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ASPCA Commends Senate Committee Vote to Prohibit U.S. Horse Slaughter by Eliminating Inspection

Approved amendment would protect horses from cruel practice in the U.S.
May 22, 2014

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commends the members of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee for approving an anti-horse slaughter amendment to its fiscal year 2015 Agriculture Appropriations bill. The amendment would prevent the U.S. Department of Agriculture from using taxpayer dollars to inspect horse slaughter facilities. The Landrieu-Graham Amendment, introduced by Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), was passed in the full committee by a bipartisan 18 -12 roll call vote and would continue a ban on the gruesome horse slaughter industry on U.S. soil.

“There is no such thing as a commercial horse slaughter plant that doesn’t inflict cruelty on horses,” said 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.”

Horse slaughter is inherently cruel and often erroneously compared to humane euthanasia. Whether slaughter occurs in the U.S. or abroad, the methods used to slaughter horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as horses are difficult to stun and often remain conscious during their butchering and dismemberment. The majority of horses killed for human consumption are young, healthy animals who could otherwise go on to lead productive lives with loving owners. In addition, meat from American horses is unsafe for human consumption since horses are not raised as food animals. They are routinely given medications and other substances that are toxic to humans and are expressly forbidden by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in animals intended for human consumption.

This spending prohibition was put in place in 2005 and was routinely included in the annual Agriculture Appropriations bill until it was omitted in the FY 2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act, opening the door for a possible return of horse slaughter in the U.S. The FY 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act reinstated the funding limitation on horse slaughter inspections after an amendment was successfully added in both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.

While the Landrieu-Graham Amendment in the appropriations bill protects American communities from the devastating welfare, environmental and economic impact of horse slaughter facilities, it cannot prohibit the transport of approximately 150,000 U.S. horses for slaughter across the border to Canada and Mexico each year. To address this issue, Sens. Landrieu and Graham, and Reps. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (S. 541/H.R. 1094)—legislation that would end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat.

In a national poll commissioned by the ASPCA, 80 percent of American voters, including the vast majority of horse owners (71 percent), expressed opposition to the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption.

To learn more about the ASPCA’s efforts to ban horse slaughter, please visit www.aspca.org.