Questions Sparked about a $55 million provision for USDA inspectors

Los Angeles, Mar 26, 2013, (Updated 03-28-13)
Last week Congress passed a provision in a bill to allow the USDA to transfer $55 million to meat inspectors from other, undetermined areas of its budget. The provision will end the need for USDA inspector furloughs in slaughterhouses, but what does this mean with regard to horse slaughter?

Just last week while speaking with reporters, Secretary Vilsack called on Congress to come up with
alternatives to horse slaughter, but what steps is Secretary Vilsack taking within the USDA to curb its zealous push to reopen horse slaughter plants in the US?

What will stop Congress from funding horse slaughter inside the US? 

USDA inspections must take place on site at each U.S. slaughterhouse in order for its meat product to be legally available for interstate commerce. Prior to 2006, USDA spent approximately $5 million annually for inspections at U.S. based horse slaughter plants.  

The former ban on the spending of taxpayer dollars for USDA inspections of horse slaughter, had helped to keep foreign special interests from slaughtering our horses inside the U.S. The  inclusion of the defunding language in the appropriations bill was however quietly stripped in Nov 2011, by Senators Blunt, Kohl and Congressman Kingston, leaving America's horses virtually unprotected.

The bill sat idle through 2012 and in January 2013 the House simply carried over the existing language - therefore the 2013 bill does NOT include the defunding clause. This bill was passed by the Senate on Mar 21, 2013, presented to President Obama on March 22, 2013, and signed by President Obama today, March 26, 2013. 

Proponents of slaughter argue that it would be better to slaughter horses in the U.S. where we can supposedly insure their humane treatment.  But numerous governmental reports and undercover investigations show that USDA inspections fail to stop insidious abuses from taking place inside our slaughterhouses. Substantial documented evidence reveals egregious violations and a total lack of enforcement by the USDA in U.S. horse slaughterhouses before they were shut down in 2007. If horse slaughter plants are reopened in the U.S., horses will undoubtedly suffer torturous agony on U.S. soil again.  

As revealed in the new PSA series from WFLF, "International Health Alert" and "Duped", the U.S. horse slaughter cover-up puts people and horses in harm's way.
In the absence of a federal ban, over 100,000 American horses are shipped across federal borders to slaughter plants in Mexico and Canada each year and from there the horse meat is shipped primarily to the EU. America’s horses are treated with many substances known to be toxic to humans; substances that can be lethal when ingested by humans, and many of which have been banned from the human food chain in most countries.  Evidence of health hazards surfacing amidst the international horse meat scandal has resulted in several major companies, including Tesco, NestlĂ© and Ikea, pulling food from grocery shelves in 16 countries after tests showed beef products actually contained up to 100% horse meat.  

What you can do: 

Support the protection of America's horses from the barbaric cruelty of slaughter...  Contact your U.S. senators and representatives in Washington, D.C., today to ask them to cosponsor the SAFE Act. The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act is pending bill that if passed would ban horse slaughter in the U.S. as well as shipping horses to other countries to be slaughtered for human consumption. This bipartisan legislation, if passed will protect people and horses and would end the possibility of U.S. horse slaughter once and for all.