Moran Amendment to Ban Horse Slaughter Passes Appropriations Committee

Wild mustang weanling in holding. (Photos © Anne Novak, all rights reserved.)

Jun 19, 2012

Washington, DC – An amendment introduced today by Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat, to eliminate federal funding for USDA inspections of horse slaughter facilities passed the full Appropriations Committee. The amendment, adopted in the Fiscal Year 2013 Agricultural Appropriations Bill, would effectively prohibit the practice of horse slaughter for human consumption in the U.S. The bill now heads to the floor for a vote by the full House.

“When more than 80 percent of the American population opposes this practice, it is high time we put an end, once and for all, to industrial horse slaughter,” said Rep. Moran. “Horses hold an important place in our nation’s history and culture, treasured by all for their beauty and majesty. They deserve to be cared for, not killed for foreign consumption.”

During debate, Moran noted that the Appropriations Committee cut back funding for USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) meat facility inspections by $9 million below Fiscal Year 2012. He argued against expanding FSIS responsibilities to inspect meat shipped to foreign countries that would come at the expense of funding for inspections of chicken, pork and beef consumed by U.S. citizens.

U.S. horse meat may also contain chemicals harmful to humans if ingested. Unlike farm animals raised for their meat, horses are routinely given powerful medications, including the anti-inflammatory pain killing drug phenylbutazone.

“Adding millions of dollars to the federal budget to inspect foreign-owned horse slaughter plants would be a step backwards for America’s iconic horses and a waste of tax dollars,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “We are grateful to Congressman Jim Moran for leading the charge to restore this critical horse protection provision, and to the House Appropriations Committee for reining in this multi-million-dollar subsidy that could pave the way for the needless killing of American horses for foreign gourmands.”

Moran introduced similar language during debate over the fiscal year 2012 Agricultural Appropriations Bill. Though adopted in the House, the language was removed during conference committee in November. Moran’s amendment today would reinstate the five-year ban on horse slaughter from 2006-2011.