Guest blog by Nancy Perry, ASPCA Senior Vice President of Government Relations. ___
I am happy to report that the month of May in the Year of the Horse is ending on a very positive note for America’s horses! Following on the heels of last week’s victory in the Senate, today the U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved the Moran Amendment by a bipartisan vote of 28-22.
Introduced by Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), the Moran Amendment is now part of the House’s Agriculture Appropriations bill, which is our nation’s agriculture budget for Fiscal Year 2015. The amendment bans the use of federal funds to send USDA inspectors into horse slaughterhouses—without inspections, it would be illegal to sell the meat.
Special thanks go to Representative Moran for his brilliant leadership, skillfully guiding the amendment to success in the choppy waters of the appropriations process. He spoke eloquently in favor of eliminating tax spending on horse slaughterhouses and inspired strong speeches in favor of his amendment from Representatives Farr (D-CA), Dent (R-PA), Calvert (R-CA) and Quigley (D-IL). We are grateful for this vocal and compelling work that led to success today.
“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.”
Sitting, watching the vote unfold, there were powerful reminders of just how critical our grassroots advocacy truly is. Members repeatedly referred to hearing from people in their districts and what the American people wanted. These victories are not possible without strong support from individual advocates as well as organizations, large and small, who partnered with us in these tireless efforts. Everyone who has worked to spare horses from the nightmare of slaughter, organized to block the industry from setting up shop in their state, or taken to the courts and legislative offices to raise their voice against this cruelty played an important part in this victory today. My hat is off to you today, and I ask you to stay with us for the next steps we must take.
There are no longer any slaughterhouses in the United States that kill horses for human consumption—however, if the Moran Amendment and its Senate companion, the Landrieu-Graham Amendment, are not in the final legislation, our tax dollars could once again be used to enable the killing of horses for their meat and these predatory, inhumane businesses will return. Our job now is to make sure that the amendment remains in the final version of the bill that gets passed by the full House of Representatives. We also will press even harder to see the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act move ahead.
If you want to help the ASPCA protect our horses and communities from slaughter, please join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade and we’ll email you when we need your voice!
Wonderful news for horses: Earlier today, May 22, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved an anti-horse slaughter amendment to the 2015 Agriculture Appropriations bill by a vote of 18-12. The Landrieu-Graham Amendment, introduced by Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), would continue to keep would-be horse slaughterers at bay by prohibiting the use of federal tax dollars to inspect their facilities. The current ban is set to expire in September and must be renewed by Congress in order to continue to protect our nation’s horses.
“There is no place for the brutal and uncivilized practice of horse slaughter in the United States,” said Senator Landrieu. “Our nation’s values are reflected in what we choose to fund in our annual budget. Today’s bipartisan vote to defund domestic horse slaughter shows this is not a Democratic or a Republican issue—it is an issue that 80 percent of the American people agree on. Brutal slaughter is never the answer, and I will continue to push for a ban to be signed into law.”
The majority of horses killed for human consumption are young, healthy animals who could otherwise go on to lead productive lives with loving owners. What’s more, meat from American horses is unsafe for human consumption; horses are not raised as food animals, and they’re often given medications and other substances that are toxic to people.
“There is no such thing as a commercial horse slaughter plant that doesn’t inflict cruelty on horses,” says Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations. “Using taxpayer dollars to fund this abhorrent industry is irresponsible and wasteful. We are thankful to Senators Landrieu and Graham for their strong leadership in advocating to protect our nation’s revered equines.”
We thank the Senate Appropriations Committee for passing this amendment, and Senators Mary Landrieu and Lindsey Graham for their hard work and leadership on this issue.
Hey Advocates! Here at the ASPCA we work hard to make sure the strongest laws are in place to protect animals across the country—but we can’t do it without the help of our dedicated grassroots supporters like you!
Among the most powerful ways for animal advocates to help shape our laws is through lobbying legislators directly. This was especially true at last Wednesday’s “New York Voices for Animal’s Day,” when our New York advocates gathered at the State Capitol in Albany to make their voices heard on behalf of animals across the state.
“The ASPCA is fortunate to have some exceptionally effective citizen advocates,” said Bill Ketzer, ASPCA Senior State Director for the Northeast Region. “We build their skills during grassroots webinars and in-person meetings, where they can really learn the issues and build a community that amplifies our collective voice.”
Our citizen lobbyists had a busy agenda that included meeting with state assembly members, senators and legislative aides to share stories, find common ground and request support for animal-friendly bills, including bills to prohibit breed-discriminatory insurance policies, fund trap-neuter-return programs, and ensure pets are included in public transportation emergency plans in the event of natural disaster evacuations.
But it wasn’t all business. The day kicked off with a training session and breakfast hosted by advocacy experts and ASPCA Government Relations staff, followed by a special Humane Leadership Awards presentation to New York lawmakers who have exhibited particular dedication to animal protection. Even Hudson “The Railroad Puppy” made a special appearance!
We want to thank each one of our New York advocates and all of our supporters nationwide for standing beside us as we continue to fight for animals!
Our advocates include people from all backgrounds and all levels of advocacy experience, and it’s when we come together to be a unified voice for animals that enormous impact on legislation can be made. We can’t do it without you!
If you haven’t yet, join our ASPCA Advocacy Brigade today so you’ll never miss out on the next Lobby Day, grassroots training or opportunity to take action. Together, we are unstoppable!
Factory farms keep animals in cruel, unethical conditions—and naturally, the agriculture industry doesn’t want its abusive practices brought to light. That is why it’s trying to pass anti-whistleblower “ag-gag” laws that would punish anyone who tries to expose the appalling conditions many farm animals live and die in.
On Thursday, May 15, join our Farm Animal Welfare Team at 3 P.M. EDT for a live Facebook Chat to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes and how you can help.
Want a primer? View our “Factory Farming Basics” video here.
You know what they say: kindness is contagious. That’s why we love Be Kind to Animals Week, which kicks off today! Be Kind to Animals Week is celebrated every year during the first week in May, and this year marks its 99th anniversary. And while we know that you’re kind to animals all year round, this week is a great excuse to get active. Here are four ways you can show your compassion for furry friends everywhere:
Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade: Sign up for the Advocacy Brigade to receive important alerts from the ASPCA. We’ll contact you when we need your help fighting for laws against animal cruelty.
Help Fight Puppy Mills: Most pet store puppies come from puppy mills—large, sub-standard breeding facilities. Help us put puppy mills out of business by pledging not to shop in stores that sell puppies (not even for food or toys!).
Show Your Virtual Support: Spread the word about Be Kind to Animals Week through Facebook, Twitter, or your blog! And if you haven’t already, join us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+ to keep track of breaking animal welfare news.
Volunteer: From walking dogs to fundraising, there are tons of ways you can get involved with your local animal shelter. Even if you can’t make a long-term commitment, consider lending a hand today! We can always use the help.