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Agriculture Today

Congress addresses horse treatment

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December 14, 2011 | 4,126 views | Post a comment

The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association applauds the recent passage of the “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012,” which passed the House 298:121 and the Senate 70:30, in a Dec. 6 cattlemen’s press release. President Obama signed the bill into law on Nov. 18. The comprehensive spending package contains the 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill, which does not include any riders prohibiting funding to be allocated for inspection of horse processing plants. While the absence of the rider does not ensure reinstatement of horse slaughtering in the United States, it is a step in the right direction toward that ultimate goal. The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association is pleased to see this action and urges all producers to voice their collective support for those who have worked on this issue ever since the processing of horses was banned in the United States in 2006.

U.S. Cattlemen’s Association President Jon Wooster commented on the bill’s passage, “As ranchers, many of us spend much of our time surrounded by and using horses in our operations. Neglect or abandonment of horses is the last thing that the public and our industry want, yet this has been a consequence of the removal of funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) horse plant inspections. The Government Accountability Report, commissioned by Congress and issued in June, confirms what many in the agriculture arena have stated since the initial ban of U.S. horse processing took place. The report states that the number of abandoned and neglected horses has increased while the economic revenue accumulated through the equine industry has drastically decreased. The report concludes with the suggested action of reopening horse slaughter plants.”

The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association urges all lawmakers to continue their efforts to ensure that horse slaughter is reinstated within the United States. The current alternatives for old or unwanted equines consist of shipment to Mexico or abandonment. The proper and humane handling of these animals in USDA-inspected processing facilities will improve the quality of life for horses across the country and such changes must be made as soon as possible.

For more information, visit www.uscattlemen.org.

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