catfishEarlier this week, President Obama released the annual budget for this year. At 1500 pages long, one of the interesting requests included was that the government wanted to do away with horsemeat and catfish inspection that are usually carried out by the US FSIS (Food and Safety Inspection Service). According to the document, there are no funds set aside for the payment of any government officials, as well as any costs that may be incurred should the inspection be carried out. In effect, this is a legal ban, de facto, on all plants that may be involved in the slaughter of horses since without approval from the FSIS such operations cannot be carried out.

This move by the government was applauded by animal rights activists, who after the recent horsemeat scandals that have tainted the European processing industries, have been vigorous in the fight for horses’ rights. Apart from the issue of animal rights, the advocates have raised concerns over the safety of ingesting horsemeat since horses are usually given Bute, a drug harmful to human health. Others however, are opposing the request, stating that they had already laid out the foundation to begin the processing of meat from horses.

The inspection of catfish, essentially, should be carried out by the FDA, but in 2008, the government mandated the FSIS to institute a catfish program within their structure. Congress received support for this move since it was mainly believed that with inspection by the FSIS it would also concerned with controlling the flooding of the market with cheap imports. However, the program has not been as successful as anticipated with the regulators at FSIS accused of using outdated resources.

The catfish program has also been a target of the government as it seeks to cut federal spending within the fiscal year 2014. Congress stated that the two agencies do not need to carry out the inspection of catfish, since it uses up more funds than is necessary.