Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday Mischief: USDA and Horse Slaughter

Lady preferred to die at home.
This past week, it was the United States Department of Agriculture who engaged in mischief.

The USDA approved a horse slaughter plant in Sigourney, Iowa and plans to allow horse slaughter plants in Missouri and in New Mexico. 

They have approved an application for the facility in New Mexico and have indicated they will also approve plants in Gallatin and Rockville, Missouri. Other applications are pending for plants in Woodbury, Tennessee, and Washington, Oklahoma.

Considered mischief (very serious mischief, in my opinion) because this comes on the heels of the statement recently issued by Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, opposing horse slaughter.  In addition, the US Senate Appropriations Committee passed a ban on demestic horse slaughter as part of the Fiscal Year 2014 budget.  That ban prohibits the USDA from using funds to inspect horsemeat intended for human consumption, which effectively bans domestic horse slaughter in our country.

In addition, the US House Appropriations Committee also voted to deny funding for horse slaughter.  To cap it off, President Obama recommended the FY 2014 Appropriations bill not contain funds for horse slaughter.

Senators Mary Landrieu and Lindsey Graham have introduced legislation that would permanently ban horse slaughter:  the Safeguard American Food Exports Act (SAFE Act - SB 541.)  The SAFE Act would not only permanently ban horse slaughter operations in the US, but it would also end the current export of more than 150,000 US horses shipped to Mexico and Canada for slaughter each years.  Representatives Patrick Meehan and Jan Schakowsky have introduced similar legislation in the US House.

In New Mexico, the state's Attorney General, Gary King, has declared that horse meat fits the legal definition of an adulterated food product and therefore cannot be manufactured, sold or delivered anywhere in New Mexico.  Cattle and hogs raised for slaughter are closely monitored to ensure they are not administered drugs that would endanger the safety of their meat.  Horses, on the other hand, which are raised for sport, pleasure, companionship and work, but not for slaughter, are routinely adminstered drugs that would render their meat unsafe for human consumption.

As of this past week, several animal protection groups have initiated lawsuits in an attempt to block the revival of domestic horse slaughter at commercial processing plants.

The Humane Society of the United States, Front Range Equine Rescue (of Larkspur, Colorado), three other groups and five individuals filed a federal lawsuit on July 1 seeking an emergency injunction to overturn the USDA's recent permit approvals for the plant in Roswell, New Mexico.

The three other groups challenging USDA and its Food Safety Inspection Service are from California:  the Marin Humane Society in Novato, Horses for Life Foundation, and Return to Freedom of Lompoc.  

Horse slaughterhouses last operated in the US in 2007, before Congress banned the practice by eliminating funding for plant inspections.  Congress restored those cuts in 2011.

What can you do?  Contact your Congressional members and make your opinion known.  Sign a petition urging the ban of horse slaughter - there are many.  Here's one 
We're joining the Monday Mischief pet blog hop today.  Hosted by Alfie's Blog, Luna Dogs Life, My Brown Newfies and Snoopy's Dog Blog, this is your chance to share your pets tales of mischief and wrap up the weekend.  Join us!


  1. Those poor horses
    Urban hounds

  2. This is such a complicated issue. I have done of reading on it and there are valid points on each side.

  3. That's horrible!
    Will sign the petition now

  4. Oh my. I need to read more about this.

  5. Thanks for posting about this and for including the link to sign the petition. I signed it!

  6. This is terrible! Thanks for posting about it, especially the link to the petition. I am on my way over to sign it now!

  7. Thanks for bringing this to my attention Sue. I signed it and shared it on facebook!

  8. This topic was in the news this winter in Canada, when horse meat was inadvertently (?!) being sold in the meat department of a popular grocery store chain. Appalling!

  9. Signed and shared...Thanks for the update, this is not something I would have seen otherwise

  10. I really don't think there is anyone in this country that has an interest in eating horse meat? Thanks for sharing.

  11. This makes Mum and I super sad :(

    Your pal Snoopy

  12. Sadly, I was just pretending this didn't happen anymore. What is the horse meat used for (what is the undying need to slaughter them)?

  13. I don't understand. If we don't eat horse meat in this country, what will they do with it? Export it? Anything to make a fast buck! I hate to see any animal slaughtered for our sake because it means cramming the breeding stock into tiny cages for their entire lives, as well as other horrible things. We currently breed horses for recreation and working, but now if certain laws pass we will be breeding them for meat too. Very sad.


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