Animal Care Update: Virginia Farm Bureau pleased with horse processing legislation

Hello everyone! My name is Lindsay Reames, and animal care is one of the issues I cover for Virginia Farm Bureau.

Many Virginia farmers were pleased with recent legislation that eliminates a major hurdle for horse processing. H.R. 2112, contained in the 2012 federal appropriations bill, was signed into law by President Obama in late November.

In 2009, a law passed prohibiting the funding of a USDA inspector at horse processing plants, essentially shutting down horse processing plants. That law ended humane horse processing in this country, causing many horses to endure long trips to slaughter plants in Canada or Mexico. A recent Government Accounting Office Report confirmed that many horses were being neglected and abandoned because of the shuttering of U.S. plants. Horse rescues were getting full and unable to care of additional animals.

During the two-year funding void, there was little or no option for horse owners. The economic downturn resulted in many horses being abandoned or left with owners who could no longer afford to care for them.

Virginia farmers take excellent care of their livestock, including their horses. Without any domestic horse processing facilities, many horses needlessly suffered. By passing H.R. 2112, horse owners will be able to humanely dispose of their animals.

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