The ASPCA Urges Governor Crist to Sign Horse Slaughter BillsFlorida Horses Continue to be in Danger
NEW YORK Concerned for Florida's horses, today the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) urged Florida Governor Charlie Crist to sign into law legislation that will provide stronger legal protection for all equines. H.B. 765 and S.B. 1708, which have passed both the House and Senate unanimously, would make horse slaughter in Florida a felony offense and impose a mandatory minimum sentence for violators of $3,500 and one year confinement. The legislation would also make it felony offense to kill, maim, or mutilate a horse, and prohibits the transport, sale, and distribution of horse meat that is not acquired from a licensed slaughter. Since there are no licensed slaughterhouses in Florida, these bills would effectively end all slaughter in the state.
"The inhumane slaughter of Florida horses has sent shock waves throughout the horse loving community in light of these numerous horse slaughter cases," said Ann Church, the ASPCA's Florida lobbyist. "Although law enforcement has been actively battling this situation, the current penalties for horse slaughter are so low that the killing has continued. No horse is safe until these new penalties go into effect and can deter this crime." This new law is unusual in that a minimum mandatory penalty is imposed on violators.
"It is my hope that these harsh punishments will eliminate this horrendous crime in our state," added Representative Luis R. Garcia, who cosponsored the bill with Florida Senator Victor D. Crist. Representative Garcia and Senator Crist introduced the bills in response to public outcry from Floridians. The bills passed both houses of the legislature unanimously and have enormous support from citizens throughout Florida and entire country.
Americans do not consume horsemeat nor does the United States Department of Agriculture inspect horse slaughter operations. This bill bans all horse slaughter operations and also penalizes any business that serves this illegal meat.