House-Senate Conference Report Ends Horse Slaughter Ban
House and Senate Appropriations Committees eliminated the ban on domestic horse slaughter. The Agriculture Appropriations conference report was released Monday evening. The conference report is now headed to the full House and Senate floors for consideration this week. Senator Max Baucus has long opposed the ban which he says is proven to cost jobs and harm horse welfare. Baucus says
"The facts are clear: this ban, however well intentioned, is hurting our horses and shipping much-needed jobs to Canada and Mexico. I applaud our appropriations leaders for considering the evidence and doing the right thing, and I call on all my colleagues in the House and Senate to follow their lead and end this ban once and for all "
· November 14, 2011 – The House and Senate Appropriations Committees release the Agriculture Appropriations Conference Report eliminating the ban on domestic horse slaughter.
· October 6, 2011 – Baucus calls on Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittees on Agriculture in both the House and Senate to end the ban in their conference report. Full text of Baucus’ letter is available HERE.
· September 9, 2011 – Baucus applauds as the Senate Appropriations Committee passes and Agriculture Appropriations bill that ends the ban.
· June 28, 2011 – Baucus calls on the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittees on Agriculture to review the report and end the ban. Text of Baucus’ letter is available HERE.
· June 22, 2011 – The full Government Accountability Office report, “Horse Welfare: Action Needed to Address Unintended Consequences from Cessation of Domestic Slaughter" is released.
GAO finds: the ban on U.S. horse slaughter plants has caused a drop in American horse prices and sales and the market has shifted to Canada and Mexico. As a result, overall horse welfare has declined, putting a strain on state, local, and tribal animal welfare resources, causing a rise in cases of horse abandonment, abuse, and neglect since the ban was instated. The report also notes that U.S. horses, often suffering from injury or illness, are being transported greater distances to be slaughtered in places where they are not protected by U.S. humane slaughter protections.
· 2009 – Having heard rising concerns about horse welfare and the harmful economic impacts of the ban, Baucus passes a law requiring the independent and non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a full report on the impacts of the ban. Baucus’ provision passed as part of the 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Bill
· 2006 – Congress enacts a de facto ban on U.S. horse slaughter in the Agriculture Appropriations bills by not allowing U.S. Department of Agriculture funds to be used to inspect the plants. Because the plants cannot ship meat across state lines without being inspected, the ban on inspection has resulted in a ban on domestic horse slaughter.
Information from Kate Downen