GAO slaughter report stirs controversy

By September 7, 2011

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) in June issued a report on the economic of horse welfare that is generating controversy among predictably partisan lines: organizations supported by breeders, veterinarians and other commercial interests have endorsed the 69-page study, Horse Welfare: Action Needed to Address Unintended Consequences from Cessation of Domestic Slaughter; animal welfare groups are critical of the report’s conclusions, citing a reliance on anecdotal material and a lack of data.

The federal government’s closure of the last three U.S. horse slaughter plants in 2009 triggered an ongoing battle between proponents of equine meat processing and horse advocates.

As opposed to being outlawed outright, horse slaughter has undergone a sort of enforced obsolescence in the U.S. The only thing preventing it is policy language that, in order to remain in effect, must be approved annually as part of the appropriations bill.

The Equine Welfare Alliance teamed with the Animal Law Coalition to issue a 31-page rebuttal to the government report,  An Analysis of the GAO Report on Horse Welfare: Disturbing Omissions and Cover-Up.

The Equestrian News plans to undertake its own analysis and research of the report in an effort to present both sides of the issue. While that initiative is underway we are providing links to the relevant documents for readers who wish to undertake their own evaluation.

To learn more about the GAO, the EWA and the ALC, visit their websites.

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