Following impressive votes in Congress, an amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations Bill was signed into law to prohibit the federal funding of slaughterhouse inspections —which is required for the meat sold for human consumption. If the US Department of Agriculture does not intervene, horse slaughter at the three remaining slaughterhouses in the United States will come to a halt in March for the remainder of the government’s fiscal year.
This gives us time to fight for a permanent end to the cruel practice by seeking adoption of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. The Act was reintroduced as H.R. 503 in the House of Representatives by Congressional Horse Caucus co-chair John Sweeney (R-NY), Representative John Spratt Jr. (D-SC) and Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY). In the Senate, the bill was reintroduced as S. 1915 by Senator and veterinarian John Ensign (R-NV) and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA).
Meanwhile, public distain for horse slaughter is growing. After a recent federal ruling against the Texas law prohibiting horse slaughter, the Tarrant County district attorney filed an appeal in their effort to close the two Texas slaughterhouses. Additionally, the Texas Zoning Board of Adjustment in Kaufman, Texas has ruled unanimously that the town’s horse slaughter plant is a nuisance, citing smell and discharge into the city’s sewer system as major factors. Barring an appeal by the slaughterhouse, this may force the plant to close its doors.
Arctic Refuge Saved from Destruction
In a late 2005 move to push through a provision for controversial oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) attached a provision to a must-pass defense spending bill that provided money for troops in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and avian flu research. Thankfully, Stevens and his fellow supporters lost out after the measure fell four votes short of the required 60 votes needed to end the filibuster and force action. Following the defeat, Senate leaders reworked the legislation without the ANWR drilling provision.
Stevens has fought for drilling in the refuge for many years, and he is unlikely to give up now. However, Congress is clearly taking notice of America’s cries to protect the last great arctic wilderness from drilling, and the refuge seems safe for now.