The Equine Welfare Allince, has learned that Mr. Douglas A. Glenn, Director, Office of Financial Management, Department of the Interior,has notified his department in
a letter dated 22 February, that the GAO (Government Accountability Office) has been tasked to study any changes in the state of equine welfare in the US from 2010 to the present.
The request to the GAO was made by the Chair of the House Agriculture Committee and the Chair of House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration. Attached to the letter was a statement of the scope of the work to be performed, including addressing four questions:
1. What is known about changes and trends in the U.S. horse market since 2010?
2. What impact, if any, has the prohibition on USDA funding for horse slaughter inspection had on horse welfare and on states, local governments and Indian tribes?
3.What is known about the number of abandoned and unwanted horses in the U.S. and
associated environmental impacts?
4.What is the current capacity of animal welfare organizations and shelters to accept and care for unwanted and abandoned horses?
The study request clearly marks the first step in a renewed attempt to lift a ban on the funding for the ante-mortem inspection of slaughter horses. The funding provision is in the annual budget,and thus must be reintroduced whenever a new budget is adopted. Without inspections,it has been illegal to slaughter horses for human consumption
off and on since 2007. The request is essentially identical to a GAO study made at the request of Roy Blunt (R-MO), Herb Kohl (R-WI), and Jack Kingston (R-GA) in 2009.