Anne M. Eberhardt

Ag Appropriations Bill Impacts Horse Industry

A Senate committee May 22 approved language related to equine health.

The United States Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a fiscal year 2015 agriculture appropriations bill that impacts the horse industry, the American Horse Council reported May 28.

The measure, which passed the committee May 22, must win approval from the full Senate. It covers the period from Oct. 1, 2014-Sept. 30, 2015.

The AHC said the legislation would provide $872.4 million for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which falls under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is charged with protecting and promoting agricultural health, including responding to contagious equine disease outbreaks. Equine and related health programs would get about $19.6 million, a slight increase from the current fiscal year.

Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina were successful in getting an amendment passed that would prohibit funding for USDA inspections at horse slaughter facilities in the U.S. The prohibition would prevent horse slaughter facilities from operating in the U.S; the current prohibition on funding expires Sept. 30.

Though the funding prohibition was removed in 2012, no horse slaughter facilities operated in the U.S., the AHC said.

The agriculture appropriations bill also provides $705,000 for enforcement of the Horse Protection Act, an $8,000 increase over fiscal year 2014.