Horse Slaughter Legislative Timeline 2011

State and Federal Legislation
112th U.S. Congress (2011—2012)

January 2011 Legislative Assembly of N. Dakota Jan 10: HB 1244, a bill allowing horses to be slaughtered for food with other animals and amending rules governing preparation of equine carcasses, introduced by Rep. M. Nelson. Referred to Ag Cmte.
Jan 27: Passed Ag Cmte (12-0-2), placed on Calendar
Jan 31: Passed House (90 Ayes, 0 Nays)
N. Dakota pro horse slaughter bill introduced, passes House and sent to Senate for action.
January 2011 Nebraska Unicameral Legislature Jan 12: LB 305, a bill to establish state meat inspection program for horses (and other animals), introduced by Tyson Larson
Jan 14: Referred to Ag Cmte
Jan 24: Notice of Hearing for Feb 8th
Nebraska pro horse slaughter Bill introduced. Set for Hearing Feb. 8th.
January 2011 187th General Court of Massachusetts Jan. 18: Bill S00655 banning the slaughter, procurement and transport of horses for human consumption introduced by State Sen. Stephen Brewer.
Jan. 24: Referred to Joint Committee on the Judiciary; House concurs.
Massachusetts anti horse slaughter Bill introduced.
January 2011 New York State General Assembly Jan. 25: A03504, a bill banning horse slaughter and transport for slaughter for human consumption introduced by Assemblywoman Deborah Glick. Referred to Ag Cmte. New York State anti horse slaughter Bill re-introduced. A. Glick introduced this in 2004 and 2009. In each instance the bills were stalled and killed in Cmte by its Chairman MaGee, a “meat industry” politician.
February 2011 Legislative Assembly of N. Dakota Feb 1: Senate receives HB 1244 (see Jan 10, 27 and 31 entries for details).
Feb 21: 1st reading; referred to Ag Cmte. Cmte Hearing set for March 3rd.
N. Dakota pro horse slaughter Bill progresses to Senate; Ag Cmte Hrng set Mar. 3rd.
February 2011 Nebraska Unicameral Legislatue Feb 8: LB 305, Statement of Intent entered, “This bill directs the Department of Agriculture to develop and implement a state meat and poultry inspection agency to inspect meat and meat products for human consumption in compliance with federal regulations by January 1, 2013.”
Feb 23: LB 305 Placed on General File.
Nebraska pro horse slaughter Bill progresses.
May 2011 U.S. House of Representatives May 30: The 2012 Agriculture Budget Bill is debated in the House Appropriations Committee, from which the measure defunding USDA inspections necessary to market horse meat was ripped out, paving the way for the return of horse slaughter to U.S. soil. See below.
May 2011 U.S. House of Representatives May 30: Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) offers an amendment to continue denying funding for the USDA inspections required to market horse meat. The 2012 Agriculture Budget Bill is voted on in the House Appropriations Committee, passing by a margin of 24-21, with the Moran Amendment intact. The bill is sent to the full House for consideration.
June 2011 U.S. Senate Jun 9, 2011: A bill entitled the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011 — S. 1176 — is introduced (pdf) in the United States Senate, Thursday, June 9, 2011, by Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) with 14 originating co-sponsors.

S. 1176 amends the Horse Protection Act, making it illegal to transport horses for the purposes of slaughter, among other provisions.

S. 1176 is referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
September 2011 U.S. Senate Sep. 9, 2011: The Senate Appropriations Committee approve a version of the U.S. Agriculture Appropriations Bill that no longer contains the ban on funding for horse meat inspections.

Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri and two colleagues with close ties to the beef industry, namely Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia and Sen. Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, in a secretive back door manouver altered the 2012 omnibus spending bill so it no longer banned funding for horse meat inspections.

If signed into law, this opens the possibility for return of horse slaughter to U.S. soil.
September 2011 US House of Representatives Sept 19: HR 2966 — The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011 — introduced by Rep. Dan Burton [R-IN-5]. Assigned to the Energy & Commerce and Agriculture Committees. Last Action: 10/04/2011 Referred to the Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry. Died in Committee. It had 165 Co-Sponsors.
November 2011 U.S. Congress Nov. 17, 2011: The Agriculture Appropriations Bill for 2012 [October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012] was passed by Congress and signed into law without the wording that prohibited horse meat inspections since 2006. This potentially flings the door wide open for the return of horse slaughter to U.S. soil. horse slaughter. [1] [2]


Go to 2012 Legislative Timeline  »


[1] Horse Slaughter Prevention Bills and Issues (pdf), by Tadlock Cowan, Congressional Research Service; June 28, 2013.

USDA stated that, although the limitation on FSIS inspection had been lifted, there were still significant regulatory obstacles to resurrecting horse slaughter in the United States. For example, any processing facility has to obtain a federal grant of inspection, conduct a hazard analysis, and develop a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan prior to the processing of any horses for human consumption. A facility in New Mexico—Valley Meats, Inc.—was granted a permit by USDA on June 28, 2013, to begin horse slaughter. USDA has stated that it would grant similar operating permits to plants in Iowa and Missouri in early July 2013. The New Mexico plant had sued USDA in February 2013, accusing it of intentionally delaying the approval process. Both the House (H.R. 2410) and Senate (S. 1244) 2014 Agriculture appropriations bills would again prohibit FSIS from inspecting horses under the Federal Meat Inspection Act. The Administration and USDA have also requested that the ban on horse slaughter continue. As discussed above, the provision had been included in Agriculture appropriations bills since 2008.

[2] Setting the Record Straight on Congress’ Lifting of the Ban on Horse Slaughter. Posted on the USDA blog by Phil Derfler, Deputy Administrator for Food Safety and Inspection Service, December 9, 2011.

There has been a lot of talk in the past week about Congress’ lifting of the ban prohibiting federal funding for the inspection of horses, which prevented the slaughter of horses for human consumption for the past five years.  The issue is understandably a sensitive and emotional one for everyone who loves these majestic animals, but it is important that the discussion be tempered with the facts.

While Congress has technically lifted the ban, horse processing will not resume anytime in the near term.  Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, horses are an amenable species, which means that horse meat cannot be shipped or sold for human consumption without inspection.

To date, there have been no requests that the Department initiate the authorization process for any horse processing operation in the United States.  In the two states where horse processing took place prior to the Congressional ban, Illinois and Texas,  there are laws in place prohibiting the slaughter of horses.  Even if these laws were changed, any processing facility will still need to satisfy a significant number of requirements, such as obtaining  a federal grant of inspection, conducting a hazard analysis, and developing a Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan prior to the processing of any animals.

Contributors: Jane Allin, Vivian Farrell

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