WASHINGTON — Two Oklahoma lawmakers are complaining that the $1.1 trillion bill to fund the federal government through September would once again ban domestic horse slaughter.
Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville, and Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, said the provision that effectively reinstates the ban was an attack on the horse processing industry.
However, there is no horse processing industry in the United States.
Beginning in 2006, Congress effectively shut down what was left of the industry by prohibiting the U.S. Department of Agriculture from funding inspections of plants that slaughter horses.
That provision was renewed each year until 2011, when lawmakers allowed it to lapse.
Since 2011, applications in a few states for horse slaughter facilities have gotten bogged down by state objections and lawsuits. Oklahoma made it legal last year to slaughter horses in the state, but one potential plant operator dropped his effort to get a license.
The House and Senate last year renewed the ban on inspection funds, and that renewal was included in the bill that cleared the House on Wednesday and the Senate on Thurday.
Mullin, who voted against the House bill, said, “This attack on the horse processing industry is an attack on the entrepreneurial spirit and a prime example of the federal government effectively putting an entire industry out of business.”
Inhofe said, “Without these facilities, aging horses are often neglected or forced to endure cruel conditions as they are transported to processing facilities across the border.”
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, said this week that “Americans do not want to see scarce tax dollars used to oversee an inhumane, disreputable horse slaughter industry.”Inhofe and Mullin plan to offer free-standing legislation to allow domestic horse slaughter; other lawmakers have introduced legislation to impose a permanent ban.