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1.08.06-Fee-for-service prediction

Jan. 8, 2006

As always, the debate on horse slaughtering in the United States is on going and weird. It seems appropriate to write about it despite my near complacent attitude on the whole thing (other than the fact that eating horses just weirds me out). Considering my vicinity to Cavel why not?

The latest on this debate stems from a move by the USDA to circumvent this summer’s agriculture appropriations bill which cut off federal funding for USDA inspections of horse slaughtering facilities in the United States. The first I heard of it was last week but it appears that four legislators appealed via letter to Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, as early as Dec. 13, that they thought the USDA was trying “to ignore Congressional intent to stop horse slaughter.” Here is what the Humane Society of the United States had to say about it.

This wouldn’t be a problem at all if lawmakers would just say what they mean instead of using nonsensical clauses buried in gigantic appropriation bills. Such as in this summer’s agricultural appropriations bill.

If Congress’ intent was to ban horse slaughter for human consumption then they should have just said that, instead they cut off funding for inspections, which doesn’t really outlaw anything save inspections.

This is what Congressional intent to stop horse slaughter looks like in print:

“Sec. 794. > Effective 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, none of the funds made available in this Act may be used to pay the salaries or expenses of personnel to inspect horses under section 3 of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 603) or under the guidelines issued under section 903 the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 1901 note; Public Law 104-127).”

If I am not mistaken Sec. 794 looks more like Congressional intent to stop inspections of horse meat than Congressional intent to stop horse slaughter.

There is, of course, real slaughter ban legislation being looked at, it is largely bi partisan work too. Earlier posts talked about the legislation here, here and here.

Current legislation includes Virgie S. Arden American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act or S.1915, in the Senate. The House version is H.R. 503.

Another two bills in Congress deal specifically with the prohibition of wild horse slaughter. These are H.R. 297 and S. 576.

Current status of pending federal legislation:

S. 1915-Referred to Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on Oct. 25, 2005. Bill Introduced: Oct. 25, 2005.

H.R. 503-Referred to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection on Feb. 25, 2005.
Bill Introduced: Feb. 1, 2005.

H.R. 297-Referred to Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health on Feb. 7, 2005.
Bill Introduced: Jan. 25, 2005.

S. 576-Referred to Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on March 9, 2005.
Bill Introduced: March 9, 2005. (This bill was introduced and sponsored by powerful West Virginia Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd).

From: thomas.loc.gov

These bills look dead, sorry to say it horse crowd, they have all been stuck in committee or subcommittee for nearly a year. Committees are places where unwanted legislation goes to die. Even the bill sponsored by Byrd hasn’t moved since its introduction on the Senate floor.

The Agriculture funding bill is law and was signed in September 2005; it was finally approved in November, Nov. 10 to be exact. The clause about horse meat inspections, as the text above says, takes effect 120 days after the bill becomes law. Today was day 60. Half way there. It should be interesting to see, during the next 60 days, if the USDA intends on ending horse slaughter or finding a way to buck Congress’ not-so-obvious intent.


1. A Schmudde - July 25, 2006

It is a shame that these bills are stuck in committee. Today, July 25, was the first hearing for HR503, a subcommittee hearing. So, the hope is for progress but since Congress-the House- is only scheduled to work in DC about 20 more days before the November elections-who knows.

Horses were never breed as “food” so I think they should be given protection from slaughter.

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