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Politics

Diaz-Balart Made Backroom Deal in Favor of Horse Slaughter, Insiders Say

July 13, 2017 - 12:45pm
Mario Diaz-Balart
Mario Diaz-Balart

Florida Republican congressman Mario Diaz-Balart turned heads Wednesday when he voted in favor of allowing horse slaughter in the United States, voting against his fellow Florida congressmen in what appears to have been a vote deal made behind closed doors with several southern Republican lawmakers.

Diaz-Balart’s vote was one of two to sway the measure in the opposite direction in the Appropriations Committee vote. 

Every vote mattered in the end, with the bill passing with 25 voting against repealing the ban and 27 in favor.

Horse slaughter hasn’t always been permitted in the U.S. In fact, it was banned in 2007 when Congress eliminated the funding for inspection of facilities carrying out horse slaughter.

The issue has repeatedly come up for votes and Diaz-Balart raised eyebrows with Wednesday's vote since he was initially against horse slaughter, voting for the ban in 2014. Diaz-Balart then began to vote in favor of horse slaughter in 2015, but some say he was swayed by other enticements this vote.

It appears the South Florida congressman changed his tune beginning in 2015, saying “yes” to a measure which could send thousands of horses to the slaughterhouse.

When asked why he supported the ban and if was planning on switching his vote, Diaz-Balart acknowledged he would vote “no” on the measure.

Diaz-Balart told the Miami Herald he didn’t think it mattered much since horses were sent to slaughter anyway in a much less compassionate way in other parts of the world. 

“The reality is, if these horses are not dealt with in USDA certified and inspected facilities, they will be hauled off to a foreign market where the conditions are much crueler and less humane,” Díaz-Balart said.

Diaz-Balart’s vote goes against several Florida congressmen who have heavily favored banning the practice of horse slaughter.

But sources close to the legislative process told Sunshine State News Diaz-Balart’s change of heart didn’t have to do with simply realizing horse slaughter would happen anyway, but was actually part of a backroom deal hammered out for his own political gain.

It’s unclear, however, what, exactly, Diaz-Balart received in return for switching his vote. 

Diaz-Balart went rogue in his vote. The other two Florida members of the committee, Tom Rooney, R-Fla., and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., both voted in favor of the ban.

Wasserman Schultz was appalled members would use a nationwide population-control argument to support horse slaughter.

 “The inability to deal with that challenge does not make it OK to leave the door open for the possibility of horse slaughter in the United States of America,” she  said.

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., has frequently led the charge against the practice, passionately railing against horse slaughter since taking office in 2006. 

Buchanan came out swinging against the Bureau of Land Management’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board’s recommendation to exterminate 45,000 horses last October, calling horse slaughter “disgraceful.”

“The department needs to permanently reject the monstrous and unacceptable recommendations of its advisory board,” Buchanan said.  

Insiders say Diaz-Balart hashed out some sort of negotiation with U.S. Reps. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., Hal Rogers, R-Ky., and Adrian Smith, R-Neb., in exchange for other votes, contributions or political power.

Calls to the congressmen’s offices were not immediately returned. 

Diaz-Balart denied any sort of political agreement Thursday morning. 

 "He did not make a deal of any kind," Diaz-Balart spokeswoman Katrina Valdes told Sunshine State News. "He has been consistent on his vote for this amendment."

Insiders with knowledge of the legislation said they were directly told the four other congressmen “didn’t make attempts to hide” the fact that they were directly influencing other members to vote in favor of horse slaughter.

Animal rights groups lambasted the vote, both for humane purposes and for betraying conservative values. 

“As a lifelong Republican, I’m deeply saddened and quite ashamed to see my fellow conservatives go to such great lengths to promote the slaughter of American equines,” said Marty Irby, head of the Humane Society of the United States’ equine campaign. “I hope the members who profess to be fiscal conservatives will reflect upon this vote that would have saved millions of taxpayer dollars annually -- and begin to practice what they preach.” 

The House's vote will become law pending President Donald Trump’s approval.

 

Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.

 

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Comments

It's Republicans like Mullin and get their act together and pass meaningful legislation. Quit collecting taxpayer paychecks (yes, mullin we do in fact pay it) and repeal obamacare!

Markwayne Mullin is an embarrassment to this country. He doesn't care about anyone but himself. Just look youtube when he had the audacity to yell at senior citizens during a townhall telling them bullcrap, he pays his own salary. Vote this bum out.

What sources? What deal? Pretty sloppy journalism.

Follow the money--that's always the case with these crooked politicians.

A good litmus test for any politician is if they support horse slaughter. Only a crooked sell out will. Oklahoma knows all too well how crooked law makers can be. Mark Mullins is an example - he gave a felon a gun btw and funny, no charges ever filed. He is the same trashy, greedy sludge as Cole, Inhofe and Lucas. There is no such thing as humane slaughter, and these slimebags don't care about tainted, drug laden meat in the beef supply either, you can bet its in there. They removed labels of origin on meat for a reason. The beef industry and greedy over breeders are padding their pockets to keep trying to bring slaughter back to the USA. It is the same horrific atrocity here as it is elsewhere . Dont kid yourself that anything humane happens in a slaughterhouse, especially for horses. It has nothing to do with neglected horses either, that lie is a joke. It is a predatory MEAT market and healthy young horses are the ones killed . What a joke that these ill bred , corrupt, bloodsuckers stand there and lie about the horses shipping to slaughter . EVERY ONE of them could support the SAFE ACT to stop that very thing. LIARS and shills for the beef industry. EVERY single person who cares about horses should stop buying beef and leather - demand the triple subsidies that the meat and dairy industries enjoy and cripple the beef industry. They are the ones who are behind horse slaughter. I know I don't fund the enemy - do you ? 80 % of Americans are against horse slaughter - shame on every lousy member who voted for it.

Standing ovation to you Tracey! Perfectly stated!

They had enormous lists of violations including illegal dumping of horse blood via tankers in unknowing farmers fields at night, they were a State of the Art facility and they were violating constantly all the standards the USDA had for abuse. Violated. They were so bad they forced closure. INSIDE THE U.S. horses 49 found dead on killer buyers property Google it. The guy had 100 starving and not enough hay bales or water. They had another dumping carcasses in ravines in Carolina, another killed a puppy by slitting it's throat to prove a point later they found dead horses and horrific conditions. Trailer fire in New York where 30 plus horses burned Ali e in the killer buyers hauler because he didn't want to turn them loose and have to chase them. Killers dumping horses rejected at Mexico plant to fend for themselves or die in the desert. Verified by Border patrol. Hundreds of trailer accidents involving killer buyers some drivers no CDLs still drivinv. Trailer broke in half on highway horses I hired no veterinary care given. Later busted for abuse, lying to cops. Forged affidavit of health in the thousands. The USDA constantly fining 5 separate plants which all closed prior to 2006. Dead horses and parts laying everywhere. We experienced it first hand. DIAZ there is no such thing as humane in the USA. They gouge horses eyes out and starve them to death AT THE KILLER BUYERS PROPERTIES. They are in constant violation everywhere. There's no actual humane horse slaughter. Call his office and tell him he voted for these killers including the guy with 49 dead horses piled on his land and he's a killer buyer DIAZ chose to side with this vote. There is no humane U.S. slaughter. Dekalb was abusive, violent, constantly Violating the USDA inspections. THE PRO SLAUGHTER PEOPLE THAT CALLED HIM LIED TO CHANGE HIS VOTE.

Horses are slaughtered outside the USA cruelly? Yet for 10 years these same whiners hauled them there. So DIAZ hooks his wagon to a supposed USDA sanctioned welfare story of roses and pinwheels? I live in Illinois we had a USDA inspected plant where literally thousands of horses died that were stolen from loving homes while people worked or slept. We witnessed brutality when they punched my grandfather who was saving 5 horses who they were getting ready to kill in that plant in dekalb.

Horses are slaughtered outside the USA cruelly? Yet for 10 years these same whiners hauled them there. So DIAZ hooks his wagon to a supposed USDA sanctioned welfare story of roses and pinwheels? I live in Illinois we had a USDA inspected plant where literally thousands of horses died that were stolen from loving homes while people worked or slept. We witnessed brutality when they punched my grandfather who was saving 5 horses who they were getting ready to kill in that plant in dekalb.

May he die the same LONG and torturous death as he condemned the innocent creatures of GOD, to die. What a hateful amoral man.

There is big money in selling cattle and sheep ... Especially cattle and sheep you can graze on PUBLIC LAND so you don't have to buy feed. Wild horses and burros eat the browse that they want for cattle and sheep. It would be very PROFITABLE for the cattle and sheepmen to have all OUR land to themselves, and totally worth it to BRIBE lawmakers to be horse hitmen.

There is big money in selling cattle and sheep ... Especially cattle and sheep you can graze on PUBLIC LAND so you don't have to buy feed. Wild horses and burros eat the browse that they want for cattle and sheep. It would be very PROFITABLE for the cattle and sheepmen to have all OUR land to themselves, and totally worth it to BRIBE lawmakers to be horse hitmen.

Was his negotiation promising Mullin he wouldn't talk about breaking his promise to constituents??

I wouldn't trust Mullin as far as I could throw him. He's a two-faced christian liar! As far as he's concerned, poor people should be punished for being unfortunate. He's a shame!

The European Union-sanctified horse slaughter plants in Canada and Mexico are no different to the plants that used to be in the U.S. He is either ill-informed, or did cut a backroom deal.

Europe has stopped buying cancer causing horse meat exported from the US and brutally slaughtered in Mexican and Canada; A. due to horrific animal suffering and not following humane slaughter guidelines and B.Cancer causing BUTe in the horseflesh. Eurpoe does not "sanction" Canadian and Mexican horse slaughter plants.

The European Union will not do business with horse slaughter plants in Canada or the U.S. unless the meet their guidelines, which makes their plants no different from what was previously offered in the U.S. Some politicians are not educated about this, so let's educate them. Why open up a U.S. horse slaughter plant that will not be any different from a humane standpoint than the EU-sanctioned plants in Canada or Mexico? The last three horse slaughter plants that were open in the United States were shut down by their states (TX and IL) due to foreign-owned companies paying little taxes, and the huge and unjustified expense of USDA inspections, costing the American taxpaying public $100,000.00 per year.

And cows, and other animals slaughtered daily are treated any differently? What makes a horse so special? The Lassie doctrine?

The Bible prohibits the consumption of animals that do not have a split hoof like a cow or sheep. Horses have a solid hoof. They also have a purpose. They're companion and sport animals. They've been held in high esteem for centuries. Bedouins allowed them to sleep in their tents. Horses allowed us to win the West. Horses are used for dressage, racing, trail riding, show jumping and therapeutic riding for disabled children. They're a fabulous animal. I know. I've owned them. They don't deserve this type of senseless betrayal. And why should we be forced to pay for horse slaughter inspections when so many of us find this unacceptable? We don't eat horses in this country. In fact we cannot safely eat American horses. Since they're not raised as food animals, many are routinely treated with drugs such as Bute - a known carcinogen for people. These drugs clearly say on the label, "NOT TO BE USED FOR ANIMALS INTENDED FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION." Would you like to know how many times my vet administered Bute to my horse? I can't count the times.

What makes a horse so special are many reasons, which include the obvious that horses are built differently than cattle, for example, and that in the past horses have been war heroes. The first thing a horse does when it suspects something is up, is it raises its head. This makes a horse very difficult to kill in a horse slaughter type of setting.

His silk purse as been lined. This uncompassionate Congresstroll needs to be relieved of his meaningless duties not for the people . CLEAN HOUSE.

You wastes of space want to kill every thing. Why are the people of this country allowing this crap to happen? The USA is circling the drain thanks to all the corrupt pos republicans!!

Unfortunately, Diaz-Balart is making excuses to hide behind the same shameless propaganda pushed by the slaughter industry itself. The fact he is actually speaking that propaganda out of his own mouth is appalling and makes his current actions extremely suspect. This excuse he is proffering is the same one the pro-commercial horse slaughter contingent paraded around and over-promoted years ago, made by Ingrid Newkirk of PETA who was ill-educated of details and ignorant of kill box processes on equines at the time. She has since retracted her statement. Visit https://www.peta.org/blog/horse-slaughter-setting-record-straight/ for more information regarding the overused misrepresentation Diaz-Balart is now touting. It has been proven, over many years of this rogue industry limping around in the U.S., there is a very high failure rate of the captive-bolt to correctly stun equines. The biology of horses, their temperaments and the fact their long necks cannot be restrained guarantees these animals will never sync with commercial slaughter in any way that could be referred to legitimately as "humane." These animals literally witness their own vivisections. Wild, untrained and under-trained horses do not let you near their poll for accuracy with the captive-bolt gun nearly 100% of the time. They are the horses that are always cut while conscious, their skulls hit with multiple stuns---in gross violation of the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958. Also, the amount of adrenaline and drugs prohibited for use in animals intended for slaughter makes the horse meat "product" undesirable. No wonder horse ends up fraudulently substituted into other meat products before unscrupulous men will take huge financial losses on large frozen lots of it. Horse meat is a bad industry and always has been. My statements are endorsed by Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM and former Lead Slaughter Inspector/Trainer/Trainer of the Year for the USDA, FSIS. Big Beef is behind the pro-commercial horse slaughter lobby. They figure to use the process of captive-bolt stunning on horses, which is about 100x less effective on the equine species than it is on cattle, to cover up the blatant and vicious violations of the Humane Slaughter Act they commit daily on their lines that move as fast as 400+ cows per hour. If the American public will allow the worst torture imaginable to happen to our beloved National Icon on our own soil, who is going to care about increasing adrenaline levels in the U.S. processed beef supply? *Follow The Money*

Yup. Disgusting. If people would see this process firsthand, and/or have to participate in it, most would never eat meat again.

Euthanasia of horses and slaughter of horses for meat are very different propositions. In my interpretation of the Conservative tenet of individual responsibility, the owner of a horse is responsible for its humane disposition -- euthanasia, sanctuary, adoption. Beating and starving a horse is animal cruelty, an offense of the law in many places in this country. Selling the horse you've abused to a "kill" buyer is like destroying evidence of your crime and getting paid, too.

CALL CONGRESS AND ask the Senate to please ignore the Humane euthanasia on American soil story. It's a pipedream. Plants in the U.S. were in constant violation and still will be.

CALL CONGRESS AND ask the Senate to please ignore the Humane euthanasia on American soil story. It's a pipedream. Plants in the U.S. were in constant violation and still will be.

I don't agree with Marco Rubio on virtually anything, but I DO agree with him on this. As an animal lover and rescued horse owner, I think people should be aware with the disgusting and inhumane plight of all the unwanted horses. I'm assuming that all these well-intentioned and self-righteous people who love the idea of wretched starved, beaten and neglected horses so much they want to keep them alive at all costs are also vegetarians, right? Total hypocrisy. What they need to stop is horse BREEDING. Thank you, Senator Rubio, for having some guts (finally).

Yes, there is a lot of over breeding of horses so the market is saturated. However, I do not have to subsidize a handy dandy disposal plant for the racing and AQHA industry. You realize most of the horses going to slaughter are about 4 years old and most of them are perfectly healthy? And it's common for pregnant mares to go to slaughter? Hey, more weight equals more money right? Any horse of any quality going to an auction faces a roll of the dice that a kill buyer will get it instead of a decent owner. This is an exceptionally dirty industry. Google "horse slaughter, Kaufman, Texas" to fully understand how wretched these companies are and what a blight on communities they are. These hell holes must not be allowed to open up again in America.

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