ASPCA Commends U.S. House for Including Animal Welfare Provisions in FY2020 Spending Bill

FY2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill includes DeLauro-Price Amendment to delay dangerous rule on pig slaughter, as well as critical language to protect horses, dogs, and other pets
June 4, 2019

WASHINGTON– The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commends the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee for approving critical animal welfare provisions in the FY2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill including an important amendment offered by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and David Price (D-NC).

The DeLauro-Price Amendment prevents the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from implementing its dangerous New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS) until the airing and resolution of many defects. The NSIS would give the pig processing industry free rein that will certainly lead to severe violations of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act – one of the only federal laws protecting farm animals from cruelty. Under already-breakneck slaughter speeds, animal welfare records at plants are abysmal, revealing abusive handling and botched slaughter practices. The amendment blocks funding for implementation of the rule until the Office of Inspector General (OIG) has provided findings on concerns over supporting data and design flaws to the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) as well as both House and Senate Appropriations Committees. It also mandates that FSIS fully address and resolve those issues raised by the OIG in order for the rule to receive funding. Removing all speed limits for pig slaughter lines is inherently reckless and once the OIG airs its concerns, the victory today should lead to the withdrawal of this flawed rule should the Senate include this language.

“The ASPCA is grateful for Representatives DeLauro and Price’s decisive action to address the significant and devastating consequences the USDA’s effort to remove all speed limits for pig slaughter will have on animals and workers throughout the pig slaughter system and, ultimately, consumers’ safety,” said Suzanne McMillan, Content Director, ASPCA Farm Animal Welfare Department. “Any day that includes a delay in this rule is a better day for pigs. The ASPCA supports further steps to thwart this rule through legislation or independent action by USDA. The agency should see the writing on the wall and drop NSIS and recommit itself to independent oversight of the pig industry.”

Rep. DeLauro said: “The Administration’s proposed rule is an attempt to give multinational meat processors more authority and control over the health and safety conditions in their own plants, and it transfers vital inspection duties currently performed by USDA Inspectors, to company employees — “company-based inspection.” If this rule is finalized, I believe it will endanger food safety inspections, workers, consumers and animal welfare. The proposed rule removes all limitations on line speeds in hog slaughter plants, which will endanger the health and safety of tens of thousands of workers in meatpacking plants. Unlimited line speeds also negatively impact humane animal handling and the ability to maintain food safety safeguards. That is why I believe we need to have the Inspector General take a serious look at the underlying data USDA used in crafting this rule.”

Rep. Price said: “As a representative from the second largest pork producing state, I know a safe and productive pork industry is in everyone’s best interest. That’s why I advocated for an amendment to prevent the Trump administration’s dangerous proposed swine inspection rule. This rule is deeply flawed, and the USDA has failed to follow proper process in issuing it. Increasing line speeds may increase corporate profits, but it will do so at the expense of worker safety, public safety, and the humane treatment of animals. I’m pleased this amendment was adopted, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to see it enacted into law.”

The House Appropriations Committee passed the DeLauro-Price amendment on a voice vote after strong speeches in its favor by its authors as well as Chairman Bishop.

The FY2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill also contains other major victories for animals, including:

  • Requirement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) repost all Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and Horse Protection Act (HPA) inspection and enforcement reports that were formerly available on its website, and post new reports going forward.
  • Prohibition on funding for the operation of horse slaughterhouses in the U.S.
  • Increased funding to enforce the HPA, a law aimed at preventing the cruel practice of “soring,” the use of painful chemicals and devices to inflict pain in horses to compel an exaggerated, high-stepping gait.
  • New funding to implement the PAWS Act, helping domestic violence victims and their pets.

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