The Livestock Marketing Association has told the U.S. Department of Agriculture that the agency's proposed new rule on transporting horses sets up "an unauthorized administrative and enforcement nightmare for the equine industry and livestock markets." The rule would expand the current ban on using double-decker trucks to transport horses to slaughter, to banning their use to transport horses to intermediate points, such as a stockyard, feedlot or assembly point, before arriving at a slaughter plant.
USDA has no clear-cut authority to regulate equine "that are not going directly to slaughter," and thus is erroneously trying to expand the scope of current regulations, LMA said in comments dated Jan. 7. As the agency well knows, horses sold at auction markets "are sold for a number of different purposes(and) any attempt to manage or limit the trucking of horses to and from auction markets or other intermediate delivery points, in anticipation (of) but without full realization of what use they will eventually be put to, either before or after the sale, is without merit and goes beyond the scope of the law," LMA wrote.
Almost as troubling as the unwarranted expansion of current regulations is USDA's admission they have little or no "hard numbers" on the degree to which double-decker trucks are currently being used to move slaughter horses to intermediate assembly points, LMA wrote.