2/8/06: USDA shows total disregard for the law!
The slaughterhouses—two in Texas and one in Illinois—kill a combined total of 70,000 to 90,000 horses each year and sell the meat overseas as a delicacy and in the U.S. as food for zoo animals.
The USDA's decision has angered politicians and animal-welfare activists, who say it runs counter to a measure signed into U.S. law last November.
The law removes funding for federal inspections at horse-processing plants beginning next month. It was supposed to force slaughterhouses to shut down, since federal regulations require the inspections.
Instead the USDA is allowing the slaughterhouses to pay the agency's estimated U.S. $350,000 annual horse-plant inspection costs under a program established for processing exotic meats, like deer, bison, and rabbit.
The agency says that the funding cuts do not remove its responsibility for inspecting meat processed at officially recognized facilities to ensure public health.
Please go to the USDA website, go to "contact us" and email or phone the secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns at once and let him know you are angered by the USDA totally ignoring the laws we worked so hard to put into effect in 2005. Then contact your local lawmakers to get involved.
We have to stop this NOW!