Another Reason to Oppose Horse Slaughter
The Bush Administration, via the Department of Agriculture, now has gone on record as saying that it opposes H.R. 503, the pending bill that would ban the domestic slaughter of horses for human consumption overseas. One day before a scheduled vote on the measure, the USDA told House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Kansas) what he wanted to hear-- that the USDA believes the legislation will make horses worse off, not better off, than they are now.
That's not a credible argument for many reasons, not the least of which is that under the USDA's industry-cozy watch foreign-owned slaughterhouses have been allowed to use barbaric tactics to slaughter horses before shipping them overseas for human consumption. These procedures involve the vivesection of horses (cutting them up while they are still alive) and other unspeakable acts of cruelty. The USDA now has the gall in its knee-bending, pre-vote exercise to Congress to cite its "stringent restrictions" upon the slaughterhouses that in the USDA's view makes horse slaughter a "safe and humane practice" in the United States. Trust me, if horse slaughter were a "safe and humane practice" in this country millions of people wouldn't be revolted by it. Look at this video and tell me the industry is well-regulated and concerned with the welfare of horses. If the USDA were doing its job perhaps Congressional intervention wouldn't be as necessary as it is today.
The folks who run the USDA are to the horse industry what the Energy Department is to Big Oil-- a government agency that exists mostly to do what the industry it is supposed to regulate wants it to do and tells it to do, which is mostly to back off and let things stay as profitable as possible regardless of the ethical or moral consequences. When the Congress earlier this year expressed its distaste for horse slaughter by cutting off federal funding for USDA inspectors-- no inspections, no horsemeat can be transferred across borders-- the USDA shills allowed the industry to police itself by paying for its own inspectors-- a tactic tantamount to the bank robbers being authorized to pay the cops to oversee security at the bank.
Whatever happens today and in the future with the American Horse Slaughter Protection Act, I hope that the publicity the legislation has generated brings both heat and light upon the USDA's unforgivable role in permitting the gruesome horse slaughter industry to thrive, heavily-subsidized, in a country that does not accept the human consumption of horsemeat. The USDA told Congress Wednesday that the pending measure would leave horses in peril. They already are-- thanks to the USDA.
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