House Appropriations Bill Allows Horsemeat Inspections

The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee approved a measure this week that would allow USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) personnel to conduct horsemeat inspections at processing plants.

Prior to 2007, FSIS personnel carried out horsemeat inspections at U.S. processing plants. That year, Congress voted to strip the USDA of the funds required to conduct federal horsemeat inspections. Federal funding bills continued to include language denying the USDA horsemeat inspection funding until 2011, when Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed, a 2012 appropriations bill that did not include an amendment forbidding the USDA from using federal funds for horsemeat inspections. Shortly thereafter, horse processing plants were proposed in several states, including in New Mexico, but were never established.

On July 12 the Appropriations Committee approved HR 5054, which makes appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, and the Food and Drug administration. However, the Committee voted against an amendment forbidding the USDA to fund horsemeat inspections by a 27-25 vote.

Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), co-chair of the Animal Protection Caucus, said the vote was “unconscionable.

“While some members of the Appropriations Committee may think it’s their job to roll back these common-sense safeguards, there is a strong bipartisan coalition in the House and Senate who agrees with the American public that horse slaughter must end,” Blumenauer said in a written statement. “This isn’t over, and we will look for opportunities to reinstate the ban as the appropriations process continues.”

Meanwhile, Atty. Blair Dunn who represented the owners of the proposed processing plant in New Mexico in their failed attempt to open a horse processing plant, believes restoring the inspection appropriation will result in the opening horse processing plants in the United States.

“I think there are several places that may be likely” Dunn said. “There is no local or state law banning equine processing in most states.”

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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