is in good physical condition, has a good nutrition program, is wormed regularly, and is under good management, the warts should disappear within six to nine months.”
And what if they’re not under “good management?”  There seems to be evidence of moldy hay at the facility.
The BLM has been observed to be busy cleaning the pens at Palomino Valley.  (Has anyone ever seen warts on a wild horse in the wild?)
The BLM really needs to clean up their disrespectful attitude of distain and outright contempt towards wild horse advocates and immediately enforce humane handling of the wild horses and burros that they have a mandate to protect.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

New BLM LTH Contractor Wants Horse Slaughter

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Comment by Debbie Coffey on this article on
BLM's documented "Vision" for our Wild Horses and Burros
BLM’s documented “Vision” for our Wild Horses and Burros
In an article on written by Art Hovey (link above, and copy of the entire article at the bottom of this comment), a new BLM Long Term Holding Pasture contractor (Stan Dobrovolny) in Atkinson, Nebraska, made a public comment advocating the re-opening horse slaughterplants.
STAN DOBROVOLNY statements include:
“Up to now, he sees ‘a lack of understanding from the public and false solutions coming from far left wing environmental nut cases’.”
Stan also stated “The best control would be to open the kill plants and let the people who like horse meat eat horse meat.”
Your tax dollars are paying this guy.
How does the BLM chose people to care for our wild horses?  Does the BLM just look for a chunk of land that is suitable?
Did the BLM personnel who interviewed Stan have bad judgement, or do they share his callous attitude?   This attitude seems to start at the top and trickle down to the BLM condoning a reckless helicopter pilot like Josh Hellyer (used by Sun J at roundups), to putting wild horses on the private property of a rancher who thinks it’s a good idea to slaughter horses.
There needs to be a radical attitude change from top to bottom in the BLM’s  Wild Horse & Burro Program, which actually has a mandate to PROTECT the wild horses and burros.  When the BLM places horses on the property of a person who believes in slaughtering them, one would naturally question the care the horses might receive.  Even if the horses are on a pasture, they are loaded and unloaded, may require supplemental feeding, etc.
It is important for all advocates to read the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.
Some important points in this Act are:
The Secretary is authorized and directed to protect and manage wild free-roaming horses and burros” (notice the wordprotect).
It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.”
So many aspects of the BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Program indicate both a lack of caring and incompetence, that there should be a Congressional Investigation into EVERY aspect of the program.  As we know, there is a lack of PROOF of an excess of wild horses and burros (photos and videos of the wild horses and burros taken during inventory flights to validate the raw data), to even justify removing them from their federally protected Herd Management Areas.
Here’s the entire article:
Nebraska rancher puts wild horses out to pasture
June 18, 2013 6:00 am  •  By ART HOVEY/lLincoln Journal Star
The numbers at the Wild Horse and Burro Center at Elm Creek have been holding steady at between 430 and 500 for the past decade.
Nonetheless, the population of horses relocated to Nebraska from over-populated federal ranges in western states has more than doubled in recent months because of an Atkinson rancher’s decision to offer a long-term holding pasture for 800 mustangs.
“I was born and raised with a horse between my knees,” said Stan Dobrovolny, “so nobody likes to see horses starve to death like that.”
Dobrovolny’s entry on the wild horse scene occurred over several months last winter, he said Monday. It comes to light as the National Academy of Sciences recommends sterilization to the Bureau of Land Management as a correction strategy for what many see as a failed management policy.
Recent estimates put the wild horse population as high as 50,000 and climbing and the annual cost of management at $75 million and rising.
Tom Gorey of the BLM office in Washington declined to react to a June report that the agency asked the academy to provide.
“We want to let the report speak for itself,” Gorey said Monday. “We don’t want to characterize it.”
Joe Stratton, facility manager at Elm Creek for the past 15 years, also steered clear of a detailed reaction to the National Academy findings. But Stratton acknowledged efforts to find people willing to adopt horses brought to a site about 160 miles west of Lincoln had been going backwards lately.
“The last couple years, we’ve been averaging right about 50 animals adopted a year out of our facility,” he said. “So it’s gone down a significant amount.” He blamed the trend on “high hay prices, drought, the economy, you name it.”
The weakening response has brought an end to periodic efforts to truck adoption candidates to events scheduled for that purpose in more populous parts of the state. “We haven’t really done adoptions off site much, because the productivity of that has not been there.”
Meanwhile, the breeding and birth cycle puts pressure on the supply side at the rate of 20 percent more horses in 2012 than there were in 2011.
“That’s about 7,600 babies every year,” Stratton said, “so if you don’t catch that many a year, you’re losing ground.”
Elsewhere in its report, the National Academy found fault with capture and removal. That’s because, according to the study’s authors, it creates a self-perpetuating problem in which removal makes room for more horses to survive in an area that otherwise would be overgrazed.
Past suggestions that captured horses be sent to slaughter plants produced a huge outcry from those who wanted what they viewed as a more humane solution. Sterilization is not a new idea either, although it’s new coming from the academy.
Dobrovolny said he wants to read the report rather than rely on media portrayals. Up to now, he sees “a lack of understanding” from the public and false solutions coming from “far left environmental nut cases.”
He sees merit in the slaughter idea, even though killing the horses is a crime that dates to the Nixon administration and even though a slaughter plant operated at North Platte is among many that closed.
“The best control would be to open the kill plants and let the people who like horse meat eat horse meat,” he said. “Obviously, that’s my opinion.”
France has been one popular export destination.
In the absence of more effective controls on horse numbers, Dobrovolny is in the business of custom grazing for mustangs relocated to his ranch.
No, he said, he’s not doing it for free.
“Actually, if you’re in the ranching business, everything you do has to have some profit to it or you can’t afford to do it.”
Reach Art Hovey at 402-473-7223 or
Click (HERE) to Comment at the Journal

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

DA won’t prosecute Tom Davis

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Posted: Tuesday, Jun 18th, 2013 BY: RUDY HERNDON
Courier Staff writer
ALAMOSA — Prosecutors won’t file charges against a La Jara man who allegedly admitted he violated the law when he shipped hundreds of wild horses beyond Colorado’s borders.
ProPublica reported last September that federal land managers sold Tom Davis at least 1,700 wild horses and burros since 2009. Yet after it sorted through state brand documents, the publication could not account for the whereabouts of almost 1,000 horses he purchased.
Davis allegedly told ProPublica that he shipped some of the federally protected animals out of state without brand inspections — a misdemeanor crime under state law.
Wild horse advocates subsequently accused him of sending the animals off to slaughterhouses, but Davis denied those allegations.
The Conejos County Sheriff’s Office went on to investigate records of Davis’ purchases from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as well as his brand inspection activity. But the agency, which received help from state brand inspectors and the U.S. Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General, limited its review to the period of inquiry allowed under Colorado’s statute of limitations.
It found no evidence that Davis shipped uninspected animals out of state during that time, District Attorney David Mahonee said in a June 17 press release.
As a result, his office will not file any charges related to the matter, he said.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Drugs Reflect Food-Safety Concerns in Horse Slaughter Debate

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Source: By Josh Long as published at Food Product Design
“During the first part of their lives, nobody has any thought these horses are going to be steak,”
Phenylbutazone, a human carcinogen, is prevalent in U.S. horse meat, along with numerous other drugs banned by the FDA in food animals. (photo: Animal Rescue Unit)
Phenylbutazone, a human carcinogen, is prevalent in U.S. horse meat, along with numerous other drugs banned by the FDA in food animals. (photo: Animal Rescue Unit)
SANTA FE, N.M.—A letter from Zachary Shandler, a New Mexico Assistant Attorney General, highlights another challenge Valley Meat Co. faces in its controversial quest to lawfully slaughter horses.
It must ensure that horses destined for the slaughterhouse have not been treated with drugs that are considered harmful to human health and deemed “adulterated” in violation of federal and state laws. If horse meat was found to be adulterated, the New Mexico Food Act would prevent the meat from being manufactured, sold or delivered, Shandler wrote in a June 10 letter to Richard Martinez, a New Mexico state senator.
The New Mexico Food Act classifies a food as adulterated “if it bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious to health”. Although state law doesn’t define what constitutes a “poisonous or deleterious substance,” Shandler cited studies that show phenylbutazone (PBZ)—an anti-inflammatory drug that has been shown to have been administered to race horses who were later slaughtered—meets that definition.
“Accordingly, horse meat originating from U.S. horses that have been treated with PBZ and other deleterious substances would be deemed ‘adulterated’,” Shandler said.
Such an act would constitute a violation of the New Mexico Food Act, possibly resulting in a criminal misdemeanor charge, fines and seizure of the product, he noted.
The opinion by New Mexico Attorney General Gary King reflected “more of a political statement about his personal beliefs than a legal opinion,” said A. Blair Dunn, a lawyer representing Valley Meat Co., whose application to slaughter horses in Roswell, N.M. is pending before the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“He simply restated the obvious that if a product contains poison or deleterious substances that are injurious to human health that it is adulterated and can’t be sold,” Dunn told Food Product Design in an emailed statement.
Phil Sisneros, the AG’s communications director, said the opinion was not a matter of just stating the obvious.
“We don’t believe that very many New Mexicans knew we even had an adulterated food act and that horse meat would come under that,” he said in a phone interview.
Although the AG has the authority to enforce the New Mexico Food Act and other laws that might affect horse meat, Sisneros indicated the New Mexico Environment Department would take the lead on an enforcement action. He said the AG has let the agency know it will help them in such an action. A spokesman for the state Environment Department did not immediately respond Friday to a request for comment on its role in the matter.
The AG’s letter “infers that all horses may contain [an adulterated] substance because they may have been administered painkillers, antibiotics or vaccines in the course of their lives. But ultimately this is all the stuff that falls under the regulatory authority of USDA to inspect for and keep out of the food chain,” said Dunn, Valley Meat Co.’s lawyer.
The problem is that it’s impossible to confirm what drugs horses have been administered during their early years because, unlike livestock, the animals weren’t raised with the purpose of being slaughtered to feed humans, saidBruce Wagman, a lawyer representing the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the animal rights group, and Front Range Equine Rescue, a Larkspur, Colo.-based non-profit organization seeking to defend horses from neglect and abuse.
“During the first part of their lives, nobody has any thought these horses are going to be steak,” said Wagman, a San Francisco-based partner with the law firm Schiff Hardin LLP.
HSUS and Front Range Equine Rescue have stated their intent to file lawsuits under the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act if USDA grants approval to Valley Meat Co. or other businesses to slaughter horses.
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has been reviewing applications that have been filed by Valley Meat Co., Missouri-based Rains Natural Meats and Iowa-based Responsible Transportation LLC. According to a voicemail at Rains Natural Meats, the company is currently closed for business; Responsible Transportation, which states on its website that it will provide “a humane alternative” to the problem of unwanted horses, didn’t respond Thursday to a request for comment on the status of its application.
Documents that Front Range Equine Rescue and HSUS submitted to FSIS and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) list 50 drugs that are administered to horses and expressly prohibited by the Code of Federal Regulations from entering the human food supply, Wagman said. The substances are commonly given to horses that are later slaughtered, according to the list that the agencies received.
Some of those drugs include Ceftiofur Sodium (for treatment of respiratory infections in horses), Deslorelin (used to induce ovulation in ovulating mares)  and Diclofenac Sodium (administered to treat arthritis in humans and horses). With respect to these drugs, the regulations explicitly state, “Do not use for horses intended for human consumption.”
The letter from King’s office makes its position known that horse meat would be considered “adulterated” in violation of state law if it derived from horses that had been treated with the drugs listed above.
But Wagman said other drugs administered to horses also would be jeopardize food safety. In total, the documents submitted to the federal agencies listed 115 drugs and categories of drugs that have been approved for use in horses and have been known to cause problems for humans, he said. For instance, the list mentions Dimetridazole (generic), which reportedly has been withdrawn from Europe due to the hazards of gastrointestinal problems and potential for cancer.
Peggy Larson, a practitioner of veterinary medicine for more than 45 years and former veterinary medical officer for USDA, said in an affidavit filed with the agencies that many of the drugs on the list are commonly administered to horses.
“Based on longstanding medical and scientific principles, it is impossible to declare horse meat safe for human consumption when the horses who are slaughtered for that meat have been exposed to an unidentified (and unidentifiable) number of drugs, treatments and substances, in unknown (and unknowable) quantities, at various times during their life,” she stated.
Dunn said the New Mexico AG’s opinion doesn’t impact Valley Meat Co. because the company has an approved program to test drugs.
“Drug residue testing is not a new program and it is certainly not unique to horses. There is nothing that is administered to horses that is not detectable by the tests utilized by Valley and other processing facilities,” he said in the emailed statement.
Wagman countered that FSIS doesn’t have a drug testing program today for horses. More importantly, he contends it makes no difference whether Valley Meat Co. can test horses for drug residues.
“It doesn’t matter if there is any residue in the horse. Once they get that drug like PBZ it can’t be used for horse meat,” he said.
Cathy Cochran, a spokeswoman for FSIS, said the agency’s Office of Public Health Science will implement a protocol under its National Residue Program if it “grants inspection for a plant that slaughters horses.”
“More information on FSIS’ sampling methods would be made available in the FSIS Chemistry Laboratory Guidebook prior to any grant of inspection for equine slaughter being issued,” she said in an emailed statement.
Under FSIS’ current program for meat, poultry and egg products, the agency tests for chemicals such as antibiotics, sulfonamides, and other drugs, pesticides and environmental chemicals.  According to a July 2012 document on the program, “A violation occurs when an FSIS laboratory detects a chemical compound level in excess of an established tolerance or action level.”
But FSIS might be deprived of the resources to administer such a program for horses. The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday voted to eliminate funds for inspection of horse slaughter facilities. The amendment was introduced by Rep. Jim Moran, a Virginia Democrat.
“Approval by the Appropriations Committee is the first important step in ending this inhumane practice once and for all. Today’s approval also sends a strong signal to businesses looking to make a profit off the slaughter and sale of these iconic creatures,” Moran said in a statement Thursday. “More than 80 percent of the American people oppose the practice of horse slaughter – our laws need to sync with our values.”
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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Today's News (Yippee!)

Equine Welfare Alliance

Good news and great job by all of you! The amendment to defund horse inspections introduced by Congressman Moran has passed out of committee. Next stop for the bill is the full house vote.

As soon as we know when the bill is scheduled to go to the floor for a vote, we'll let you know.