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Prominent N.J. Horse Owners Urge Gov. Christie to Sign Bill Prohibiting Horse Slaughter

ASPCA supports state ban on slaughter, transport, and sale of horses for human consumption
September 12, 2012

NEW YORK—Several prominent New Jersey horse owners and advocates, including accomplished equestrian Jessica Springsteen, daughter of musician Bruce Springsteen, have joined the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) in supporting a state ban on the slaughter, transport, and sale of horses for human consumption by submitting a letter to Gov. Chris Christie urging him to sign this critical legislation into law. Introduced by Assemblyman Ronald Dancer (R-Cream Ridge) and Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak (D-Union), A.2023/S.1976 would ban the in-state slaughter of horses, the transport of horses to slaughter, and the sale of horse meat for human consumption. The legislation overwhelmingly passed in both the state Senate and Assembly and was sent to Gov. Christie for his signature in July.

The letter, signed by several well-known horse owners, advocates and equestrians from across the state, including  ASPCA Equine Welfare Ambassadors and top international riders Jessica Springsteen and Brianne Goutal, reads in part:*

"As prominent horse owners and advocates with deep roots in this state's equine and business communities, both through our families and individually, we urge you to sign, as is, A.2023/S.1976. We are especially concerned about New Jersey's role as a major artery for the cruel transport of American horses to Canadian slaughterhouses.  Due to its location on the eastern seaboard and easily accessed interstate highway system, New Jersey has put out the welcome mat for "killer buyers" seeking the shortest route to northern slaughterhouses.  We thus regard A.2023's provision prohibiting the transport of horses to slaughter for human consumption as particularly critical and in need of passage."

Horse slaughter is inherently cruel, as horses' physiology and instinctual flight responses make them ill-suited for stunning.  As a result, they often endure repeated blows and may even 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.

"By signing this bill into law, Governor Christie will protect New Jersey communities' exposure to the extreme cruelty of horse slaughter, as well as other associated ills, such as horse theft and the devastating environmental and economic impact of horse slaughter plants,” said Debora Bresch, Esq., senior state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Mid-Atlantic region and New Jersey resident. "And just as important, it will remove New Jersey from the horse slaughter trade by preventing the transport of horses to slaughter for human consumption elsewhere."

"I have spent my life with horses and they are our partners and companions," added Ms. Springsteen. "I believe that horses deserve to be treated with respect, and their lives should not end with the horrors of a slaughterhouse."

"Horses, like dogs and cats, are best friends to many in our state," said Sen. Lesniak. "To send them off to slaughter for food is cruel. This legislation will stop this cruelty."

"New Jersey is taking the lead on this issue to make sure horses aren't taken from the pasture to the plate," said Assemblyman Dancer. "The horse is New Jersey's state animal and we appreciate these magnificent animals for their grace and beauty. We do not want them butchered or sold to slaughterhouses for human consumption."

A national poll conducted earlier this year by Lake Research Partners shows that 80 percent of American voters are opposed to the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption.  In fact, 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 can be extremely harmful to humans if ingested.

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