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Horse Slaughter Ban to be Lifted in US
 By Winniefield Park   •   25th Jul 2017   •   858 views   •   0 comments
Horse Slaughter Ban to be Lifted in US

There are currently no slaughterhouses processing horses in the U.S.A. It’s been that way since 2007 after years of trying to pass an anti-slaughter bill through the senate. September 2007 saw that last slaughterhouse close its doors to horses because the government no longer funded the required USDA inspectors. Since then, various business and politicians have made efforts to end the ban on horse slaughter, only to be defeated. With no money designated for inspections by the USDA, slaughter has remained illegal.

But since the new U.S. President took office back in November of 2016, there has been speculation that the bill that ended horse slaughter would be repealed. It now looks that looks like it may actually happen. July 12, The House Appropriations Committee approved the 2018 appropriations bill for USDA. This is the paperwork that lays out the budget and funding for overseeing the laws governing farming, forestry and food production. Part of the process was a vote that would lift the ban on slaughtering horses in U.S. based slaughterhouses. By removing one paragraph, Section 767 of the act, inspectors would again be funded under this new budget making horse slaughter legal again.

This doesn’t mean that the bill that ended horse slaughter has been repealed yet. But, it is certainly one step closer. A California senator Democrat Lucille Roybal-Allard pushed to have the slaughter ban renewed, but was defeated by a vote of 25-27 in favor of not renewing. One of the arguments for dropping the ban was the long trek horses are currently being forced to take en route to Canada and Mexico for processing. One representative stated that horses weren’t to be slaughtered in the U.S. even if it meant shipping them to other countries. Others see the defunding as an economic boost as slaughter plants reopen and the market for previously ‘unsaleable’ horses increases.

If no further changes are made, the current ban will run out on September 30. After that time, USDA inspectors will be able to resume inspections of processing horses. However, Congressman Earl Blumenauer, co-chair of the Animal Protection Caucus stated

“...there is a strong bipartisan coalition in the House and Senate who agrees with the American public that horse slaughter must end. This isn’t over, and we will look for opportunities to reinstate the ban as the appropriations process continues.”

The looming threat of the slaughter ban being lifted is even more urgent for wild horses. Funding for the management of wild horses and burros has been cut. The 2018 budget includes a reduction of 11% and the cutting of 29 jobs from the BLM's Wild Horse and Burro management program. At stake are contraceptive programs and the care of 45,000 feral equines currently in holding facilities. The budget cuts and defunding of inspectors means that these horses are at risk of entering the slaughter pipeline. Again, some say this move is a necessary evil, while others are only praising the money saving and making opportunities.

Whether you are for or against the slaughter ban being lifted, and the slaughter of feral horses and burros, you can make your opinions known to your local representatives. The exact wording of the change can be found at: https://www.obpa.usda.gov/34gpexnotes2018.pdf.
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