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ASPCA Applauds the Building Momentum in Congress to Permanently Ban Horse Slaughter

Reps. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) reintroduce American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act to end cruel slaughter of horses for human consumption
September 19, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C.--The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today applauds U.S. Reps. Dan Burton, R-Ind., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., for reintroducing legislation that would stop the inhumane killing of American horses for human consumption and prohibit the transport of horses across the U. S. border for slaughter in Canada and Mexico. The passage of this critical legislation--The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act--would end the current export and slaughter of approximately 100,000 American horses each year.

"We are heartened to see the light at the end of the dark tunnel of horse slaughter," said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. "Many young, healthy equines are denied the right to homes that await them because they are purchased by killer buyers on contract with foreign processing plants and butchered in Canada and Mexico. Despite claims made by lobbyists for the horse slaughter industry, the USDA found that more than 92 percent of American horses sent to slaughter are in good condition. We thank Reps. Burton and Schakowsky for introducing this much-needed legislation in the House."

Horse slaughter is inhumane and the methods used to kill horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as they often endure repeated stuns or blows and sometimes remain conscious during their slaughter and dismemberment. These equines suffer incredible abuse even before they arrive at the slaughterhouse, often transported for more than 24 hours at a time in overcrowded double-decker trailers without food, water or rest. Furthermore, American horses are not raised for human consumption and are frequently administered drugs that violate the safety regulations mandated for food animals.

"I personally believe in the importance of treating all horses as humanely and respectfully as possible. That being said, I look forward to working with Rep. Schakowsky to end the cruelty, after decades of effort to stop these practices," said Rep. Dan Burton.

"I am proud to join Representative Burton in supporting this bill to put a stop to the cruel practice of shipping horses abroad for slaughter," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky. "As a strong supporter of animal rights and a horse lover, I recognize the need to protect animals that aren't able to protect themselves. Protecting animals ought to be a bipartisan issue and this bill is a strong step in the right direction."

In June, Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., introduced the Senate version of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, S.1176, a bill co-sponsored by a quarter of the U.S. Senate. Past congressional actions on horse slaughter have demonstrated a strong, bipartisan desire to prohibit the killing of horses for human consumption, but Congress has failed to permanently end the export of live horses to neighboring countries for slaughter. State legislatures have already acted to stop horse slaughter, closing the last three remaining horse slaughter plants in the country in 2007.

The ASPCA thanks the bipartisan group of 58 original co-sponsors who have joined Rep. Burton and Rep. Schakowsky in formally supporting this legislation.

The passage of this legislation is a priority for the ASPCA and several other animal welfare organizations, veterinarians and equine groups. The ASPCA has an extensive history of equine protection around the country and continues to assist domestic and wild horses through legislation, advocacy, targeted grants and enforcement of the carriage horse and cruelty laws in New York City. For information on the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.