A House committee vote may have closed the barn door before horse slaughter will ever be resumed in the United States. The powerful Appropriations Committee has by voice vote agreed to again ban federal funding for USDA inspections of horse slaughter facilities. In a deal last year, President Obama and Congress agreed to lift that ban, an action that had led to proposals for horse slaughter facilities in Missouri and New Mexico. The ban comes in the form of a successful amendment to the fiscal year 2013 Agricultural Appropriations Bill brought by Rep. Jim Moran, D-VA. The appropriations bill now goes to the floor for a vote by the full House. “When more than 80 percent of the American population opposes this practice, it is high time that we put an end, once and for all, to industrial horse slaughter, Moran said. “Horses hold an important place in our nation’s history and culture, treasured by all for their beauty and majesty. ” Moran says horses “deserve to be cared for, not killed for foreign consumption.” The Northern Virginia Democrat argued that it made no sense to have cut USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service budget by $9 million, and then continue to require the food safety agency to add the inspection of horsemeat for foreign consumption to its duties. Moran said to add inspections for horsemeat for export could only be achieved at the expense of inspections for poultry, pork and beef being consumed by U.S. citizens. It was the removal of similar language advanced by Moran last year in a House-Senate conference committee that led to lifting of the ban. Theoretically, that could still happen this year. The last three horse slaughter facilities in the U.S. closed more than five years ago after Congress initiated the original ban in 2006. Only USDA-inspected meat processed in the U.S. may be sold across state or national boundaries. The two groups with horse slaughter business plans have each requested USDA inspection services.  Both groups want to slaughter horses for the human consumption export market, and neither can do business without USDA inspection services. The companies planning to implement horse slaughter are: – Unified Equine Missouri, a company headed by Wyoming lawmaker Sue Wallis, which has plans to convert a closed beef-packing plant to accommodate horse slaughter in town of Rockville, MO. -Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, NM – owned by Rick De Los Santos – also wants to convert its former beef facility into a horse packing plant. Rockford, a town of 150, lost 70 jobs when its beef plant closed. About 50 jobs were lost in Roswell when Valley shut down its beef operation. Wallis has apparently succeed in finding a welcoming community in Missouri for horse slaughter. It’s a location she figures is within a few hundred miles of about 30 percent of America’s horse population. About half the town showed up to support Wallis including Rockville Mayor Dave Moore. De Los Santos has encountered opposition from some New Mexico elected officials, but within the state’s large horse-owning community there is concern about the current high cost of disposing of animals. Euthanasia by a licensed veterinarian can cost $150 or more in New Mexico and disposal in a landfill can add another $180 to $220. Horses destined for slaughter in Mexico are subjected to long, cruel rides in multiple trucks with no real regulation outside of the U.S. The Humane Society of the United States, which supported the Moran amendment, reports more than 100,000 American horses are sent to slaughter each year, mostly for human consumption in Europe and Asia. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report last year found the number of horses sent to slaughter has not really changed much since the original 2006 ban, but now the business goes to Canada and Mexico. GAO also found that horse abandonment and disposal problems have worsened under the original ban and transporting horses to Canada and Mexico often subject the animals to extreme cruelty.

  • Brett S

    This is ridiculous. The people who want to stop slaughter haven’t done anything but destroy the horse industry and cause horses to be shipped to Mexico where there is no regulation what-so-ever. At least if it is done within the USA it can be controlled and regulated. Those who want it to stop, how many of the unwanted horses are you willing to take???

    • MorganLvr

      We haven’t had horse slaughter on US soil since 2007. We sent thousands of horses for slaughter to Mexico and Canada when the old plants were still open, and we would do the same if they reopened.

      Where in the world do you people get the idea that OUR horse slaughter plants were any better than those in Mexico and Canada. Actually, they are run by the same people with the same regulations. They are just like ours. You people need to get this idea OUT OF YOUR HEADS!

  • JanWindsong

    You did not add that the 2011 GAO report also recommended that transport of horses to slaughter be stopped altogether because the abuses, widespread and severe while plants were operating in the United States and now crossing the borders, was so pervasive and without control (even though outlawed) – that it was cruel and inhumane to continue the business. The horse slaughter business is predatory, cruel and not needed. Thank you for calling your congressman and asking them to vote for the budget with the defunding in place. I work with a rescue that has an 85% rehoming rate. Horses come in abused, pregnant, abandoned – and they are rehabilitated and cared for, trained and adopted out. It can be done and it is what is needed. We do not need slaughter to take care of the negligence of a few who breed horses without consequence.
    There actually is regulation in Canada and Mexico. EU refuses horses at the border all the time and are watching to be sure that conditions rise to the level of base handling. We need to stop.

  • earthshoes

    Brett–Legalizing horse slaughter won’t fix the horse industry. They will continue breeding more horses than anyone wants, just like the pet industry breeds continues to breed too many dogs and cats. Perhaps we should start eating those as well?
    Look up exactly how they used to “humanely” slaughter horses in the US and get back to me on how effective their methods were. Too, I suggest you look up where these horses are coming from, what their ages are, and why they’re going to slaughter. Newsflash–it’s not Joe Blow down the road who decided he doesn’t want to feed his horses anymore (these are the same people who dump their dogs and cats). Nor is it the nice family who keeps a horse or two for the kids to ride and now can’t afford to keep their horses anymore. If they can’t find someone to give the horse to (and this is rare), then there are rescues out there who help them. Most of the horses going to slaughter are purebreds.

  • Ben Mark

    You would do a lot of good for people with gout, if you would even sell the horse meat in US. Other societies are not so limited in what they are eating and therefore way healthier. The problem here is everything that is not grass is a pet.
    Pretty soon we may can’t buy any meat. Even the Bank of America recently announced another partnership with the Humane Society of the United States after releasing a new HSUS-themed credit card. HSUS is a radical animal rights group advocating the end of animal farming.
    Who has the right to tell everybody in a free country what we can eat?!

    • MorganLvr

      Actually, the number of Europeans and Asians actually eating horses has dropped like a stone – especially since the horse meat scandal that has been going on for over a year and is still spreading. It is a dying market.

      The HSUS is NOT a radical animal rights group and they do NOT advocate the end of animal farming. That is pure pro-slaughter propaganda – bought and paid for. Don’t you EVER check out what you are reading? You should.

  • Gilly Davis

    To all you people saying that horse slaughter is good because it will reduce the population, let me tell you this: the Swedish company who was going to run the slaughterhouses was planning on breeding horses SPECIFICALLY for this. You know why? Because 99% of all horses in the US have been fed medicines their whole life. Theses medicines like bute and vaccines, when consumed by humans, have been proven to cause cancer. Letting horse slaughter continue would not lower the population but add to it, and we would be poisoning Europe and Asia. Not to mention it’s cruel and unnecessary when without horses America would be nothing.

  • Horse slaughter is a horrible, cruel way for a horse to end his life. Slaughter plants have never been a viable way to help reduce the horse population- breeders will continue to breed without regard to the market or demand.
    There are so many reasons why horse slaughter is overtly cruel, including the fact that the bolt used to kill the horses often only stuns the horse, meaning he is ALIVE while being vivisected. The horses also are terribly afraid in the chutes, and thrash about, so often the bolts are driven into the eyes and sides of the skulls of the horses- sometimes it takes several bolts to knock a horse out. Count that against horse slaughter in Mexico, where they are stabbed with putilla knives until they bleed to death.
    The plants themselves were shut down in the U.S. not solely because of anti-slaughter sentiments, but because they were constantly being fined for environmental concerns, including not disposing of carcasses and allowing blood to flow directly into waterways.
    Because these horses are not bred for the purpose of human consumption, we use medicines on them that are not only not intended for human consumption, but that are carcenogenic.
    Slaughter is not the way to reduce the horse population in the United States- the fact that we continue to send horses to slaughter is proof of that. Only by regulating breeding will we reduce the horse population. Sending horses to a horrific end is not the answer.

  • Nathan

    Yes, let the horses go to slaughter. On a similar note, in Thailand they do not believe in castrating &/or controlling the dog population. So there are tons of feral dogs. So, Laotian ‘businessmen’ round up the dogs and ship them live to Laos or Cambodia for slaughter. Thai customs stops them once in a while, but overall it is a win/win for both nations. One nation gets rid of a problem (overrun with feral dogs) another nation gets rid of their problem (serious lack of proteins).

  • Ben Mark

    99% of the race and sport horses may have medication. The rest can’t even afford it. What about the wild horses the West is overrun with? None of them have ever seen a vetenarian. What is with all the millions of horses the owner do not have to money to feed them, why would they have the money for a vet or the expensive medicine? Are all of you that are againt horse slaughter are going to feed and treat this poor animals?

    • MorganLvr

      The West is NOT overrun with wild horses. In fact, the BLM has illegally removed so many that most of the herds are on the verge of being too small to maintain genetic viability. The horses are all but non-existent on our Public Lands anymore. You’re even wrong about those horses seeing veterinarians. The BLM checks and worms the horses they plan to return to their ranges. They also give them bute if necessary for injuries etc. before they turn them loose. Ask them. They have stated categorically that many of the wild horses HAVE been given banned veterinary medications.

      It is the owner’s responsibility to care for their horses and that does include a decent end to their lives. If a horse is sound and healthy, there are legitimate rescues that will take them. There are more alternatives to slaughter than there has ever been before. CHECK IT OUT.

      And just where ARE all these people who can’t afford to keep horses but are doing so anyway? If you can keep horses at all you can afford to fulfill your responsibility to the horses you CHOSE to own. What a bunch of whiners!

  • Horse Trainer

    Actually the GAO Report did not ‘find that horse abandonment and disposal problems have worsened under the original ban.’
    To start, using the word ‘ban’ is misleading. You can still sell a horse to slaughter in the US today like you’ve alwys been able to, at the same auctions and to the same buyers (who also advertise in papers and on the radio right here in this country). It’s not a ‘ban,’ the processing facilities in the US have been closed, and horses are now only processed in Canada and Mexico, where horses have always gone, in the tens of thousands per year, to be butchered.
    There is no data – including that in the GAO Report – that ties moving processing facilities to increasing equine neglect – NONE. As was cited, ‘the number of horses sent to slaughter has not really changed much since the original 2006 ban.’ So if the same number of horses are being slaughtered (which is determined by quotas for US horse meat) and neglect is rising, ipso facto, as the constant, horse slaughter is eliminated as a cause of increasing neglect.
    So let’s think for a minute what the increasing neglect could be due to.. hmmmm…. a hard one.. could it be THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN THAT HAS INCREASED NEGLECT OF ALL ANIMALS???? Honestly, the cause of increased neglect is ridiculously obvious. And endless hand-wringing by puppy mill style horse breeders that there dirty little cull option not being located at their doorstep is hurting horses is nothing short of laughable (and frighteningly disingenuous).
    and transporting horses to Canada and Mexico often subject the animals to extreme cruelty.

  • horse owner

    Everyone has a good point but the fact is there is a real problem. There are many rescues around where I live here in Louisiana but they starve the horses as well. They can’t afford to feed them. People send them to auction and loose money on coggins papers and fuel only to have a killer buyer buy them and ship them to Mexico. Horses are gonna be slaughtered plan and simple so we might as well do it here where we can control it. I don’t like the thought of them being slaughtered but I know if they stopped shipping horses to Mexico they would be like deer running around everywhere and as a matter of fact that’s already a problem on one of our national forests right now. I don’t mean to ramble but I’m in the trenches of this every day horses are how I make a living and I think the plant might not be the best fix but that’s it for now.

    • Horse Logic

       I completely agree with you. I, too, own horses, and I’m not fond of the idea of horses being slaughtered (the plants have their own dirty problems like cattle and hog processing plants) but I’d rather it be done here in the US where it can be monitored and controlled. Also, PETA was complaining about how the horses sent to Canada and Mexico had to endure long, inhumane, trips. However THAT WOULDN’T BE A PROBLEM IF WE HAD MORE PLANTS IN THE US!!!

    • MorganLvr

      There has NEVER been one single instance of horses running loose in our National Forests. That has been investigated and is pure pro-slaughter propaganda.

      The ONLY documented case of mass dumping of horses is in the desert Southwest where the killers dump the horses that are refused at the Mexican border by the Mexican slaughter plants. Slaughter is the direct cause of these horses being in this situation.

      Horses are not going to be slaughtered in this country, and if it weren’t for the deep pockets of the pro-slaughter lobby we could pass legislation to keep our horses from being shipped across borders for the purpose of slaughter.

      You ever hear of taking responsibility for the humane end to the lives of the horses you freely decided to own? It’s called euthanasia and it’s performed by a veterinarian. Yeah, it costs some money – about as much as keeping a horse for a month. If you are keeping horses at all you can afford to end their lives humanely and responsibly. End of story.

  • gloria eighmey

    I know there are some good people who are for horse slaughter. Who just don’t see what’s the difference between horses and cattle. There say there all live stock. Thank you for your honesty and integrity. You seem to be the small few. Most all try to lie and deceive in there reasons for it . As its for the good of all the poor unwanted horses . and better here then mexico. Those reasons are plainly false as explained in my above post. The American people deserve to know THE TRUE reasons for slaughter. And decisions and laws made KNOWING the real reasons instead of all the lies. To you honest pro slaughter people out there who say horses are just livestock . There are millions of Americans who LOVE there horses. As long as there is slaughter they are always at risk of having there horses stolen or bought from deceptive killer buyers saying what a good home there going to give them. Telling you how there child is going to love your horse so much. Or some one you sold your horse to then later being deceived by killer buyers. Or even knowingly selling a horse you loved and trained at taught to love and trust people to a killer by. Any one who has cared about a horse they have raised or trained or owned always must fear that one of these horses will some day be sold to slaughter. Can you not and understand the horror of this.Maybe you don’t love them and just think of them as live stock. But this is a dreadful thing on the backs of all of us who truly do care and love are horses. If you don’t see the difference with a horse, may be you have a dog or cat you love that you can see how we feel.Or surly you have a friend or family member that does. 92 percent of these slaughtered horses are young and in good condition. Most have been loved by somebody at some time. With to many horses being bred so as to fill the slaughter market. Any horse can end up at slaughter. They just are at the wrong place at the right time.

  • Ben Mark

    Why some commenters think only horses are loved. Other livestock as geese, lamb, calves, chickens etc. are loved too if they are on a family farm, and still end up to be slaughtered and give a good meal.

    • MorganLvr

      And your point is? If you have food animals as pets, you do NOT send them to slaughter. Not even on a family farm.

  • News Flash ~ The slaughter plants will not accept old, sick, abused, abandoned, injured, starved horses. So much for the “horse welfare” propaganda. These horses are being slaughtered for human consumption! Only the best will be accepted, just like the USDA records show – 92% of horses that have gone to slaughter are young, fat, sound and perfectly healthy. These horses – far from being unwanted – would almost certainly have found good homes if the killers hadn’t gotten to them first.
    Ben ~ Lots of animals are loved, but they are still food animals and are raised as such from birth to slaughter. Horses are NOT food animals. The FDA considers horses to be companion animals, and that’s what most of them are these days. Pets, not raised or intended to got to slaughter.
    Being non-food animals also means that many horse medications and other widely used products – even fly spray! – contain ingredients that are banned from being used in ANY food animal for ANY reason at ANY time during their lives. ONE use and that animal must be kept out of the human food chain for LIFE. The ban is PERMANENT. There is NO withdrawal time for BANNED substances. Even for those that DO have withdrawal times, we have no way of tracking what horses have been exposed to or when they were exposed. And, make no mistake, substances with withdrawal periods can be very dangerous too if the withdrawal times have not been met.
    And WHERE do you get the idea that no one can afford to medicate their horses except for the ones that race?! Are you nuts? By far, the largest group of horse owners in this country are Recreational Horse Owners. We keep the billion + dollar horse industry going by taking care of our horses, using veterinarians, farriers, tack sellers, those that sell riding clothes and boots, it goes on and on. We take better care of our horses than we do ourselves! Horse sick – Call the VET! I’m sick – I’ll get over it. You get the picture? The vast majority of horse owners take GOOD care of their horses. See, our horses ARE pets. And, whether you like the HSUS or not, they are RIGHT here, and neither you or anyone else can change that.
    Besides, Ben, I’m starting to recognize Sue Wallis’ voice in your rants. Are you anything but a spoon-fed Sue Wallis puppet? Of course “someone” can tell you what you can and cannot eat – however, they are not doing that in the case of horses. You can slaughter and eat your OWN horse anytime you want. You can share it with your friends and relatives – especially if you want to get rid of them. You just can’t SELL it for human consumption in inter-state commerce. Eat up.
    Gloria ~ We have continued to send just as many horses to slaughter after our domestic plants closed as we did when they were operating. IF there are more abused and abandoned horses now, it has nothing to do with the slaughter option because their owners could just as easily sell them for slaughter as ever if that’s what they wanted to do.
    Also, it is a fallacy to think that slaughter was more “humane” in the US than Mexico and Canada. It was NOT. Neither was transport – horses still traveled for hours in double decked cattle trailers without food or water. And, since all the domestic plants, the six commercial slaughter plants in Mexico and all the plants in Canada are owned and regulated by the same people. The Belgian/Dutch consortium that controls the international horse meat trade owns the plants and they are regulated by the rules of the Commission of the European Union. All the same rules. Why would anyone think there was NO regulation in Mexico and Canada? WE don’t do the regulating, but the USDA was useless in keeping our horses from horrible cruelty when the plants were here before, and they have even less funds now.

    • Michelle

      I’m sorry but you truly are ignorant.. I love my horses just as much as you, however they are still only an animal.. I certainly do not want any animal treated inhumanely either. And I believe we can easily have slaughter plants who are capable of this..

      • MorganLvr

        We didn’t have it in our old horse slaughter plants and we won’t have it if we reopen them. Please don’t call anyone ignorant, because no one could top you. The two plants that were in Texas were less than 70 miles apart, and I and my horses lived between them for 15 YEARS. I KNOW from personal experience about the increase in horse theft, the environmental damage, the unbelievable cruelty, and I also know that we gave our horses veterinary meds that are banned from any use in any food animal at any time during their entire lifespan.

        If you had any guts or integrity at all you would go to http://www.kaufmanzoning.net and see what they have there – ALL documented – including pictures of the most horrific cruelty you will ever see, pictures taken by the USDA themselves but they never DID a thing to stop it.

        You are an ignorant, arrogant fool. If you loved your horses AT ALL you would educate yourself instead of parroting pro-slaughter propaganda.

        It’s OVER. End of story.

  • Sandra Force

    I would love to see a poll taken on this subject with more than 1001 people and a hand picked demographic.  I think that we might see some very different set of numbers if the poll was 20,000 people with a blind draw of #s.  I live in horse country and it is much closer to 50-50 and that is in a university area.  When you get to more rural areas the percentage in favor goes up.

    • MorganLvr

      No they don’t go up in rural areas – the pro-slaughter propagandists just SAY they do. The poll to which I assume you are referring wasn’t done by Poll Monkey. It was commissioned by what is considered to be the gold standard for the science of polling – Lake & Associates. They do NOT tailor their findings to suit the persons who commissioned them. That would be pretty useless to the large number of Washington legislators who use them to understand trends and what the public is thinking. God, doesn’t anyone here know anything?

  • Susanwd

    Several on this blog have identified the problem. People are looking at the wrong end of this. We have too many horses due to indiscriminate breeding. That is the problem. The horse racing industry is one of the biggest offenders. Looking for that one horse that will come in first at the finish line. Meanwhile you have thousands of horses that don’t cut it because of injury (and there’s a lot of that) or just not fast enough. The number of Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses foals born each year is roughly 167,000. That’s not counting all the other breeds of horses having foals. It is a horse mill. And the breeding of horses is almost always a premeditated decision on the horse owner’s part. I would go so far to say that horse slaughter is the horse industry’s euthanasia with tax payers bearing the burden! What a money making deal this is for the butcher! This just makes me ill and it is wrong in so many ways and needs to stop!

    • MorganLvr

      Horse slaughter is NOT euthanasia! Not by anyone’s standards.

  • MorganLvr

    Excuse me, but that GAO report has been totally discredited. Stop quoting from that fraud.

    How the GAO Deceived Congress About Horse Welfare After Closing of US Slaughter Plants: http://youtu.be/BSxUPNgzgn4

    White Paper: How the GAO Deceived Congress About Horse Welfare After Domestic Horse Slaughter Plant Closings:

    GAO Accused Of Fraud As Horse Slaughter Plants Fight To Open: http://www.forbes.com/sites/vickeryeckhoff/2013/08/08/gao-accused-of-fraud-as-horse-slaughter-plants-fight-to-open/

    GAO on Horse Abuse: http://james-mcwilliams.com/?p=4334

    The Fuzzy Math Being Used to Justify Horse Slaughter in the United States: http://www.psmag.com/environment/the-fuzzy-math-behind-horse-slaughter-64336/

    Evidence Shows GAO Horse Welfare Report Fraudulent: http://bit.ly/18oCAGO

    Grand Opening Of Horse Slaughter Plants Foiled Again: http://000Xi3465IHK

    And here are the reasons the EU will NOT accept horse meat from domestic US horse slaughter plants:

    Veterinary Residues Committee-Position Paper–Residues of Phenylbutazone in horses:

    Guidance Horse Meds Passports VMG Note16 https://app.box.com/s/5k630u3e3e0dxnre2n67

    Expert Opinion on Why Horse Slaughter Should Not Resume in the US: http://www.noequineslaughter.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Declaration-of-Harm-Final1.pdf