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ASPCA Calls for Permanent Ban on Horse Slaughter

American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act would prevent transport of horses to slaughter for human consumption
December 6, 2011

NEW YORK--Following the passage of the 2012 Agricultural Appropriations bill, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is urging support of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (HR 2966/S 1176), which would stop the inhumane killing of American horses for human consumption by banning it in the U.S. and prohibiting the transport of horses across U.S. borders for slaughter in other countries. The passage of this critical legislation would end the current export and slaughter of approximately 100,000 American horses each year.

Since 2005, the appropriations bill has included language that prevents money from being used for USDA inspections at horse slaughterhouses. This year, Congress lifted the ban on funding horse meat inspections, thus allowing tax dollars to be used for inspections at slaughterhouses.

"Using tax dollars to fund this grisly business is a wildly unpopular decision and has fueled the fire for a complete ban on horse slaughter," said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. "We stand with the large group of bipartisan leaders on Capitol Hill who have already declared that they will be pressing for accountability and recorded votes on this issue. We applaud Representatives Jim Moran (D-Va.), Dan Burton (R-Ind.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Senators Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) who are eager to bring an end to the cruelties of horse slaughter."

While the language in the appropriations bill protected American communities from the horrors of horse slaughter plants, it did not prevent horses from going to slaughter because thousands of horses are purchased at auctions and then sent over U.S. borders for this purpose every year. The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act would not only ban horse slaughter in the U.S., but would also ban the export of horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.

"The majority of Americans are opposed to horse slaughter, and there is no domestic demand for horsemeat," said Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La. "Considering that the cost of humane euthanasia for a horse is equal to the cost of approximately one month's care, it is inconceivable to me that a horse owner could not afford to put down a sick, injured or unwanted animal humanely. This fight is long from over. I plan to continue to working with my colleagues in Congress and other advocates to end this inhumane and controversial practice once and for all."

Horse slaughter is inherently inhumane and the methods used to kill horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as they often endure repeated stuns or blows and sometimes remain conscious during their slaughter and dismemberment. "Furthermore, if horse slaughter inspections resume, American taxpayers will have to shell out $5 million a year for a product no Americans want," added Perry.

The passage of this the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act is a priority for the ASPCA and several other animal welfare organizations, veterinarians and equine groups. The ASPCA has an extensive history of equine protection around the country and continues to assist domestic and wild horses through legislation, advocacy, targeted grants and enforcement of the carriage horse and cruelty laws in New York City. Animal advocates should contact their federal legislators to press for passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act by visiting www.aspca.org/AHSPA.