On Wednesday, House Republicans blocked an amendment to a spending bill that would have made it impossible to operate horse processing facilities in the United States. The U.S. Appropriations Committee denied the amendment after careful consideration, and unless Congress takes any other actions against it, these facilities will again be legal in the Fall.
Representative Sam Farr, a Democrat from California, introduced the bill prohibiting inspection of horse processing facilities. Without regular inspections, they would not be able to operate legally. Thus, this bill would essentially ban these facilities without actually having to explicitly ban them.
Rep. Farr possibly introduced this bill at the behest of Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), as he has taken campaign donations from the animal rights organization in the past. HSUS has gone to great measures to fight against these facilities despite their obvious benefits to both our society and wild horses themselves, who often die of starvation from lack of natural predators and lack of resources. You can revisit our American Horse Crisis series to gain a better understanding of the benefits of curbing the wild horse population’s growth and why the closure of wild horse processing facilities has become a burden for both human and animal alike.
Nevertheless, this move paves the way for a humane end to wild horse lives, instead of allowing them to suffer through painful starvation. Meanwhile, it would serve other important purposes – such as protecting vital lands and habitats that these horses graze on and destroy, and providing an additional food source for the population (remember: horses owned by U.S. citizens are both traditionally and legally considered livestock, so their meat would be no different from other livestock).
It would seem that many legislators who once sided with HSUS on this wild horse issue are now reversing course. Perhaps they have seen the error of closing these facilities and problems that have arisen from allowing the wild horse population to go unchecked for so long.
Whatever their reasons, we commend them for their efforts in making the best possible decision for both human and animal in this instance.