NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today commended New Jersey legislators and Gov. Chris Christie for enacting a measure to prohibit the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The new law also bans the transport of horses to slaughter, as well as the sale and transport of horse meat for human consumption.
"We thank Governor Christie for protecting New Jersey's equines from the unnecessary and inherently cruel practice of horse slaughter," said Debora Bresch, Esq., senior state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Mid-Atlantic region. "As the official state animal, horses enjoy great respect among New Jersey residents, and horse slaughter is out of step with their deeply held values."
Introduced by Assemblyman Ronald Dancer (R-Cream Ridge) and Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak (D-Union), A.2023/S.1976 makes it illegal to slaughter horses for human consumption, prohibits the sale of horse meat, and bans the transport of horse meat or live horses for the purpose of slaughter. Horse slaughter is inherently cruel, as horses' physiology and instinctual flight responses makes them ill-suited for stunning, so they often endure repeated blows and sometimes remain conscious during their slaughter and dismemberment. In addition, horses bound for slaughter suffer incredible abuse even before they arrive at the slaughterhouse, often transported for more than 24 hours at a time in overcrowded trailers without food, water or rest.
Americans do not consume horse meat—the meat is shipped overseas to specialty markets. Further, horse meat is not safe for human consumption as horses are not raised as food animals and are frequently administered drugs that are prohibited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These drugs would be extremely harmful to humans if ingested. A national poll conducted earlier this year by Lake Research Partners shows that 80 percent of American voters, including the vast majority of horse owners (71 percent), are opposed to the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption.
"All states that do not specifically ban this abhorrent practice are at risk of becoming home to new slaughtering facilities," added Bresch. "By signing this bill into law, Governor Christie has spared New Jersey communities exposure to the extreme cruelty of horse slaughter and the horse slaughter trade that has made the state a major artery for the transport of horses to slaughterhouses in Canada, ultimately providing us with another crucial victory in the growing movement for a complete and total ban on horse slaughter."
Earlier this month, several prominent New Jersey horse owners and advocates, including accomplished equestrian Jessica Springsteen, daughter of musician Bruce Springsteen, joined the ASPCA in submitting a letter to Gov. Christie urging him to sign the critical legislation into law. The letter, signed by several well-known equestrians from across the state, including ASPCA Equine Welfare Ambassador and top international rider Brianne Goutal, read in part:
"As horse owners and enthusiasts, we are appalled that once-loved horses could meet such a brutal end. When no re-homing option exists, a horse should be humanely euthanized by a licensed veterinarian, not loaded onto a truck, cruelly transported, and then butchered for consumption abroad."
The ASPCA urges all caring Americans to contact their federal legislators to press for passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011 (H.R. 2966/S.1176), which would prohibit the sale and transport of horses for slaughter in the United States, as well as across the border to Canada and Mexico. The passage of this critical legislation would end the current export and slaughter of approximately 100,000 American horses each year. For more information on the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.