On July 16, 2015, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY2016 Agriculture Appropriations bill. This bill provides funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the 2016 fiscal year (October 1, 2015, through September 30, 2016). An amendment was adopted by the committee during mark-up of the bill that would prohibit funding for USDA inspections at U.S. horse slaughter facilities.
During full committee mark-up of the bill Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) offered an amendment to prohibit funding for USDA inspections at U.S. horse slaughter facilities. Such a prohibition would prevent horse slaughter facilities from operating in the U.S. This amendment passed by a voice vote.
A similar amendment was offered by Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA) when the House Appropriation Committee marked-up the House version of the bill on July 8. That amendment was defeated in a 24-24 vote.
Because this amendment is not in both the House and Senate versions of the bill, its inclusion in any final bill that is eventually passed will be determined during a Conference Committee that will reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.
Currently, no horse slaughter facilities are operating in the U.S and a prohibition on funding for inspectors at such facilities from last year’s FY 2015 USDA bill remains in effect until September 30, 2015. If that prohibition expires, USDA will be required to provide inspectors and horse slaughter facilities if any were to open.
Both the full Senate and House must now debate and approve their respective versions of the bill.