ASPCA Hails Passage Of Horse Slaughter Prevention Act

H. R. 503 First Step in Permanently Banning Horse Slaughter in the United States
September 7, 2006

New York—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today hailed the passage of H. R. 503, the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, as a significant move towards permanently banning the slaughter of horses in the United States for human consumption abroad. The U. S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the bill by a vote of 263 to 146.

“Americans have long had a love affair with horses, both domesticated and wild,” said ASPCA President Ed Sayres. “The recent public and media interest in the recovery of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro is a clear indication of the fascination, awe, and empathy we feel for these magnificent animals. The history of our nation is indelibly linked to these great creatures and, with the passage of this bill, we are one step closer to treating horses as we should—as valued members of our humane community.”

Originally introduced in 2001, the Horse Slaughter and Prevention Act is a full and permanent ban on the slaughter of wild and domesticated horses for human consumption. The bill now has to pass the Senate, where it is currently pending a vote (S. 1915). In 2005 alone, more than 90,000 horses were slaughtered in the United States, destined for foreign meat markets. These include ex-racehorses, adopted wild horses, and horses from riding schools, camps, dude ranches and backyards.

The ASPCA has an impressive history of horse protection and was founded when the sight of a carthorse being brutally beaten spurred Henry Bergh to create the organization. Today, the ASPCA works to protect and aid domestic and wild horses through legislation, advocacy, education, targeted grants and enforcement of the carriage horse and cruelty laws in New York City. The ASPCA is also committed to helping some of the thousands of PMU foals born every year in the pregnant mares’ urine industry, and the thousands of PMU mares made redundant by drastic production cuts in 2003.