against the will of congress and the people it represents...
Excerpt from the Christian Science Monitor...
"...Overwhelmingly supported by the letter writers - and, as it turned out, Congress - the year-long ban gave animal activists one of their biggest victories in more than a decade and hope that a permanent ban was imminent.
But now, as implementation of the ban nears, the USDA has said it will allow horse slaughter to continue, in what opponents say is a blatant end run around the intent of Congress.
Each year, tens of thousands of horses are slaughtered here and sent to the tables of Europe and Japan, where the leaner meat is considered a delicacy.
In 2005, some 85,000 horses were killed at three US slaughterhouses, two of which are in Texas.
The measure signed into law in November by President Bush bars the USDA from paying for inspections of horses before slaughter, starting March 10.
The idea, say supporters, was to force plants to shut down because federal law requires all livestock to be inspected before slaughter.
But the three foreign-owned slaughterhouses say they will pay the inspectors' salaries under a 'fee for service' arrangement, similar to the system used for elk and other exotic animals.
The USDA has agreed to allow the $4 million industry to continue under this arrangement. In a letter to members of Congress in late December, its deputy general counsel, James Michael Kelly, wrote that the amendment 'does not prevent horse slaughter at all.'
That angered many in Congress, and earlier this month, 40 members of the House and Senate wrote Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, demanding that inspections of the horses stop.
'The agency must cease inspection of horses for slaughter. Failure to do so constitutes willful disregard of clear Congressional intent on the part of the USDA,' the letter warned. 'The agency has absolutely no authority to circumvent a Congressional mandate and effectively rewrite an unambiguous law at the request of the horse-slaughter industry...'"