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ASPCA Praises Senators Mary Landrieu and Lindsey Graham for Leading Charge to Protect American Horses from Inhumane Slaughter

American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act would prevent the transport of horses intended for slaughter for human consumption
June 10, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C.--The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today applauded 16 United States Senators, led by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., for introducing the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act to prohibit the transport of horses for slaughter in the United States, as well as across the border to Canada and Mexico.

Despite the fact that Americans do not consume horsemeat, approximately 100,000 horses are purchased each year in the U.S. at auctions by killer buyers on contract with foreign companies and transported long distances-often more than 24 hours at a time-in cramped conditions without food, water or rest to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. Horse slaughter is 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, U.S. horses are not intended for food and are not raised under the safety regulations for food animals. The majority of horses killed for human consumption are in good condition and could go on to lead productive lives in loving homes.

"Horses purchased for slaughter suffer incredible abuse even before they arrive at the slaughterhouse," said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. "Americans have a responsibility to protect these intelligent, sensitive animals from being butchered in Canada and Mexico. Horses are a historically significant part of American culture and deserve a more dignified end to their lives than to be inhumanely slaughtered and served at European cafes. We thank Sens. Landrieu and Graham for introducing this much-needed legislation."

"The last U.S. slaughterhouses were closed in 2007, and there is virtually no demand for horse meat in this country," said Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La. "However, tens of thousands of horses are inhumanely transported across our borders where they are brutally slaughtered.  As a lifelong horse lover and rider, this practice is appalling to me, and more importantly, the majority of Americans oppose it.  We raise and train horses to trust us, perform for us, and allow us on their backs, and as such, they deserve to be treated with human compassion.  When horse owners are faced with the sad reality of having to put their animals down, it should be by humane euthanasia.  I intend to work with Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina and my other colleagues to get this bill passed and permanently end the slaughter of our American horses."

The ASPCA thanks the bipartisan list of original co-sponsors of the bill, which included, in addition to Sen. Landrieu and Sen. Graham:  Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Kristen Gillebrand, D-N.Y., Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., Mark Begich, D-Alaska, Thomas Carper, D-Del., Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., Carl Levin, D-Mich., Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., Robert Menendez D-N.J., Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., Scott Brown, R-Mass., and Susan Collins, R-Maine.

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. For information on the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.