"congress" news and stories
I was happy to learn recently that there is a way to try to help the situation, as there are several members of Congress that are trying to improve the food situation. According to Seasonal Pantry, Representative Diana DeGette has introduced legislation that will improve the traceability of fresh produce. The bill is HR3485 and everyone who cares about food safety should be contacting their representative and asking them to support the bill.
In addition to letting your Congressman know that you want him or her to support HR3485, Seasonal Pantry also has started a petition. If this is something you're interested in, this may be a way for you to walk your talk.
Last fall, Congress passed legislation that ceased federal, tax-generated funding for the inspections of facilities used to slaughter horses for human consumption. Because all facilities must be inspected to operate, this effectively shut them down. They could not pay the inspection fees themselves. While not illegal in the US to eat horse meat, it is a disgusting idea to many diners, so the horse meat produced was typically exported to Japan or European countries, like France, Belgium and Italy.
This week, in response to aggressive lobbying efforts from pro-slaughter groups and the owners of the slaughtering plants, the Department of Agriculture amended its policy, which has essentially reversed the federal spending ban on equine slaughterhouse inspections by allowing the slaughterhouse inspection fees to be paid by the slaughterhouse or a third party. This means that they will once again be open for business. On of the congressional bill's sponsor's, said that the Department of Agriculture was "intent on going against what was very clearly the purpose of passing the amendment ... to end horse slaughter."
While there has been a great deal of controversy in the past over the treatment of horses destined for slaughter, the primary sticking point is whether horses should be considered to be companion animals, like cats and dogs, or livestock, like cows. The majority of people lean towards the former viewpoint, especially because almost all horses in the US are kept for pleasure and recreational purposes. This move on the part of the Department of Agriculture shows the pull of the slaughtering industry's money over both animal activists and popular opinion.
California is the only state to have a law completely banning the slaughter of horses for human consumption.