In previous blogs, I have mentioned the eating of of animals that usually don’t make the main menu in America, such as Horse meat, snail, frogs, dog, and snakes.
I’m sure many might have read my blogs ranting about the closures of the horse slaughter houses from way back in 2006-07 .
I won’t do a full relapse on those rants, but basically without the slaughter houses, the amount of Horse Neglect has risen as well as the numbers of unwanted horses. Especially in today’s economy. It seems that people are unable to afford to keep their horses, and without the slaughter houses, they had no place to send them….the vicious cycle continues.
Then in the fall of 2011, there was whispers of a possible re-opening of the slaughter houses. Not only would this help create jobs that were lost when they closed…(And not for economic reasons but because of “moral” ones)
Horse Slaughterhouses May Reopen After Five Year Ban
Horses can now legally be butchered for human consumption in the U.S. after Congress lifted a ban on funding horse processing inspections this month.
The measure was part of an agriculture spending bill President Obama signed on Nov. 18, reversing the 2006 decision by Congress to defund horse meat inspections.
The likelihood of Americans dining on horses, however is slight since there is no culture of eating horse meat in this country, they are revered as pets and many states have strict controls on horse meat. California and Illinois have laws banning the consumption of horse meat.
The meat, however, could be exported to Europe and Asia.
Animal welfare advocates pushed for the ban when it passed five years ago, but horse industry advocates and the Government Accountability Office say the ban had a slew of unintended consequences: More horses were left abandoned when owners could no longer afford to keep them or use them for work; owners who wanted to sell their horses for slaughter were forced to have them shipped to Canada or Mexico, where slaughtering is legal; and horse prices became depressed in the United States, according to a report released by the GOA in June.
The last horse slaughterhouse in America closed in 2007 in Illinois, just months before the economic recession hit the country, according to the Associated Press. In the years since, horse abandonment and export has grown significantly, according to the GAO report.
In Colorado, for example, data showed that investigations for horse neglect and abuse increased more than 60 percent, from 975 in 2005 to almost 1,600 in 2009, the report said.
According to one advocate, the ban also forced the bottom to drop out of the horse industry entirely.
“It’s basic economics,” said David Duquette, president of United Horsemen, which advocated for lifting the ban. “Horses used to be a $102 billion a year industry, with at least 500,000 direct jobs in horse industry. That’s been cut in half.”
The ban was lifted quietly in this year’s agriculture spending bill. The Senate, breaking with the past five years of agriculture bills, did not include language on continuing the ban in their version of the bill. They attributed their decision to the GAO report, according to a Senate Appropriations Committee spokesman.
The House, as in previous years, did include the language to continue the ban. When lawmakers reconciled the two bills, the ban was not included.
One supporter of the bill, Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Nebraska, said the ban was bad policy.
” While we have a long way to go, responsible processing represents a vital first step in reversing the unintended consequences to blame for the dismal state of neglected horses and their frustrated caregivers across our country,” Smith said in a statement. “Reinstating a humane, accountable, and legal management tool is good for horses, good for owners, and is good policy.”
Now, advocates say that the $62 million-a-year slaughter industry could be back up and running in as little as 30 to 90 days.
“There are people from North Carolina all the way out West that are wanting to set up a (slaughter) plant or invest in a plant,” Duquette said. “There’s a tremendous amount of desire to get it going.”
Opponents of the measure say that they will fight any meat processing plants that open in the coming months.
“If plants open up in Oklahoma or Nebraska, you’ll see controversy, litigation, legislative action and basically a very inhospitable environment to operate,” Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of The Humane Society of the United States, told the Associated Press. “Local opposition will emerge and you’ll have tremendous controversy over slaughtering Trigger and Mr. Ed.”
The USDA issued a statement Tuesday saying there are no slaughterhouses in the U.S. that butcher horses for human consumption now, but if one were to open, it would conduct inspections to make sure federal laws were being followed. USDA spokesman Neil Gaffney declined to answer questions beyond what was in the statement.
And this was rather interesting and exciting news!
And yet certain groups on there moral high horse (Pun intended) are trying to prevent it from happening:
|May 1, 2012
The groups allege in a petition filed with FDA March 26 that domestic horses are “unqualified” for human consumption because they are not raised for food and are routinely administered various drugs and medications. The presence of these drugs would pose a threat to human health and food safety, since there is currently no method for monitoring and assessing the drug risks associated with consuming horse meat, according to the 79-page petition, which claims more than 110 substances banned in food animals are administered to horses.
“The slaughter of American horses for meat is an unnecessary and tragic end for these icons of our nation’s history,” says Hilary Wood, president of FRER. “Horses are treated with many different drugs throughout their lives because horse owners don’t expect they could end up as meat. Horses often have many uses during their lives, from show rings to trail riding to therapy programs. Their lives should not end with an arduous journey to a terrifying death to be turned into an expensive and potentially toxic dinner.”
FRER and HSUS also are asking FDA to make alternate rules, while at the same time noting there is no “realistic way to be able to fully assess the risks of eating horse meat.” Those alternate rules would require records be kept for all of a horse’s owners, and listing all drugs and treatments administered to the horse since birth. Both groups also ask FDA to require verification that a horse to be used for human consumption was never exposed to any substances prohibited for use in food animals. They want FDA to adopt additional rules to mandate the testing horses heading to slaughter to ensure compliance with the proposed rules.
FDA has yet to issue a formal response to the petition, according to HSUS’ Stephanie Twining.
The petition comes on the heels of a Congressional action that effectively ended a five-year ban on the slaughter of horses for human consumption. Congress quietly approved the reinstatement of domestic horse slaughter for human consumption Nov. 17 by removing language in appropriations bill, HR 2112 that blocked USDA from inspecting horse slaughter facilities. The omission created enough of a gap in regulations that would allow horse slaughter facilities to potentially resume operations in the United States. Government officials, like Dr. Elizabeth Hagen of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), have expressed doubt that a return to horse slaughter will materialize, citing various federal, state and local requirements and prohibitions against horse slaughter for human consumption are still in place and will likely create some barriers to the reopening of horse slaughter plants. Four states—California, Florida, Illinois and Texas—have explicitly banned horse slaughter for human consumption and a number of others have introduced legislation in 2012 that either ban horse slaughter for meat or call for investigation into the possibility of opening horse slaughter plants.