Mystery of Trump’s nomination of Sonny Perdue as Secretary of Agriculture

MARCH AGAINST HORSE SLAUGHTER — For horses a lot hangs on who is eventually appointed as Secretary of Agriculture. Former George Governor Sonny Perdue was reportedly nominated but confirmation hearings still have not been set. So Perdue remains unconfirmed.

Although not a food animal in the US, the person appointed to head up the Agricultural Department will be in a powerful decision making position that could dangerously impact the lives of horses because of the slaughter issue.

Except for Bravo Packing in New Jersey where horses are reportedly killed for zoo meat etc (they do not return our calls), horses are not slaughtered on US soil. However, some 130,000 to 150,000 horses are sent across US borders a year for the purposes of slaughter. The resulting horse meat is freeze packed and shipped overseas for human consumption.

Horse lovers were concerned from the moment it was reported that Sonny Perdue was nominated to head up the US Department of Agriculture. Perdue is pro horse slaughter.

However, according to a Vox report Perdue has not actually been officially nominated.

Sonny Perdue, [ ] Trump’s nominee to serve as agriculture secretary, has not yet been confirmed, and nobody knows why.

It’s not that Democrats are obstructing his confirmation — since changes to the Senate’s filibuster rule, they can’t block a Trump nominee unless they recruit three Republican “no” votes. And in the case of Perdue — unlike, say, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos — they aren’t trying to do this. Nor are they resorting to extraordinary measures like the all-night debate that stalled Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s confirmation, or the committee walkouts that dramatized ethical issues hanging over the heads of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin or Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

The reason the Senate hasn’t yet approved his nomination is that he hasn’t actually been officially nominated yet. Paperwork hasn’t yet traveled down from the executive branch to the Senate, so no hearings have been scheduled, even though Perdue does not appear to be a controversial nominee.

There’s little to no reason to be hopeful Perdue will not eventually be nominated, or is there? Vox also reports:

Perdue’s nomination appears to be in limbo due to either the FBI background check or to financial conflicts of interest considered by the Office of Government Ethics. But it seems nobody is entirely sure whether there’s an actual problem, how serious the problem is, or whether the vetters are simply overwhelmed with other work.

In the meantime the USDA and others are in limbo until someone is nominated and confirmed.

In the meantime, US horses as ever are still at risk of slaughter and there seems no end in sight.

Sonny Perdue. Photo by Jason Getz / Getty Images.


Tuesday’s Horse
Trump picks former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to head up Agriculture; January 19, 2017.

Other Media
5 Reasons Why Food Experts Are Worried About Trump’s New Agriculture Secretary;; by Clint Rainey; January 2017.

US House Committee passes anti-slaughter amendment

US Capitol Dome and Flag.

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Agricultural Appropriations Committee voted 25-23 in favor of the Farr-Dent amendment which prevents the funding necessary for the USDA to conduct horse meat inspections for another year.

This type of legislative action to end horse slaughter in America was first taken in 2007. Only once has Congress failed to pass the same measure since that time.

While this keeps horse slaughter plants from re-opening on U.S. soil, American horses are still transported across U.S. borders for the purpose of slaughter for human consumption.

The Agricultural Appropriations Bill containing the Farr-Dent amendment now moves on to the full House for consideration. A similar amendment is expected for a vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Lawmakers voting yes on the amendment, to protect horses:

Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Charlie Dent (R-PA), Sam Farr (D-CA), Michael Honda (D-CA), Steve Israel (D-NY), David Jolly (R-FL), David Joyce (R-OH), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), David Price (D-NC), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Tom Rooney (R-FL), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Peter Visclosky (D-IN), Kevin Yoder (R-KS).

Lawmakers voting no on the amendment:

Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Mark Amodei (R-NV), Ken Calvert (R-CA), John Carter (R-TX), Tom Cole (R-OK), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), Kay Granger (R-TX), Tom Graves (R-GA), Andy Harris (R-MD), Jaime Herrera Buetler (R-WA), Evan Jenkins (R-WV), Steven Palazzo (R-MS), Scott Rigell (R-VA), Martha Roby (R-AL), Hal Rogers (R-KY), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Chris Stewart (R-UT), David Valadao (R-CA), Steve Womack (R-AR), David Young (R-IA).

Not voting:

Henry Cuellar (D-TX), John Culberson (R-TX), Chaka Fattah (D-PA).

US Senate Committee passes horse slaughter ban for fiscal year 2015

Beauty was a ‘throwaway’, a horse nobody seemed to want, slaughter bound in a feedlot. 'Well, I wanted her!' says the lady who rescued her.
Beauty was a ‘throwaway’, a horse nobody seemed to want, slaughter bound in a feedlot. ‘Well, I wanted her!’ says the lady who rescued her. A federal bill protecting U.S. horses from slaughter called the SAFE Act is currently pending. Please contact Washington today to support it.


Washington DC — On May 22, 2014, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY2015 Agriculture Appropriations bill (S.2389).  This bill provides funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the 2015 fiscal year (October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015).

The bill contains several provisions that impact equine health, safety and welfare, including a provision that will prohibit funding for USDA inspections at U.S. horse slaughter facilities necessary for domestic horse meat to be exported for human consumption.


A provision in the consolidated appropriations bill for fiscal year 2014 prohibits the USDA from using federal funds to pay for inspections at horse slaughter plants in the U.S. and ends September 30, 2014.

President Obama’s budget for fiscal year 2015 requests that Congress forbid the USDA from using any of its funds for such inspections.

Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) offered an amendment to the FY2015 U.S. Agriculture Appropriations bill prohibiting the USDA from funding inspections at horse slaughter facilities. It passed the Senate Appropriations Committee by a vote of 18-12.

This amendment prevents horse slaughter facilities from operating in the U.S.

Similar action is expected in the U.S. House of Representatives.


The FY2015 Agriculture Appropriations bill also provides funding of $705,000 for enforcement of the Horse Protection Act which makes it illegal to sore a horse, an increase of $8,000 over the FY2014 budget.


The FY2015 Agriculture Appropriations bill provides funding of $872.4 million for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

APHIS is a USDA agency responsible for conducting regulatory and control programs to protect and improve the health of plants and animals. This includes responding to contagious equine disease outbreaks. It sets funding for Equine, Cervid, and Small Ruminant health at $19.6 million, an increase of $117,000 over the FY2014 budget.

The Committee will now send the FY2015 Agriculture Appropriations bill to the full Senate for approval.

While this is welcome news, and keeps horse slaughter plants from re-opening on U.S. soil, it does not keep U.S. horses from being sent across the border to Mexico and Canada for the purposes of slaughter. The SAFE Act, currently pending before Congress, closes this loophole.

How you can support the SAFE Act »