Horse Slaughter Legislative Timeline 2013

“If horses are worth money alive why can’t they be worth money dead?”
— Rep. Skye McNiel, Oklahoma


State and Federal Legislation
113th U.S. Congress (2013—2014)

DATE VENUE ACTIVITY RESULT
February 5, 2013 New Mexico House of Representatives HJM 16, introduced by Rep. Paul C. Bandy (R-Aztec), a bill that would have authorized the State Department of Agriculture to study the feasibility of a slaughter facility to process horse meat for human consumption was considered. Rejected – 36 “no” votes, 28 “yes” votes.
March 12, 2013 US House; US Senate U.S. Congressman Pat Meehan (R-Pa.) and U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports Act of 2013 — H.R. 1094 and S. 541 on March 12. This legislation, known as the “SAFE Act,” takes a different path on the issue of horse slaughter.

If successful, it would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to prohibit the sale, transport, import or export of equines, or their parts, to be slaughtered for human consumption.

If passed, this measure would impose fines and prison time for anyone who sells, transports, imports or exports horses going with the intent of slaughtering horses for human consumption.

Anti horse slaughter legislation introduced both chambers.

HR 1094 referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on Agriculture, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker; S 541 referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

March 15, 2013 US House HR 1094, the SAFE Act referred to Subcommittee on Health. Burying this bill in Committees.
March 29, 2013 Oklahoma Oklahoma’s 50-year-old ban on horse slaughtering was lifted Friday when Governor Mary Fallin signed a new law that will allow facilities to slaughter horses and process their meat or export. This bill, which takes effect Nov. 1, strictly prohibits selling horse meat for human consumption in Oklahoma.

House Bill 1999 was introduced by Rep. Skye McNiel (R-Bristow) and sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Eddie Fields. The Bill passed 82-14 in the House and 32-14 in the Senate.

McNiel’s family owns the largest slaughter house in Oklahoma. McNiel did not file for re-election in 2014.

Paper victory for horse slaughter proponents.

USDA is refusing to pay for necessary inspections even though no longer blocked by law.

April 2, 2013 US House HR 1094 the SAFE Act, referred to Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit
April 10, 2013 US Congress Budget proposal released that would again prohibit federal funding of horse meat inspections.

It states: EC. 725. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to pay the salaries or expenses of personnel to-(1) inspect horses under section 3 of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 603); (2) inspect horses under section 903 of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 1901 note; Public Law 104127); or (3) implement or enforce section 352.19 of title 9, Code of Federal Regulations.

The new defunding language contains not only defunding, but also a stipulation that funding not be restored until and unless the Food and Drug Administration makes a determination that meat from American horses can be made safe to enter the food supply.

Until passed by Congress, technically funding to inspect horse meat is available to horse slaughter facilities in States where there are no laws prohibiting the slaughter of horses.
April 15, 2013 New York State Legislature Senate Bill S.4615 / Assembly Bill A.3905 “to amend the Agriculture and Markets Law by adding a new section 380, to prohibit the slaughtering of horses for human consumption” was introduced in the Senate by Kathleen A. Marchione (R,C-Halfmoon) and co-sponsored by Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville), and prime-sponsored by Assemblywoman Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan), in the Assembly. The sale or purchase of horse meat would also be prohibited. Referred to Agriculture Committee
June 28, 2013 Washington DC USDA grants permit for a southeastern New Mexico company’s (Valley Meat Co.) to convert its cattle facility into a horse slaughter plant. Paper Victory.
July 2, 2013 Washington DC USDA issues a “grant of inspection” to Responsible Transportation, of Sigourney, in southeastern Iowa, because it met all federal requirements. USDA will also be obliged to assign meat inspectors to the plant.

“The Administration has requested Congress to reinstate the ban on horse slaughter,” the USDA said in a statement. “Until Congress acts, the department must continue to comply with current law.”

Paper Victory.
July 2, 2013 Washington DC The Humane Society of the United States, Front Range Equine Rescue, Marin Humane Society, Horses for Life Foundation, Return to Freedom and five private individuals sue under the National Environmental Protection Act, due to the agency’s failure to conduct the necessary environmental review before authorizing horse slaughterhouses to operate. Horse slaughter inspections in the U.S. are delayed for weeks due to The HSUS and Front Range Equine Rescue’s legal action.
August 2, 2013 U.S. District Court of New Mexico Judge Christina Armijo grants a 30-day temporary restraining order preventing the commencement of horse slaughter at two plants—Valley Meat Co. LLC in Roswell, New Mexico and Responsible Transportation in Sigourney, Iowa. Horse slaughter put on hold temporarily while lawsuit continues.
November 1, 2013 U.S. District Court of New Mexico U.S. District Judge Christina Armijo denies the plaintiffs’ (HSUS) request for permanent injunction and dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice. Additionally, since the temporary injunction previously issued by the court expired, horse slaughter operations many commence at the plants issued permits. The Humane Society of the United States, et al, appeals the case to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, and moves for a temporary stay of Judge Armijo’s Memorandum Opinion and Order.
November 4, 2013 10th Circuit Court of Appeals The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily stays District Judge Armijo’s Memorandum Opinion and Order to allow the Court “adequate time to consider the matter”. Until the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals acts, the horse slaughter plants currently holding permits cannot commence operations.
December 13, 2013 10th Circuit Court of Appeals 10th Circuit Court of Appeals denies an emergency Motion for Injunction pending appeal filed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other animal rights groups. The Motion sought to halt horse slaughter operations at three U.S. plants pending the final resolution of the animal rights groups’ appeal. Horse slaughter operations may now commence under the trial court’s decision, even though the merits of that decision are currently being considered by the 10th Circuit.
December 19, 2013 1st Judicial District Court, Santa Fe NM State Attorney General Gary King sues the Valley Meat horse slaughter plant in Roswell to prevent its expected opening in January. Pending.

Contributors: Vivian Farrell; Jane Allin

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