A federal appropriations bill for fiscal 2016 includes a provision that forbids the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from using its funding to pay personnel for horsemeat inspections at horse processing plants in the United States. The so-called “Omnibus Bill” details funding for federal departments, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and subsequently the FDA. Defunding the USDA’s horsemeat inspections prohibits the establishment of horse processing plants in the United States, because no federal horsemeat inspections can take place.
Prior to 2007, USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA/FSIS) personnel carried out horsemeat inspections at U.S. horse processing plants. That same year, Congress voted to strip USDA of funds required to pay personnel conducting federal horsemeat inspections at the last two domestic equine processing plants operating in Illinois and Texas. The combination of legislation and local court rulings later closed both of those plants.
Federal funding bills continued to include language denying the USDA of funding for horsemeat inspections until 2011, when Congress passed and the president signed a 2012 appropriations bill that failed to contain language specifically forbidding the USDA from using federal dollars to fund horse-slaughter-plant inspections. Shortly after that bill became law, horse processing plants were proposed in several states, but were never established.
The horsemeat inspection funding denial returned in subsequent allocations bills, including the Omnibus Bill for fiscal 2016. U.S. House Appropriations Committee Cha