Friday, March 8, 2013

What does a $2 billion budget cut to the USDA mean for the future of horse slaughter inside the US?

What does a $2 billion budget cut to the USDA mean for the future of horse slaughter inside the US?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Los Angeles, Mar 8, 2012, A $2 billion budget cut to the USDA prompts slaughter plant inspector furloughs within days of discovering USDA  intentions to approve horse slaughter inspections inside the US.  Secretary Vilsack told the House Ag committee that due to the federal sequester each USDA inspector will likely be furloughed 11 to 12 days at a time. The White House says USDA inspectors furloughs will cause meatpacking plants to shut down periodically.

"USDA inspections must take place on site at each U.S. slaughterhouse in order for its meat product to be legally available for interstate commerce, " explains Katia Louise, of the Wild for Life Foundation (WFLF). "The former ban on the spending of taxpayer dollars for USDA inspections of horse slaughter, had helped to keep foreign special interests from slaughtering our horses inside the U.S."  As pointed out by Wild for Life Foundation's Saving America's Horses, the  inclusion of the defunding language in the farm bill was however quietly stripped in Nov 2011, by Senators Blunt, Kohl and Congressman Kingston, leaving America's horses virtually unprotected.

The Senate will be opening this year's Ag appropriations bill next week. The house simply carried over the existing language and passed it as is, therefore the 2013 bill does NOT include the defunding language.  The bill now goes to Senator Mikulski and the subcommittee members, but they will have to answer to the American public; of which over 70% oppose horse slaughter.


"Proponents of slaughter argue that it would be better to slaughter horses in the U.S. where we can supposedly insure their humane treatment," observes Ms Louise.  "But numerous governmental reports and undercover investigations show that USDA inspections fail to stop insidious abuses from taking place inside our slaughterhouses. Substantial documented evidence reveals egregious violations and a total lack of enforcement by the USDA in U.S. horse slaughterhouses before they were shut down in 2007. If horse slaughter plants are reopened in the U.S., horses will undoubtedly suffer torturous agony on U.S. soil again."

As revealed in the new PSA series from WFLF, "International Health Alert" and "Duped", the U.S. horse slaughter cover-up puts people and horses in harm's way -- And American consumers are more concerned than ever that horse meat will make, or has possibly already made its way into beef products in the United States as it has done in Europe. Evidence of health hazards surfacing amidst the international horse meat scandal has resulted in several major companies, including Tesco, Nestlé and Ikea, pulling food from grocery shelves in 16 countries after tests showed beef products actually contained up to 100% horse meat.

In the absence of a federal ban, over 100,000 American horses are shipped across federal borders to slaughter plants in Mexico and Canada each year and from there the horse meat is shipped primarily to the EU. "But most people don't realize that U.S. horses are treated with many substances known to be toxic to humans; substances that can be lethal when ingested by humans, and many of which have been banned from the human food chain in most countries." - WFLF's Facts that Refute the 7 Most Common Myths About Horse Slaughter.  "... And Foreign consumers of horsemeat are not made aware of the associated health risks directly related to the substances administered to U.S. horses."

As Congress works to cut the budget through federal sequester and other possible means, it should also continue to prevent the additional spending of millions of dollars, simply to allow our nation’s horses again to be subjected to cruel slaughter for the satisfaction of foreign markets.

Prior to 2006, USDA spent approximately $5 million annually for inspections at U.S. based horse slaughter plants.  If the USDA were to re-institute such expenditures in the face of these critical billion dollar budget cuts, it may very well lose and never regain the trust of the American people.

Press Contact:
Kate Dudley PR, WFLF
T: 310-439-9817
admin @ wildforlifefoundation.org

Wild for Life Foundation (WFLF) is a 501 (c)(3) grassroots nonprofit charity dedicated to saving, protecting and preserving wild and domestic equines. The Saving America’s Horses Initiative is an international consortium of equine professionals dedicated to educating the public and raising awareness for responsible equine ownership, the preservation of America’s wild horses on open rangelands, and the protection of all equines from slaughter.


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