Name: Safeguard American Food Exports Act of 2013
Number: S 541 and HR 1094
While the U.S. Congress has put an end to efforts to reopen horse slaughter plants in the U.S., at least for now, horses can still be loaded onto dangerous double decker trucks and taken over the border for slaughter in plants in Mexico and Canada. This legislation would prohibit the sale or transport of equines and equine parts in interstate or foreign commerce for human consumption.
In 2007 appropriations for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibited it from financing the inspection of horse meat. In 2011, the agricultural appropriations bill removed that rider, opening the door to such inspections. The USDA did not reestablish its equine inspection service until the USDA and its Food Safety and Inspection Program was sued in 2012 by Valley Meat Company Service for failing to provide inspection services for horses at a plant in Roswell, New Mexico. The USDA issued permits to two horse slaughterhouses in 2013, but their opening was prevented by a lawsuit challenging the permits. In December 2013, a federal court refused to grant an injunction that would have stopped the operation of these facilities.
Congress, in the
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, reinstated the prohibition on financing the inspection of horse meat, which cannot be sold overseas without an inspection certificate. However this provision is only a temporary solution to a permanent problem—how to prevent the sale of American horses from slaughter at home and over the border in Mexico and Canada.
While a ban of the slaughter of horses, and their transportation across the borders for slaughter in Canada and Mexico, has always received considerable support in the House and Senate, past efforts to pass this ban have been held up in House and Senate committees. Recent polls suggest that most Americans oppose the slaughter and sale of horses for meat. It is time for a push to see this legislation passed into law.
Call to action: