Thursday, June 23, 2011

Horse Meat

The GAO, the stylized General Accountability Office, has issued a report on horse meat, and in particular on the slaughter of horses for horse meat.  The report can be found here.

The United States Congress banned the use of federal monies to provide inspection of horse meat transportation and slaughter back in 2006, but slaughter went on, because the plants paid for it themselves, as part of the cost of doing business.  Then the Texas and Illinois State Legislatures (the two states which then had slaughter houses) banned such activity.  Thus, the work went to Canada and Mexico and the meat goes to Europe and Asia.

As with most things, there are two views.  One is that we should not be slaughtering our domestic horses, which we love.  The other view is that lots of people like horse meat and horses are livestock.

Here is the "Highlight Sheet".
Since domestic horse slaughter ceased in 2007, the slaughter horse market has shifted to Canada and Mexico.  From 2006 through 2010, U.S. horse exports for slaughter increased by 148 and 660 percent to Canada and Mexico, respectively.  As a result, nearly the same number of U.S. horses was transported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter in 2010—nearly 138,000—as was slaughtered before domestic slaughter ceased.  Available data show that horse prices declined since 2007, mainly for the lower-priced horses that are more likely to be bought for slaughter.  GAO analysis of horse sale data estimates that closing domestic horse slaughtering facilities significantly and negatively affected lower-to-medium priced horses by 8 to 21 percent; higher- priced horses appear not to have lost value for that reason.  Also, GAO estimates the economic downturn reduced prices for all horses by 4 to 5 percent.
It appears that the slaughter of horses has not ceased, although the continuing slaughter of American jobs has.

One of the things I liked about this report is that the GAO owned up to Unintended Consequences.  The title of the report was "Horse Welfare:  Action Needed to Address Unintended Consequences from Cessation of Domestic Slaughter".

One wonders, if as a consequence of future Congressional or State action to stop the export of horses, we will find the horse population mushrooming and giving us new "Unintended Consequences".  I expect.  And, it will result in new legislation to fix the problem.  Does anyone remember the little old lady who swallowed a fly?

Oh.  Yes.  Something we CAN fix.  Everyone should contact their Congresspersons and point out that they, the US Congress, is THE Government Accountability Office.  The GAO needs to go back to being the Government Accounting Office.  And the US Congress needs to get to work on being the Government Accountability Office.

Regards  —  Cliff

1 comment:

lance said...

Does Nanny Government extend to horses too and what we name bureaucratic offices? Lets do away with GAO under any name and just increase the size of Congressional committee staffs. And why would we be regulating horse slaughter?