2014 Fiscal Bill Could Defund USDA Horsemeat Inspections

If passed, the proposed legislation would once again strip the USDA of funding for horsemeat inspections.

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Horse processing in the United States could stop again even before it begins if both houses of Congress pass a comprehensive funding bill that deprives the USDA of funds to carry out horsemeat inspections.

Prior to 2007, USDA personnel carried out horsemeat inspections at U.S. horse processing plants. In 2007, Congress voted to strip the USDA of funding required to pay personnel conducting such inspections at the last two operational domestic equine processing plants.

Federal funding bills continued denying the USDA funding for horsemeat inspections until 2011. At that point, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed an appropriations bill that didn’t contain language specifically forbidding the USDA from using federal dollars to fund horsemeat inspections. After that bill became law, horse processing plants were proposed in New Mexico and Missouri.

On Jan. 13, as those plants remain pending, U.S. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Hal Rogers and U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski announced the release of their fiscal year 2014 consolidated appropriations bill. Called the "Omnibus Bill of 2014," the proposed legislation once again strips the USDA of funding for horsemeat inspections

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Written by:

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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