Senate Appropriations Cmte votes to continue defunding of horse meat inspections

Fund Horse, US Flag and Capitol Dome. Vivian Grant Farrell.
Fund Horse, US Flag and Capitol Dome. Vivian Grant Farrell.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 20, 2017) — The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee voted in favor of an amendment to bar any horse slaughter plants from opening again on U.S. soil.

Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., led the bipartisan effort, with fellow committee members Sens. Christopher Coons, D-Del., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., cosponsoring the amendment in a strong display of strength against horse slaughter.

The vote comes just a week after a closely divided U.S. House committee voted in favor of horse slaughter by two votes.

As the House and Senate committees are now in disagreement, it will be up to key lawmakers to resolve the dispute.

The intense bipartisan opposition to horse slaughter among so many Senators means advantage horses in a fight to the finish.

As U.S. Senator Tom Udall asserted, “Most Americans find the idea of slaughtering horses for human consumption repulsive, and there is no reason the federal government should contribute to it in any way. This amendment is a strong step forward, and I will keep fighting to prohibit horse slaughter in the United States.”

House Appropriations Cmte votes against continued defunding of horse meat inspections

Fund Horse, US Flag and Capitol Dome. Vivian Grant Farrell.
Fund Horse, US Flag and Capitol Dome. Vivian Grant Farrell.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Although our staff and volunteers have been on vacation, our lobbyists in Washington, D.C. have not been. Far from it.

Our expert team have been hard at it. They are determined get the victory and battling hard on behalf of America’s horses in the nation’s capitol. And they have all the necessary tools to get this victory. Support them by making sure your lawmakers are hearing from you.

There is nothing so defeating to a lobbyist than to go into an office only to have the lawmaker or a staff member say they have not heard much from their constituents on the issue.

Thanks to you and your hard work that has not happened once over the past few weeks. So please do not be discouraged by the results you are hearing. We are in the early stages. This battle is far from over. We were expecting it to be very tough, and why we started so early in asking you to call, call, call.

Horse Meat Inspection Defunding

In a very close vote, the defunding of USDA inspections necessary to export horse meat for the next fiscal year was defeated by a margin of 27-25.

Here are the lawmakers who voted to KEEP the defunding provision that keeps horse slaughter from operating on U.S. soil:

Voting Yes to Continue Defunding: Pete Aguilar, D-CA; Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., D-GA; Matt Cartwright, D-PA; Katherine M. Clark, D-MA; Rosa L. DeLauro, D-CT; Charles W. Dent, R-PA; David P. Joyce, R-OH; Marcy Kaptur, D-OH; Derek Kilmer, D-WA; Barbara Lee, D-CA; Nita M. Lowey, D-NY; Grace Meng, D-NY; Betty McCollum, D-MN; Chellie Pingree, D-ME; Mark Pocan, D-WI; David E. Price, D-NC; Mike Quigley, D-IL; Thomas J. Rooney, R-FL; Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-CA; C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-MD; Tim Ryan, D-OH; José E. Serrano, D-NY; Peter J. Visclosky, D-IN; Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-FL; Kevin Yoder, R-KS.

Here are the lawmakers who voted to REMOVE the defunding provision which would allow horse slaughter to return U.S. soil:

Voting No Against Continued Defunding:  Robert B. Aderholt, R-AL; Mark E. Amodei, R-NV; Ken Calvert, R-CA; John R. Carter, R-TX; Tom Cole, R-OK; Henry Cuellar, R-TX; John Abney Culberson, R-TX; Mario Diaz-Balart, R-FL; Charles J. Fleischmann, R-TN; Jeff Fortenberry, R-NE; Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, R-NJ; Kay Granger, R-TX; Tom Graves, R-GA; Andy Harris, R-MD; Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-WA; Evan H. Jenkins, R-WV; John R. Moolenaar, R-MI; Dan Newhouse, R-WA; Steven Palazzo, R-MI; Martha Roby, R-AL; Harold Rogers, R-KY; Michael K. Simpson, R-ID; Chris Stewart, R-UT; Scott Taylor, R-VA; David G. Valadao, R-CA; Steve Womack, R-AK; David Young, R-IA.

Horse slaughter has historically been a bipartisan issue.

Do any of the lawmakers voting NO represent you?  If so, remember them. Do not return them to office. Vote them OUT and replace them with someone who will represent your voice.

What’s Next?

Next, this Bill must make it through a vote in the full U.S. House of Representatives before moving on to the Senate. Keep calling — not just the U.S. House, but also the U.S. Senate. Whether or not your lawmakers are on one of these Committees, they will eventually be asked to vote on this measure.

Contact

Call your Members of Congress:

US Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121

Don’t know them?

Locate your Member on-line:

U.S. House of Representatives: www.house.gov
U.S. Senate: www.senate.gov

To find out who your Representative is, enter your zip code (including +4) in the search function at: http://www.house.gov/writerep/

Call the President

White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov/

Tips:

  1. Don’t call “off the cuff”. Write something up and rehearse it a bit until you feel confident. Be sure to make the purpose of your call very clear, and what you want them to do. Relax and make the call.
  2. Give them your name and address (so they can identify you as a constituent or your call won’t count), your phone number and email address (especially if you want a response).
  3. To make sure they took your information down correctly, politely say, “Would you please read it back to me? This is such an important call for me.”
  4. Speak from the heart. Tell them why this is issue is so important and what you want your lawmaker to do.
  5. If you want a reply to your call, you must ask them for one. Otherwise they are not obligated. You might say something like, “Please have [insert name of lawmaker] reply by email telling me what action [he/she] will be taking on this issue”.

Called them already? Call them again. Remind them where you stand. Tell them you are disappointed how this vote went and to make sure they vote to include the defunding of USDA inspections necessary to export horse meat in the Appropriations Bill.

Contribute

Please make a donation, any amount, to support this essential work. Sign up to make a donation of $30, $5.00 a month over the next 6 months (cancels automatically).

Other Issues

There are many bills pending before Congress that impacts horses and we are working on all of them.

The other issue besides horse slaughter that is weighing heavily on all of our minds is the planned destruction of wild horses and burros in the grip of the Interior Department. This is also part of an Appropriations bill, and has a long way to go as well. We must be active every step of the way.

This is a developing story. We will be back soon to update you.

Thank you everyone.

Former racehorses rescued from slaughter

Update 5/17/2017 8:17 a.m EST. Since Shedrow Confessions seems to have a handle on the backstory to this report, we will refer you to them and close our investigation. Go to shedrowconfessions.com for their story. Warning: Foul Language.


SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Source) — A San Diego County horse rescue is saving 20 thoroughbred racehorses from being slaughtered for meat, which is sold on the black market for human consumption in other parts of the world.

Michelle Cochran runs HiCaliber Horse Rescue in Valley Center.

“I have been in the horse world for over a decade and I haven’t known it existed,” Cochran said.

She wants to raise awareness on illegal horse meat trade.

“It’s human consumption. That’s the biggest issue,” Cochran said. “It’s all for human consumption.”

Cochran said in some parts of Europe, Russia and Asia, people eat horse meat. Some of the horses who end up in the “kill pens” are former racehorses.

It’s a fact that can be traced back to the tattoos that race horses have inside their upper lip.

When Cochran learned of 20 thoroughbred racehorses about to be slaughtered for meat in Louisiana, she and the group jumped into action – raising $40,000 in 48 hours.

“If they get hurt. They are too slow. They are too old. They are done,” Cochran said. Continue reading »

Take Action to End Horse Slaughter

Write or call your U.S. Representative and ask them to co-sponsor and use their influence to pass the SAFE ActH.R. 113 — that bans horse slaughter and closes the export to slaughter loophole for all horses including racehorses.

Story Source: Channel 10 News, San Diego.

Why do Kentucky lawmakers appear to despise horses?

LOUISVILLE, KY — Why do Kentucky lawmakers appear to despise horses? It’s not simply having little to no regard for horses. These people seem to out and out despise them and want nothing to do with helping them in any way. How can this be?

Kentucky Lawmakers in Washington D.C.

The first politician’s name that springs to mind when it comes to horse hating lawmakers from Kentucky is of course U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who is also Senate Majority Leader and a huge power broker in the nation’s capital.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images via Politico.com.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images via Politico.com.

From where we stand McConnell is top of the list in terms of intensity of destructiveness concerning our nation’s horses and their wellbeing.

Whether it’s interfering with legislation and other federal measures that would virtually eliminate horse soring and Big Lick animal cruelty, or his reported holds on bills session after session that would protect horses from slaughter at home and abroad, McConnell has proven to be a vicious enemy to horses.

Cruelty, horse soring and horse slaughter are intrinsically linked. The scale of the pain and torment meted out to horses by  sorers and slaughterers is extensive and horrific. It is truly unconscionable. McConnell not only supports but also uses his power to maintain both the soring and slaughter of horses.

Why? It may be as simple as this — McConnell loves the money he gets for working on behalf of those who spitefully use and perpetrate cruelty against horses, and peddle their flesh for profit. McConnell probably doesn’t give a thought to the horses at all.

What about the rest of the legislators representing Kentuckians in Washington?

Since legislation addressing horse soring and horse slaughter are pending in the U.S. House alone at the moment, so we will focus on the Kentucky lawmakers there.

Plus, we do not think it any mystery how Kentucky Senators McConnell and Paul will act when the companion bills are introduced in the U.S. Senate.

U.S. House Members for Kentucky

• Rep. James Comer (R-KY-1) https://comer.house.gov/, 202-225-3115
Committees: Agriculture; Oversight and Government; Small Business

• Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY-2) https://guthrie.house.gov/, 202-225-3501
Committees: Education and the Workforce; Energy and Commerce

• Rep. John A. Yarmuth (D-KY-3) https://yarmuth.house.gov/, 202-225-5401
Committees: The Budget

• Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY-4) https://massie.house.gov/, 202-225-3465
Committees: Oversight and Government; Science, Space, and Technology; Transportation

• Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY-5) https://halrogers.house.gov/, 202-225-4601
Committees: Appropriations

• Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY-6) https://barr.house.gov/ , 202-225-4706
Committees: Financial Services

(Source: http://www.house.gov/representatives/)

Let’s do a little exercise. Let’s see if any House members representing the good folks of Kentucky have co-sponsored either H.R. 113 (the SAFE Act) introduced on January 3, 2017 or H.R. 1847 (the PAST Act) introduced on March 30, 2017.

H.R. 113 — H.R. 113 (the SAFE Act) currently has 86 co-sponsors. Not a single co-sponsor from Kentucky as of yet banning horse slaughter.

H.R. 1847 — H.R. 1847 (the PAST Act) currently has 220 co-sponsors. We see a glimmer of hope. Rep. John Yarmuth is an originating co-sponsor of the anti soring bill called the PAST Act. Other than Yarmuth, no one from Kentucky has co-sponsored H.R. 1847.

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) representing the 3rd District home to Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. Image: KET.
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) representing the 3rd District, home to Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. Image: KET.

Rep. Yarmuth and Rep. Ed Whitfield were the only two Kentucky members in the U.S. House who co-sponsored the SAFE Act’s previous incarnation, H.R. 1942, in the previous or 114th Congress. So we expect Rep. Yarmuth will do the same for H.R. 113 this time around in the 115th.

What can we say about Rep. Hal Rogers?

In July 2015, Rep. Hal Rogers, did not use his powerful position to protect horses from slaughter.

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee failed to adopt an amendment to prevent the slaughter of horses for human consumption on U.S. soil. The amendment to the agriculture appropriations bill, offered by Rep. Sam Farr, D – Calif., resulted in a tie vote, with the Chair of the Committee, Hal Rogers, ultimately failing to adopt the provision.

(Source: HSUS)

At the end of the day Rogers’ betrayal did not matter.

In December 2015, H.R. 2029, the U.S. Omnibus Bill for FYE 2016 budget, became Public Law No. 114-113 effectively preventing the return of horse slaughter on U.S. soil until September 30, 2016.

Note: A subsequent spending bill for FYE 2017 became Public Law No. 114-259 continuing the defunding of horse meat inspections necessary to slaughter horses in the U.S. until September 30, 2017.

H.R. 1338

In the meantime, the following four U.S. House members of Kentucky, together with Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and five others (four also from Tennessee; the other from Mississippi), are originating co-sponsors of H.R. 1338, filed March 2, 2017:

Rep. Andy Barr
Rep. James Comer
Rep. Brett Guthrie
Rep. Harold Rogers

H.R. 1338 is another horse soring bill, however this one intends to help horse sorers, not eradicate them.

H.R. 1338 seeks a new inspection system set up by the USDA by establishing a single horse industry organization (HIO). “The Commissioners of Agriculture for Tennessee and Kentucky must appoint individuals to the HIO. Those individuals must appoint individuals” representing the Tennessee Walking Horse industry”.

This is a horrible piece of horse related legislation for Kentucky lawmakers to be involved with.

We oppose H.R. 1338. This is nothing more than a renewed legislative attempt at getting a “fox guarding the hen house” inspection system into place where anything goes for the continued horrific abuse of these gentle horses.

No horsing around for Rep. Massie

This leaves Rep. Thomas Massie who Politico named “Mr. No”.  Massie voted “no” at least 324 times in the 113th Congress – opposing one of every three measures that came to the House floor. This year he co-sponsored a bill to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency. He doesn’t seem to be for or against bills good or bad for horses. That’s something I guess.

Kentucky Lawmakers at Home

What about politicians at the State level in Kentucky? In our view, they have taken total lack of care concerning Kentucky’s horses to a baser level.

In March, a Kentucky State bill (SB 139) reclassifying horses as livestock instead of as a domestic animal was introduced and pushed through by a lawmaker with a documented history of horse cruelty.

Sen. Robin Webb. Source: The Paulick Report.
Sen. Robin Webb. Source: The Paulick Report.

This lawmaker whom the USDA slapped horse soring violations on is none other that Robin Webb (above), a member of the Kentucky State Senate.

Webb’s horse trainer Donald Stamper was also ticketed for multiple violations.

If that’s not enough here’s more.

The gaited horse industry came under scrutiny after undercover video of Jackie McConnell hit the national airwaves showing him soring, beating, and shocking horses with a cattle prod. McConnell pleaded guilty last year to a federal charge of conspiring to violate the HPA. His first violation was in 1979.

Webb told the Herald-Leader that the Tennessee walking horse industry has been “demonized,” in light of that video. “You don’t know what happened five minutes before or five minutes after. … These are animals that are very dangerous,” Webb said.

In other words Ms. Webb views horses trying to evade or protect themselves from abuse as dangerous and deserving of being cornered and mercilessly beaten into submission.

This individual’s bill no doubt calculatingly conceived, reduced their status to livestock, putting Kentucky horses further in harm’s way by removing what few protections they had, and they weren’t much to start with.

At the same time Webb’s bill opens the door to horse slaughter in Kentucky whether intentional or not.

Sadly, despite protests from Kentuckians not a single Kentucky legislator cast a vote against Webb’s bill. SB 139 had unanimous support throughout the entire process.

Governor Matt Bevin then signed it into law.

What does this say about Kentucky lawmakers?

Sen. Robin Webb’s horse soring violations made big headlines. How could any Kentucky State lawmaker fail to be suspicious of a bill concerning horses pushed through the way it was by someone like Webb?

See also http://www.chattanoogan.com/2013/1/23/242756/Roy-Exum-Senator-Just-Like-Lance.aspx

Kentucky Livestock Derby

It won’t be long now until the eyes of millions will be on Louisville, Kentucky and millions of dollars will be wagered on what is called the “Two Most Exciting Minutes in Sports”, a sport by the way where they think it’s funny to name racehorses Gourmet Dinner and Prime Cut.

Here’s a joke for those folks.

Perhaps they should name it the Kentucky Livestock Derby. After all, they are not racing anything special — just a bunch of livestock, usable, replaceable, dispensable. And anyway, what’s in a name?

Gourmet Dinner earned more than $1 million before retiring to New Vocations Racehorse Adoption this week. The gelding will be given a big rest before training for a second career. Image: Off Track Thoroughbreds.
Gourmet Dinner earned more than $1 million before retiring to New Vocations Racehorse Adoption this week. The gelding will be given a big rest before training for a second career. Image: Off Track Thoroughbreds.

As of 2014 Prime Cut seems to have been taken care of following his retirement too. We hope so. See OTTB Spotlight: Prime Cut. We are trying to get an update on both.

TAKE ACTION EVERYBODY

Support federal bills H.R. 113 and H.R. 1847. Guarantee your voice is counted at PopVox.com »

See also Take action against horse slaughter in the Nation’s Capital with HR 113 »

Tip: Don’t bother with pre-prepared, automated messages. They have very little if any impact at all and often not counted.

RELATED READING

• Supporters of Kentucky SB 139 respond to their critics in Blood-Horse article »

So happy together — Supporters of Kentucky State bill SB139 reducing horses to livestock status »

• Off the Menu: Gourmet Dinner and Prime Cut survive Thoroughbred racing »

• Despite a Triple Crown all that glitters is not gold in American horse racing (Part 3) »

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Horse in silhouette. Unattributed Google search result.