From: American Horse Council
Last Thursday the House Appropriations Committee approved the funding bill for the U.S. Department of Agriculture for Fiscal Year 2008. Included in the bill was language that is apparently intended to prevent USDA personnel from inspecting, certifying or approving horses intended for slaughter. This is an apparent attempt by Members of Congress opposed to the slaughter of horses for human consumption to stop this activity by taking the USDA out of the process, as was done last year.
Overly-Broad Language on Horses
Unfortunately, the language in Section 738 of the bill appears to have a far broader impact than it seems intended to have. It would affect horses not intended for slaughter too. Indeed, as written it could affect the entire horse industry because it would eliminate funding, effective January 1, 2008, for important USDA activities over and above inspecting horses for slaughter. It would eliminate USDA funding for import/export functions of all horses including health certificates, inspections and quarantines. The bill would cut off not only direct funding by the federal government, but also reimbursement by inspected parties, and cooperative agreements with the states, for any of these inspection activities. USDA would be prohibited from expending funds to maintain quarantine facilities and the personnel needed to operate them or to seize diseased or infected animals and materials.
The health and welfare of all horses and the horse industry is based to a large degree on the many safety nets that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has set up to protect the health and well-being of our domestic horse population, not only at the U.S. border, but also within the country. This provision would dramatically impact the authority and ability of the USDA to maintain those protections because it would deny funds for the various inspections required under current federal law for ALL HORSES.
An individual’s or organization’s position on limiting USDA’s authority to inspect slaughter horses may be based on their position on the federal bill banning slaughter. If you support a federal ban, you may support such a limitation. If you oppose a federal ban, you may oppose such a funding limit.
But regardless of your position on a federal ban, the industry should be opposed to any overly-broad limits on USDA’s authority and economic ability to inspect, quarantine and regulate the international and interstate movement of all horses. The industry needs these safeguards to protect the health of all horses, keep them moving and ensure their availability for breeding, racing, showing, and recreation.
Efforts will be made to clarify this language and its effect on all horses before the bill goes to the House floor, scheduled for July 30.
Please call with any questions.
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Web Address: www.horsecouncil.org