A strong and vocal lobbying effort from the equine industry has prevented a potential wreck in the Fiscal 2008 USDA funding bill.
When the bill was reported out of the House Appropriations Committee in early August, it included language that was intended to apply to slaughter horses. But the provision was so broadly drafted that it would have applied to all horses and been disastrous for the horse industry, reports the Missouri Equine Council.
Section 738 of the bill would have prohibited USDA's Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service from carrying out all horse health monitoring and regulatory work, as well as prohibited the inspection required to import or export a horse. Horses are transported, imported and exported for many purposes, including racing, showing, sales and breeding.
"Fortunately, this provision was removed before the House gave final approval to the USDA appropriations bill," reports MEC and the American Horse Council. "The import, export, international and national movement of horses under USDA supervision and oversight will continue as it is done now. This was accomplished because organizations and individuals from numerous segments of the industry contacted House members raising the issue and their concerns."
Slaughter provision stays
What remains the same in the House bill is the provision to cut off funding for USDA activities related to the slaughter of horses. This provision is similar to the one that was included in the USDA appropriations bill passed in the last Congress, according to AHC. Since the amendment is part of an appropriations bill, the funding ban, if it is also passed by the Senate, will last for Fiscal Year 2008, which extends from Oct. 1, 2007 through Sept. 30, 2008.
For more information visit www.mo-equine.org or call 800-313-3327.