House Committee Votes To End Funding For Inspection Of Horse Slaughterhouses

After a five-year ban on congressional funding to inspect horse slaughterhouses was lifted in November last year, Congressman Jim Moran, a Democrat from Virginia, spearheaded an amendment to eliminate that funding once again. The amendment was passed by the House Appropriations Committee today.

The bill will now move to the floor for a vote by the entire House, according to a press release on Rep. Moran’s Web site. He’s known as an advocate for animal protection in Congress.

“When more than 80 percent of the American population opposes this practice, it is high time we put an end, once and for all, to industrial horse slaughter,” said Rep. Moran. “Horses hold an important place in our nation’s history and culture, treasured by all for their beauty and majesty. They deserve to be cared for, not killed for foreign consumption.”

If the USDA group that inspects slaughterhouses isn’t funded, inspections can’t happen, and the meat cannot be sold to humans for consumption.

The Humane Society applauded Rep. Moran’s actions in a statement:

“Adding millions of dollars to the federal budget to inspect foreign-owned horse slaughter plants would be a step backwards for America’s iconic horses and a waste of tax dollars,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “We are grateful to Congressman Jim Moran for leading the charge to restore this critical horse protection provision, and to the House Appropriations Committee for reining in this multi-million-dollar subsidy that could pave the way for the needless killing of American horses for foreign gourmands.”


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  1. Velifer says:

    That’s ok, I do my own horse slaughter at home.

    Is that a quote from the Humane Society, or the “Humane Society of the United States,” a radical activist group linked to Peta and opposed to any animal agriculture or pet ownership?

    • trswyo says:

      Having personally been involved with a recent situation that a member of the Humane Society of the United States videotaped…. They are indeed in my opinion radical. The female, attempting to out a slaughterhouse for cruelty, instigated many, many, acts of abuse towards animals. The employees that allegedly abused the animals no doubt need to be punished, but she is equally guilty for her part.

      As for horse slaughter, really, who cares… some people like it, some don’t. As an avid hunter, I am willing to try all types of meat, though there are many out there I don’t care for. Let those that enjoy it… enjoy horse meat.

    • VeganPixels says:

      “… said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States.”

      Read much?

      • Velifer says:

        Read quite a bit.

        “The Humane Society applauded Rep. Moran’s actions in a statement:” -MBQ.

        It needs to be made very clear to people that this group is NOT affiliated with any local humane society. They play upon ignorance to steal money from people who THINK they are donating to a shelter, then use that money on their wacky fearmongering campaigns.

  2. Coffee says:

    Wow…this is very, very confusing, but just to help other commenters out, here’s the train of logic:

    If funding is ended —> no one can inspect slaughter houses —> that meat, consequently, CANNOT be sold for consumption

    So, as counterintuitive as it sounds, defunding is actually more humane.

    • Bsamm09 says:

      Don’t they just ship them to other countries instead?

      • Coffee says:

        Who knows…that was just my attempt to understand the internal logic of the article. Critically thinking about it is a whole nother ball of yarn.

      • erinpac says:

        Pretty much. It’s not like the horses become immortal.

      • Bladerunner says:

        The horses, or the slaughtered horses? I think they can’t be slaughtered in the states with the intent of being sold for human consumption, now, even if they’re being sold overseas. The living horse could be sold, though.

        At least that’s how I read it.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        The average horse weighs roughly 1100 pounds. It probably wouldn’t be worth to ship a live animal of that size when all people want out of it would be maybe 100-200 pounds of meat.

      • Velifer says:

        Yeah, they get packed onto trucks and shipped over the border now.

        Also, this is for human consumption, they can still go to the rendering plant for animal feed.

    • Bladerunner says:

      I had to RT whole FA to process that. My eye went to the first line of the quote first, I did a double take, and then actually read and didn’t understand till paragraph 3/4.

    • Costner says:

      How is that more humane? We can’t slaughter the horses, so instead when a horse is ill, has a bad leg, or is just old – we either shoot them and let them rot, or we led them loose in a pasture where they eventually end up dead due to disease or age.

      Either way they end up dead – but one way might prolong the agony. Many ranchers have complained that since there is no market for the horses, there is no way to get rid of them… and they aren’t about to pay to dispose of them so they might just end up sending them to pasture and using them as target practice.


      • Bladerunner says:

        You don’t know a lot about animal slaughtering practices, do you? In the modern Industrial Slaughterhouse, there is nothing humane. And cruelty is the rule. I, in fact, would,/i> rather the horse be shot than have to go through that process. Though, that’s a broader discussion all things considered. But you are being ridiculous when you try to imply that removing the market for horse slaughter will somehow increase the number of horses slaughtered.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Temple Grandin would disagree.

          • Bladerunner says:

            No, Temple wouldn’t, not if she defined it as I do. In 96 she found that the majority of cattle slaughterhouses were unable to regularly render cattle unconscious, let alone dead, with a single blow. Things are better than then, though a quarter of slaughterhouses still don’t manage to do it, but the fact that most inspections are announced, the fact that there’s ANY significant percentage of failure is ridiculous. And lets not get started on the other animals, like chickens (who make up the vast majority of slaughtered animals), turkeys, and pigs (probably the smartest animals of the group) shall we?

            She has done great work in making things better, but the Industrial Slaughter industry was specifically designed to treat animals like things. I’d rather not spend awhile giving the dozens and dozens of citations I could give, but I will if you’d like.

        • Costner says:

          Um…. I’ve actually seen animals (cows) slaughtered. They were ran through a chute – and a device was pressed to their foreheads before a metal rod shot out into the skull and killed the cow.

          It was immediate – it was quick. On the flip side, I’ve seen animals that had to be put down in the field. If someone knows what they are doing and is a good shot it is quick, but I’ve also seen cases where someone is NOT a good shot, and the animal suffers.

          In one case I saw someone shoot an animal but it didn’t die and started squealing. Unfortunately, it was the last round in the gun so this person had to walk into a HOUSE get another round of ammunition, load the gun, and then shoot AGAIN. It probably was only a few minutes, but listening to the animal it felt like hours.

          I could tell you stories all day, but bottom line not allowing horses to be slaughtered is not a “more humane” way to go. It is rather silly to think these horses will just live a life eating hay and prancing around a pasture since they can’t be killed.

          • birdieblue says:

            Horse slaughter really isn’t anything like cow slaughter. Cows have been bred and raised specifically for that end. Horses are not bred for slaughter-friendly qualities, and it tends to be a horror-show. Many have broken limbs and huge wounds even before they get to the slaughterhouse, because they can and will fight in the over-crowded trailers. Horses panic and will thrash about attempting to flee, often injuring themselves and others. Sometimes they will break or break out of the chute. Some are dragged on the floor to the slaughter. Often, because they are in such a state of panic, it takes several attempts for the slaughter bolt to be applied correctly.

          • Bladerunner says:

            They don’t use that anymore, after mad cow. They use the less effective, non-penetrating version. And it is WELL documented how frequently cows do not die from the initial blow.

      • Coffee says:

        I’m not really trying to argue whether the logic is correct or not, only trying to make heads or tales of something that doesn’t read intuitively.

      • justhypatia says:

        Any animal that is ill or injured should not be sent for slaughter in the first place. This isn’t the wild were the weak simply get picked off more quickly. Shipping a sick or injured animal to a crowded slaughter lot where they can languish for days no medication or veterinarian care is pretty much the definition of cruelty.

    • highfructosepornsyrup says:

      Not sure I fully understand (yeah I get the funding-inspectors-food link). Is it not possible to fund your own inspectors and keep making horse meat? I always assumed that this sort of inspection was ultimately paid for by various fees levied on the producers… no?

    • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

      Except that horses will continue to be slaughtered for animal consumption and the use of byproducts to make other things. This only keeps horse-meat off the kitchen table. It does not stop the slaughter of horses, nor should it. Either slaughtering animals for food is bad or it isn’t. What makes horse-meat so terrible while millions of cows and other animals are slaughtered annually for human consumption??? It pretty damned hypocritical.

  3. josephbloseph says:

    This just makes me want to eat horses more.

  4. HFC says:

    I’m so hungry, I could eat a horse. Now, I have to travel internationally to do it.

  5. Costner says:

    Why should one animal be given more protections from slaughter than any other animal? Merely because someone claims that animal is “pretty” and “majestic” as opposed to just being another fat cow or pig???

    “When more than 80 percent of the American population opposes this practice, it is high time we put an end, once and for all, to industrial horse slaughter,” said Rep. Moran.”

    So this guy feels that a majority should dictate the laws of our nation? I think he is misunderstanding what he was elected. We live in a republic… not a full democracy. If it was a democracy, slavery would have remained legal for decades longer (and could still be legal in some states even today), and women wouldn’t have been able to vote nearly as soon as they were.

    Also, I find it humorous that a Republican seems to be concerned with majority rule considering recent polls show the majority of Americans now support gay marriage, and a majority of Americans also blame Congress and the Republicans (specifically the Bush administration) for our economy. I’ll anticipate Representative Moran’s upcoming legislation pushing for nationwide gay marriage and his statement accepting blame for the economy.

    Get a Brain Moran!

    • HFC says:

      Moran is a Democrat.

      • Costner says:

        I misread it… so I’m the moron for not seeing Moran was a Dem.

        Ok in that case, I’ll still hope to see legislation from Representative Moran pushing for gay marriage… even in an election year – since that is what the public wants. I’ll also expect to see him draft a resolution to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by December 31st since the most recent polls I saw indicate most Americans want us out of there.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        Horses hold an important place in our nation’s history and culture, treasured by all for their beauty and majesty.

        You could say the same thing about cattle. Well, except for maybe the “majesty” part, but saying horses are majestic is stupid anyway.

    • justhypatia says:

      So we’ll all start eating dog tomorrow? I hear gerbil is delicious.

      Point out that arbitrary line is arbitrary doesn’t help much. Horses are considered pets like dogs, not livestock like cows.

      Which I can actually understand because I tend to look down on people who dump their responsibilities on others. If horses were raised specifically for human consumption instead of being the pet that little Timmy or Sally got tired of and no longer wanted to play with, it would be a different story.

  6. Sarek says:

    Now how will I eat my Belmont Steaks?

  7. ninabi says:

    I own horses. But I’ve learned that unfortunately, they are not “treasured by all”. Unwanted animals are dumped in the desert, some people too broke to be able to afford to feed them or pay to put an aged and/or unrideable animal put down humanely (which costs approximately $300 for the vet and disposal fees).

    I don’t want horses to suffer the horror of being put on slaughter trucks and taken to Mexico for a brutal, frightening death either.

    Not sure what the answer is. Yes, they deserve to be cared for, but where I live the rescues are full. I’ve taken in a few rescues myself but there needs to be a humane, affordable options for those animals who don’t have a home.

    • We are not 3rd world says:

      Controlled breeding is one way, many of the horses dumped in the deserts are horses that could not pass the boarder to slaughter plants because of health issues. The meat brokers tell the driver to dump them. As far as not being able to afford a horse any longer, many do not try to even give the horse away or ask for help form a rescue, it is easier for them to dump the horse. I agree each state needs an affordable euthanasia program for all animals that is for sure.

  8. borgia says:

    I completely understand not wanting to eat any specific type of animal, but this is strange. Why do you care what other people eat? The US has to cull the “wild” horses to control the population. I put the wild in quotes because there is no such thing as wild horses in the US. I think it would be more correct to refer to horses as feral considering that the horses were imported from europe as domesticated animals and as such we do have a resposibility to control the feral horse population.

    • We are not 3rd world says:

      BLM has abused their authority. BLM is catering to rich ranchers and taking land from the wild horses reducing their numbers to null … Plenty of land for both of them. A professional ecologist has provided a study to our BLM but BLM ignores the study. Rich ranchers want to become richer, so BLM is trying eradicate our wild mustangs so very sad. I have read many different side to this issue and this is what it comes down to in my opinion.

  9. Gman says:

    No problem. They will just get with the lobbyists HFCS uses and rename “horse meat” to “Farm Beef”.

    Problem solved.


  10. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    Meat is meat. Well, OK, I’ll draw the line at human meat and endangered species.

    If someone wants to raise horses for meat, let them and inspect it so we can export the meat. Buffalo also have an important place in our nation’s history and culture, treasured by all for their beauty and majesty. Now that there are ranches raising them for meat, you don’t see the an uproar over their slaughter.

    And what about cows? Ever here about Cowboys? I have never heard about Horseboys or Ponyboys (at least in a g rated way).

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      American Buffalo are extinct, hunted out of existance by Western Expansioners. You’re thinking of Bison.

    • highfructosepornsyrup says:

      Eating people is probably one of the most environmentally friendly things you can do… just sayin’

    • birdieblue says:

      Horses going to slaughter are former racing, riding and harness castoffs. There’s no market in raising horses specifically for meat, nor will there ever be due to the costs involved. Cattle can be raised in ways that are cost-effective, but to do so for horses would mean the cost of the meat would be incredibly high. Hence buying “used up” horses at auction.

      • scantron says:

        The french raise a breed of horse called the Ardennes for meat but in the US they are castoffs. The meat isn’t that valuable and there are always plenty of extra horses from old horses too old to ride so why bother raising them for meat?

        The tail is, incidentally, the most valuable part of a dead horse, because horsehair is still used for many purposes, including to attached to the real tails of show horses to make them thicker.

        Declaring some moral difference between horses and cows is foolish and no one here has presented anything approaching a logical argument.

  11. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I don’t want dead horses to go to waste,especially if they can be utilized as a food source. But I also don’t like the idea of treating them in the same manner as cattle, which would undoutedly occur if we green light this without some form of guidelines.

    I’d like to see a way to balance both sides in a responsible, economical and environmentally viable way.

  12. SkokieGuy says:

    This seems like it won’t end horse slaughterhouses, only the sale of meat for human consumption (and how big a market is that?).

    I’m sure it will still end up in all types of animal feed, the skin turned into leather goods, etc.

    I’m wondering without oversight if the slaughtering will become more inhumane, since there’s no need to comply with any standards?

    • Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

      Actually, the market for human consumption is pretty big in Europe.

      • SkokieGuy says:

        Didn’t know that. That must be pretty expensive meat?

        Doesn’t this just mean that sick and old horses will be trucked to Mexico to be slaughtered there and sold.

        If the market exists, I don’t think the source is going to go away.

        • Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

          Not sure, but I think it is in the treat category, like an expensive steak. I guess in the $15/lb but could be less. You can buy New Zealand lamb for under $10 lb.

          But remember, the sick and old are not going to be the tasty ones. That would be the younger horses, maybe that were going to be put down for a broken leg. I don’t THINK that there have been any ranches raising horses just for food, but am not certain.

  13. alpha says:

    This pretty much means that all horses in the US will be shipped to either Canada or Mexico where the same practice you are trying to stop will continue. Until some people find horse meat delectabe, nothing will stop this practice.

  14. lunasdude says:

    I believe this is a direct result of a meat processing plant here in New Mexico that wants get a licence to processes horse meat for foreign markets and since there is no law against it the only thing the feds can do is eliminate the funding for inspection.
    No inspection / No horse meat plant.
    There is TREMENDOUS opposition to this in our state, despite the fact that like much of the west / southwest the attitude towards animals leans more to property than compassion.
    it’s sad and I love horses but my state and many around us are dealing with tons of abandoned horses because of the economy.
    No easy answer here but not sure horse slaughterer is the solution?

  15. dush says:

    So just send the horses overseas to be slaughtered.

  16. momtimestwo says:

    As much as I hate the thought of horses being slaughtered and wish it would go away, the reality of horses being shipped to Mexico for slaughter is real here (I’m in TN). In the past 6 months, a farm called Three Angles Farm from Lebanon, TN had accidents taking horses to Mexico. Google it and look at the pathetic creatures. They don’t need to endure the trip to Mexico. The skinny, abused, rejected horses are suffering badly by people who don’t give a shit. I’d rather a fast trip to a slaughter house with oversight and regulation than the reality of what it is today.

  17. stellapurdy says:

    If you want to read something horrifying check out the NY Times article about race horses,

    Maybe if there was more regulation on how these animals are bred for racing and what happens when they don’t perform, there would be less of them on last ride out of town.

  18. Cerne says:

    Horses are a traditional, tasty source of protein that people want to eat. The government mandates that you have your slaughter inspected, than refuses to actually perform those inspections.

    Remember when America was a country where freedom counted for something?

  19. humphrmi says:
  20. Plasmafox says:

    Moran Moran Moran Moran Moran Moran Moran Moran.

  21. CanAmFam says:

    As a lifelong horse person, trainer and horse owner, I am grateful this passed. Perhaps there are still some sensible people in Congress.

    We don’t eat our horses in the US. And we shouldn’t be diverting our taxpayer money to inspect a foreign meat supply, nor should we support a predatory business that brutalizes our equine partners and removes productive assets from our industry.

    Horse slaughter hurts the equine industry financially. Live horses inject $1,500 to $4,000 per year into their local economy, in fees to vets, farriers and caretakers, and purchase of bedding, feed, hay and horse products and equipment. Slaughter results in $50 to $200 in a onetime fee to horse owners and a similar net fee to kill buyers, while removing a productive asset from local rural economies. The bottom line is Live horses create jobs and support equine businesses and horse slaughter eliminates that value.

    Horse slaughter is also brutally inhumane – much more so than slaughter of other animals – with every undercover investigations showing rampant cruelty at auction, at feedlots and during shipping, including USDA reports showing horses with eyes gouged out (to prevent fighting during transport), limbs torn off and horses dead on arrival at plants.

    Horse slaughter does nothing to reduce equine neglect and these claims from the horse meat lobby have absolutely no evidence to back them up. Statistics don’t lie and there has never been any correlation shown between number of horses slaughtered and levels of equine neglect. However, slaughter does incentivize lottery-style breeding of low quality horses, and increases hoarding by people afraid of horses going to slaughter. Both of those impacts are detrimental to equine welfare and are directly related to the availability of horse slaughter.

    Horse slaughter plants also devastate local communities, showing proven and dramatic increases in local crime – including violent crime; employment of undocumented workers; depressed real estate values; stench; and environmental violations.

    Supporting horse slaughter is sponsoring entitlement spending by government for special interest groups, in this case, the foreign horse meat lobby. Horse slaughter is bad for taxpayers, bad for the equine industry and bad for horses.

  22. Laurel D says:

    Undocumented horses are not safe to eat. Unlike wild game, or animals raised for food, horses receive drugs that are banned in food animals. Horses go to slaughter when kill buyer buys them at auction, or off craigs list, pretending he is going to give them a good home. Their drug history is not provided to the kill buyer. Unlike food livestock, horses are performance animals, that are given drugs and supplements to keep them pain free, and at the top of their game. The most common pain medication for horses is banned in food animals, because it does not leave their system in any predictable timing. It binds to injured tissue and can be released at any time during healing. With chronic pain this drug can stay in the horse indefinitely.

    If you allow the USDA to inspect horses with false documentation created by kill buyers, you risk damaging the reputation of the USDA certification. Then all our ag products are in jeopardy. The USDA knows this is a problem. They now ID horses going to slaughter in Mexico and Canada, but decline to vouch for the accuracy of the documents that go with the horses. The UE has found American horses with banned drugs in their systems, but can’t blame the USDA… yet. Once USDA starts labeling horse meat for export to the EU they will be at risk.

    The drug level that could be harmful is too low to be detected in a pre-slaughter blood test. The only way to solve this, is to have the USDA take drug residue samples on every horse slaughtered and not OK the meat for shipment until the test results come back. Sounds like a huge waste of American food inspection dollars, to feed a foriegn consumer.

  23. thenutman69321 says:

    God I hate the country I live in sometimes. Most of the damn world eats horses but our government wants to take money out of working peoples pockets just because they think their way is right.

    Snobbish entitled assholes.

  24. RickinStHelen says:

    So the Representative from Northern VA, an area known for lobbyist and traffic congestion, is an expert on horses. Is he familiar with the dumping of abandoned horses on public lands in the west? Is he familiar with the incredible number of horses in poor to starvation conditions because in this bad economy owners can not take care of them, but cannot get rid of them either? Is he aware of the fact that shelters are full and cannot take any more horses in most parts of the country? Horses are livestock. If slaughter is good enough for a cow, it is good enough for a horse. If it is too cruel for a horse, ban it for cows. They are not living symbols of America, they are livestock.

  25. Libertas says:

    More governmental overreach.