The National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) has passed a resolution calling for the reinstatement of USDA inspectors for horse meat. The NCSL is a non-governmental lobbyist organization which serves the nation's 50 states legislators to advocate and lobby for the interests of states before Congress and federal agencies.
The resolutions NCSL passes are not binding and merely allow them to lobby on behalf of the states.
Representative Sue Wallis (WY) who is vice chair of the NCSL's Agriculture and Energy Committee, went on record asking that she be allowed to slaughter horses to feed Wyoming children, the poor and prison inmates without having the meat federally inspected for consumer safety. The Wyoming livestock board responded quickly by stating in no uncertain terms that "horse slaughter is not an option."
The Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) strongly opposes the misuse of tax payer dollars to fund inspections for an industry that is not needed or wanted by the overwhelming majority of Americans.
US horses are not raised as food animals and as such, receive numerous substances on a routine basis that are prohibited for use in food animals. Our country does not track horses and has no mechanism to remove horses from the food chain that have received prohibited substances.
Horse owners were vehemently opposed last year at an attempt to implement NAIS, a national tracking system. Considering that less than two percent of the horse population ends up on slaughter trucks and represents only three cents on every $100 earned by the horse industry, the cost of implementing a national tracking system to accommodate an insignificant percentage of horses makes absolutely no fiscal sense.
In the NCSL release, as with most pro horse slaughter communications, there is no mention of the known drug issue in American horses. "It is a travesty that legislators would even consider reinstating inspections knowing that there is no way to guarantee consumer food safety" said EWA's Valerie James-Patton.
A recent survey of horse owners by the publication, The Horse, revealed that 96% of horse owners give their horses at least one of the banned substances on a regular basis. A peer reviewed scientific study by Drs. Marini, Dodman and Blondeau that was published in the scientific journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology, revealed 100% of the slaughtered Thoroughbreds traced in the study had received the carcinogen phenylbutazone. It should be noted that these tainted horses were shipped to the European Union for human consumption while the USDA was supposedly inspecting the horse meat. Another study in CA of Thoroughbreds revealed a 99% usage.
"Instead of wasting valuable legislator's time on this nonsense," commented EWA's Vicki Tobin, "a better use of time and donations by these pro horse slaughter groups would be to address why excess horses continue to be produced every year and start working on solutions. Continuing to slaughter the victims of irresponsible breeders and owners, is only going to perpetuate the problem, not correct it."