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House Appropriations Committee Votes to Eliminate Funds for Inspection of U.S. Horse Slaughter Facilities

ASPCA commends Rep. Jim Moran for offering amendment to protect horses, save taxpayer dollars
June 19, 2012

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commends the members of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee for approving an amendment introduced by Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., to prevent the use of taxpayer dollars by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to inspect U.S. horse slaughter facilities in fiscal year 2013. In 2005, Congress blocked federal funding to ensure that horse slaughter facilities could not operate on U.S. soil, and it has routinely included this defunding language in the annual Agriculture Appropriations bill. While our current Congress has prided itself on reducing government spending, last year's agriculture funding bill omitted this defunding provision.

"Using taxpayer dollars to fund this abhorrent industry is a wildly unpopular decision, and we are grateful to Representative Moran for his strong leadership in advocating to protect our nation’s revered equines," said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations.  "At a time when funding for many vital programs is being cut, it is imperative that Congress not use $5 million dollars worth of taxpayers' money to fund horse slaughter, a cruel practice that benefits only foreign interests."

Horse slaughter is inherently cruel, as horses' instinctual flight response makes them ill-suited for stunning, so they often endure repeated blows and sometimes remain conscious during their slaughter and dismemberment. Further, horse meat is not safe for human consumption. Horses are not raised as food animals and are frequently administered drugs that are prohibited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and would be extremely harmful to humans if ingested. Americans do not consume horse meat—the meat is shipped overseas to specialty markets. A national poll conducted earlier this year by Lake Research Partners shows that 80 percent of American voters, including the vast majority of horse owners (71 percent), are opposed to the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption.

"Horses hold an iconic place in our nation's history and they deserve better than going to slaughter for the benefit of foreign interests," said Rep. Moran. "The Committee's vote today will not only save taxpayers' money, but it will help protect these majestic creatures from suffering a cruel fate."

While Rep. Moran’s amendment in the appropriations bill protects American communities from the devastating environmental and economic impact of horse slaughter facilities, it does not prohibit the transport of U.S. horses for slaughter across the border to Canada and Mexico. The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011 (H.R. 2966/ S. 1176) would not only ban domestic horse slaughter, but would end the current export and slaughter of approximately 100,000 American horses each year. The ASPCA urges all caring Americans to contact their federal legislators to press for passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011 by visiting www.aspca.org/AHSPA.