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ASPCA Commends House Committee Vote to Prohibit U.S. Horse Slaughter by Eliminating Inspection Funding

Approved amendment would continue a ban on the gruesome horse slaughter industry
May 29, 2014

WASHINGTON—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today commends the members of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee for approving an anti-horse slaughter amendment to its fiscal year 2015 Agriculture Appropriations bill. The amendment would prevent the U.S. Department of Agriculture from using taxpayer dollars to inspect horse slaughter facilities. The Moran Amendment, introduced by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), was passed in the full committee by a bipartisan 28 – 22 roll call vote and would continue a ban on the gruesome horse slaughter industry on U.S. soil.

“At a time when funding for many vital programs is being cut, it is imperative that Congress not use millions of dollars worth of taxpayers’ money to fund horse slaughter, an abhorrent industry that benefits only foreign interests,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “The ASPCA has worked for years to protect horses from terrifying, inhumane deaths at slaughterhouses, and we are thankful to Representative Moran for his strong leadership in advocating to protect our nation’s treasured equines.”

This spending prohibition was put in place in 2005 and was routinely included in the annual Agriculture Appropriations bill until it was omitted in the FY 2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act, opening the door for a possible return of horse slaughter in the U.S. The FY 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act reinstated the funding limitation on horse slaughter inspections after an amendment was successfully added in both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed a similar anti-horse slaughter amendment by a bipartisan 18 – 12 roll call vote in the Senate version of the 2015 Agriculture Appropriations bill.

Horse slaughter is inherently cruel and often erroneously compared to humane euthanasia. Whether slaughter occurs in the U.S. or abroad, the methods used to slaughter horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as horses are difficult to stun and often remain conscious during their butchering and dismemberment. The majority of horses killed for human consumption are young, healthy animals who could otherwise go on to lead productive lives with loving owners. In addition, meat from American horses is unsafe for human consumption since horses are not raised as food animals. They are routinely given medications and other substances that are toxic to humans and are expressly forbidden by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in animals intended for human consumption.

“Horse slaughter has no place in American society and this amendment affirms that Congress does not condone this inhumane practice,” said Rep. Moran.  “These iconic creatures are a proud symbol of the American West that should be treasured for their beauty and treated humanely, not killed for export. The American public has made clear they oppose horse slaughter and today’s vote reflects the will of the people.”

While the Moran Amendment in the appropriations bill protects American communities from the devastating welfare, environmental and economic impact of horse slaughter facilities, it cannot prohibit the transport of approximately 150,000 U.S. horses for slaughter across the border to Canada and Mexico each year. To address this issue, Reps. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (S. 541/H.R. 1094)—legislation that would end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat.

In a national poll commissioned by the ASPCA, 80 percent of American voters, including the vast majority of horse owners (71 percent), expressed opposition to the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption.

To learn more about the ASPCA’s efforts to ban horse slaughter, please visit www.aspca.org.