The horse slaughter industry in the U.S. was dealt a powerful blow on October 26 when the U.S. House and Senate Agricultural Appropriations Committee retained the amendment that will temporarily halt the slaughter of America's horses.
The amendment will take effect in February 2006 and stop the use of taxpayer dollars to fund USDA inspections of horses or horse meat at slaughter plants in the U.S. for eight months--effectively shutting the plants down.
Although intended to be in force for one year, opponents of the amendment delayed its implementation for 120 days by threatening to remove the amendment.
Although the amendment had overwhelming support in Congress, passing the House 269-158 and Senate by 69-28, it could have been stripped out of the agricultural appropriations bill by opponents on the committee.
Another milestone is the October 24th introduction of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, S. 1915, by Senators John Ensign, (R-NV), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Robert Byrd (D-WV), Arlen Specter (R-PA), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Trent Lott (R-MS), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Carl Levin (S-MI) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT). This bill and its companion in the House (H.R. 503) would bring about a permanent ban on horse slaughter in the U.S.
According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, the U.S. currently processes and exports 10,000 tons of horse meat a year from 50,000 domestic horses killed at three foreign-owned slaughterhouses in Texas and Illinois. Thousands of additional American horses are shipped to foreign slaughterhouses.