Equine Welfare Advocates Issue Slaughter Argument Challenge

In November, passage of a federal agricultural budget bill restored USDA funding for horsemeat processing plant inspections. Now, a pair of equine welfare advocates is offering $2,000 to anyone who can make a convincing argument in favor of reviving the horse processing industry in the United States.

Prior to 2005, USDA personnel carried out horsemeat food safety inspections at horse processing plants in the U.S. In 2006 Congress voted to strip the USDA of funding for horsemeat inspections. Subsequent USDA funding bills contained specific language denying the USDA for revenue to pay personnel for horse processing plant inspections. However, on Nov. 17 Congress passed H.R. 2112 establishing budgets for the USDA through September 2012. That bill did not contain language denying the USDA funding for horse processing plant inspections. The bill became law on Nov. 18 when President Barack Obama signed it. Shortly thereafter, some horse processing proponents, including Wyoming State Rep. Sue Wallis, speculated that horse processing in the U.S. would resume sometime in 2012.

On Jan. 16 entry in a posting on the Habitat for Horses blog, Jerry Finch, president of the Texas-based equine welfare organization, and RT Fitch, executive director of Habitat for Horses Advisory Council, announced their offer of the cash incentive to anyone who can convince them that horse processing is in the best interest of horses, the horse industry, and the U.S economy.

"A total of $2,000 to be given to any person that can give us one logical, ethical, and scientifically provable reason why it is necessary to slaughter horses for human consumption," Finch wrote. "Show us, beyond any doubt, that you are right and we are wrong."

Wallis was unavailable for comment on the challenge offer.

Details about the challenge are available online. Deadline for responses is midnight on Jan. 21, Finch said.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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