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Senate Committee Approves Amendments Banning Horse Slaughter, Labeling GE Salmon

Two amendments added to the Senate agriculture appropriations bill on Thursday deal with horse slaughter and genetically modified salmon.

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) introduced an amendment during the full committee markup that would ban horse slaughter, calling it both a health and a budget issue.

“We should not be stretching already tight budgets … to inspect horse slaughter plants,” she said. “These are animals that are not consumed for domestic production … Without this amendment, funds would be diverted from inspection of food that Americans do eat to finance an industry that sells its entire product to foreign consumers.”

Landrieu added that even when horse meat is consumed, there are concerns about “bute” (Phenylbutazone) contamination.

U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) argued that a ban leads to a decline in the animals’ welfare and that even if horse slaughter is banned within the United States, the animals would still be shipped to neighboring countries for slaughter “where we have no control whatsoever over whether these horses are slaughtered in a humane way.”

Landrieu countered that, “USDA statistics show that 92 percent — contrary to the testimony put on the record — of all horses sent to slaughter are in good condition. They’re not sick; they’re not aged. If that were the case, we wouldn’t be having a problem.”

The amendment ultimately passed 18-12.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced an amendment to require that genetically engineered salmon be labeled.

“We’re not talking about genetically engineered corn or something else that is grown; we are talking about a species that moves, that migrates, that breeds,” she said. “This is an experiment … that, if it went wrong, could be devastating … to the wild, healthy stocks.”

She referred to the amendment as telling FDA that, “if you move forward with … a wrong-headed decision to allow for the first time ever this genetically engineered salmon for human consumption, then, at a bare minimum, you’ve got to stick the label on it that says so.”

Concerned that the safety of GE salmon is not a “100-percent guarantee,” Murkowski said, “I want to send a strong signal to FDA that I don’t think we should be moving forward with this.”

Johannes called her amendment “yet another attempt with another product to frighten people.”

“The Senate overwhelmingly voted down a similar amendment regarding GMO food labeling when we considered the farm bill last summer,” he said. “Furthermore, language appropriating funds to label genetically modified salmon was not included in the omnibus appropriations bill signed into law earlier this year.”

Murkowski’s amendment was agreed to by a voice vote.

Full committee markup of the House agriculture appropriations bill is expected to take place next week.

© Food Safety News
  • TomDurfee

    I would like to see a breakdown of how the committee members voted. Who is acting on the will of the people and who is acting against the will of the people.

  • savinghorses2

    Johannes with all Due Respect I want to implore you to reconsider your invalid and illogical position in this dog fight against slaughter. WE ARE in Illinois, We dealt with the plant in DeKalb Daily and the statement you made above and on the Senate floor to restore funding is completely incorrect. WE suffered in OUR state and many others with the abusive attitudes, high rate of horse theft, the serious nature of the industry closed down most of the opportunities in Illinois thanks to the Abuse level, when they CLOSED the plant the issues went down drastically….now its about closing the option to ship out of the states to protect horses and the fact they don’t have to actually transport them any ways, if they are the cause of the abuse then when they quit shipping and take responsibility for their animals and their actions then killer buyers will not be causing anymore abuse to happen. As it happens MOST abuse that happens is the slaughter kill pens, killer buyers lots, and the transport out of the country all of which is CAUSED only by the Slaughter plants period. So before you stand behind a position that has FAILED America and its horses repeatedly think twice as you support slaughter you are supporting the people WHO ACTUALLY are the causation of abuse and detriment to the animals period! The facts are being revealed daily, if you want to defend a sinking ship, don’t cry when in the water with the sharks…..

  • Barb3000

    You can go to the Humane Society web page to see the list of the nays. It looks like the usual crooks. One of them is Roy Blunt (R-MO) he was one two politicians that without anyone being the wiser removed the amendment to block inspections for horse slaughter plants in the US during the last agriculture appropriations bill. This opened the door for all the loonies in several states to try to open up horse slaughter plants again. One of the pair retired last year. As I remember it both men got ripped a new one on their face book pages.

  • Barb3000

    Mike Johanns (R-NE) was one of the nays on the list. I have a good idea he was representing someone that wanted to start up a slaughter plant or possibly breeders. Because the over breeders will fight to the death to keep US horses in the slaughter pipeline so they have a way to dispose of their over breeding mistakes, such as they don’t like the foals coloring or conformation or any number of reasons to dump them at a auction. These people don’t care what happens to their breeding stock they are simply a commodity they make money off of like a car lot.

  • Cheryl Bowe

    The world’s food safety depends on getting U.S. horse meat out of the food chain. As long as 100,000 U.S. horses are sent to slaughter in Canada and Mexico, the danger of the horse meat being mixed with beef products will continue.