On Friday, Oct. 28, the U.S. House of Representatives approved by a vote of 318-63 an amendment prohibiting the use of federal funds for USDA horse meat inspections. That amendment was added to the $100-billion federal appropriations bill. If passed, the amendment is designed to halt horse slaughter in the United States. The House vote came just two days after congressional committees inserted a 120-day phase-in provision to the amendment. The bill is expected to pass in the Senate this week before going to the president for his signature.
Representatives John Sweeney (R-N.Y.) and Edward Whitfield (R-Ky.), who originally sponsored the amendment, voted against the bill when it was presented in the House for the final time. Both representatives believed last-minute changes and vague language would undermine its effectiveness.
Based on the 2004 USDA figures, approximately 80,000 horses were slaughtered in the United States or shipped to meat processing plants in Canada or Mexico in 2004. Only two states, Texas and Illinois, currently slaughter horses for human consumption. Sweeney and Whitfield said they will push for a separate bill (H.R. 503) that prohibits the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donating of horses to be slaughtered for human consumption. Progression of H.R. 2744 can be followed at https://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app06.html.