KBR Wild Horse and Burro News
USDA attempts end run on Horse Slaughter Ban
By Karen Sussman and Willis Lamm
In an act of open defiance against Congress and the expressed will of the American public, the US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) has filed in the Federal Register Vol. 71, No. 26 a scheme that will circumvent, and in fact nullify, Congress' ban on horse slaughter for human consumption. The USDA appears to be swayed more by the influence of three foreign slaughter plant operators than by Acts of Congress.
After overwhelming public support, Congress passed an amendment to the 2006 Agriculture Appropriations Bill that would prohibit Federal tax dollars from being used to fund the federally mandated inspection of horses to be slaughtered for human consumption, thereby eliminating horses from the slaughter "product stream." This amendment was overwhelmingly approved in both the House and the Senate, and became part of the 2006 Agriculture Appropriations Bill.
Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns has announced the change of a long standing rule that will now allow for the plants to pay for their own inspections and continue the slaughter of horses in our country. This act by Secretary Johanns is a clear affront to the will of the people whose Congressional Representatives and Senators voted by an overwhelming majority for an appropriations bill amendment that created a moratorium on horse slaughter. This moratorium was effected by stopping funding for USDA inspectors in horse slaughter plants. (See the amendment and Senate vote.)
This rule change must be published in the Federal Register and normally requires a thirty day period for public response and comment. Secretary Johanns, however, has shortened comment period in order to prevent the closure of the plants for even one day by creating an "interim final rule." The new rule will be effective on March 10th when the plants were scheduled to close down. View the rule.
Horse advocates ask concerned citizens to help: Please respond before February 28th, within a week is preferred.
Where to write or E-mail:
ALL SUBMISSIONS MUST INCLUDE THE AGENCY NAME AND DOCKET NO:
Please note that comments received will be available for public inspection.
The following sample letter was provided by the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB):
RE: USDA - Food Safety and Inspection Service Docket #05-036IF Dear Secretary Johanns: Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the proposed rule change "Ante-Mortem Inspection of Horses," CFR 9 Part 352 - Section 352.19. I am expressing my voice for public comment to oppose this rule change that will circumvent the intent of Congress to stop the slaughter of horses at the three foreign owned slaughter plants in the United States from March 10 through October 1st of this year. The Congressional record clearly shows that both opponents and supporters of the Agricultural Appropriation amendment understood the intent of the amendment was to end slaughter of horses in our country for fiscal year '06. It is a travesty that this proposed rule change will be in direct opposition to the will of the people as indicated by the overwhelming Congressional majority in both houses who voted to temporarily end horse slaughter. Surely, the statistics are supportive to end slaughter of horses permanently in our country. Only 1% of America's horses are slaughtered and that is too many (approximately 65,000 animals yearly). There has been no increase in abuse cases in states where slaughter has ceased. The majority of animals killed are healthy young horses. Finally, Americans do not eat horses and the 99% majority of horse owners do not send horses to these plants where these animals are not humanely killed but suffer untold agony. I ask that you abandon this rule change and follow the will of the majority of Americans - end horse slaughter this year. Thank you for acknowledging my sincere and well researched comments. ______________(your name)
Advocates are requested to send letters to their Senators and Congressional Representative and let them know that the USDA has purposely thwarted the will of Congress and the desires of the majority of Americans to end horse slaughter. Ask for answers as to how and why this happened.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have web sites that allow you to identify and get contact information for your Senators and Congressional Representatives.
The ISPMB requests that Copies of Congressional and Senate responses be sent to them for compiling. Email responses can be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this serious matter. A suitable public response is necessary before the rule takes effect.
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