GAO report 11-228 is titled HORSE WELFARE Action Needed to Address Unintended Consequences from Cessation of Domestic Slaughter. It was issued in June of 2011.
This document has been the main claim to legitimacy of those who wish to bring horse slaughter back to the United States. It has been quoted by the national press, and referenced in virtually every political debate on the issue. It was even sighted as evidence in Valley Meats vs. the United States Department of Agriculture, and countless other documents.
But GAO-11-228 is completely devoid of supporting data and is constructed of fraudulent misrepresentation and hocus-pocus analysis stuck together with the unsubstantiated opinions of anonymous “officials”.
The report has been widely criticized since its release, but only recently has data surfaced to prove it is, in fact, fraudulent and intentionally designed to deceive Congress. The report’s inaccuracies begin with its title, and by the end of the first page the case for its deceit is sealed.
In 2006, Congress passed the agriculture budget with the “Ensign/Byrd” amendment that removed the funding for horse slaughter inspectors. The defunding was delayed by a conference committee until March, 2007, and then by court challenges. By the time the defunding was in place, all the US plants had already been shut down by state laws, but the defunding assured no new plants would open in the US.
In January of 2011, six months before the report was released, Charles Stenholm of the horse slaughter lobby firm Olsson, Frank and Weeda announced to a pro-slaughter conference in Las Vegas that the report would be favorable to them. This leak was first acknowledged and then refuted by the GAO.
In June, 2011 the report was finally issued and within months it had the desired impact. The Senate did not include the defunding language in its version of the agriculture budget. Since the House did have such language (the Moran Amendment), the matter was decided in conference committee. The vote was 3 to 1 in favor of stripping the language and restoring funding for inspectors. The three members voting to strip it were Senators Kohl and Blunt, and Representative Kingstoni. These were the very individuals who had requested the report!
By: John Holland, Equine Welfare Alliance
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