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)

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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Horse Meat From Mexico Banned By EU

January 2015

The European Union has banned the sale of horse meat processed in Mexico out of fear it may not meet food safety standards.

The EU ban follows a Dec. 4, 2014, report issued by the European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office that was based on its officials’ observations of Mexican slaughterhouses from this past summer.

The report revealed serious problems with the lack of traceability of horses slaughtered for meat export to EU countries. Horses originating both in Mexico and the U.S. consistently lacked reliable veterinary medical treatment records, according to the report, as there is no requirement in Mexico or the U.S. to keep treatment records on horses.

Currently, 87 percent of the horses slaughtered in the Mexican establishments approved for exporting meat to the EU are imported from the U.S., according to the report.

European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office

Another problem the FVO had is that, for Mexican horses, no official controls are in place to allow authorities to verify the authenticity and reliability of owners’ declarations stating the horse’s medication history and nonuse of substances prohibited in the EU.

For horses from the U.S., the Department of Agriculture “does not take responsibility for the reliability of affidavits issued for horses originating in the U.S., and the FVO audit team found very many affidavits which were invalid or of questionable validity, but were nonetheless accepted,” according to the report.

The EU has ruled since July 2010 that the only horses allowed to be slaughtered for meat export to the EU are those with a lifetime medical treatment history and medicinal treatment records showing that the veterinary medicine withdrawal periods have been satisfied.

The ban appears to be a precautionary one, as the auditors said, “On the positive side, the National Residue Monitoring Plan has been largely implemented, and there have been no relevant residue findings in recent years, no findings at EU border inspection posts, and no rapid alerts.”

In addition to safeguarding EU consumers, the ban was said to benefit the welfare of horses by reducing the number of horses reported to be in distress in the Mexican slaughter pipeline. Postmortem inspection records at two slaughterhouses indicated serious animal welfare problems during transport and at arrival at the slaughterhouses.

At one export facility visited, “Two rejected horses were present, (and) both horses were injured (one with open wounds above both eyes, the other lame),” the audit said. “Both had been left in pens under full sun (there is a requirement for 10 percent shade to be available) and had been present in the pens without veterinary treatment for at least two days.”

Plus, insufficient control measures were in place to ensure that stunning was done in an effective manner.

European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office

The FVO made the following recommendations after it found “The overall situation remains unsatisfactory.”

  • Ensure the validity and authenticity of the affidavits linked to the traceability of horses of Mexican and U.S. origin slaughtered for export to the European Union.

  • Ensure that substances that are banned for use in food-producing animals in the EU are not used in horses from which meat is intended for export to the EU.

  • Ensure that treatment records are kept on horse holdings and that horses are adequately identified for this purpose, either individually or as a lot.

  • Ensure that the registered data in the various databases concerning Mexican horses slaughtered for export to the EU are correct.

  • Ensure that the postmortem inspections are carried out in compliance with EU regulations in all Mexican-approved slaughterhouses.

  • Ensure that official controls are performed at all stages of production of horses and their meat intended for export to the EU and that these controls are effective in guaranteeing that horse meat exported to the EU has been produced in accordance with relevant EU requirements.

The FVO is asking the Mexican government to develop an action plan incorporating responses to the recommendations no later than 25 days after the report’s release. A future FVO audit that has a satisfactory outcome will also be necessary before any proposal is considered to lift the ban.

Source: JAVMA


February 3, 2015: Switzerland announces it is joining the EU in suspending horse meat imports from Mexico due to food safety.

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