A Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee will hold an oversight hearing this week to discuss strategies to reduce growing wild horse and burro herds.
Tomorrow's Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests and Mining hearing will "examine long-term management options for the Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse and Burro Program," according to summary written by GOP staffers.
The hearing comes in advance of a much-anticipated report BLM is expected to submit to Congress next month detailing specific strategies and funding estimates for reducing the number of wild horses and burros.
What exactly BLM plans to include in the report is unclear. But Steve Tryon, BLM's deputy assistant director for resources and planning, is scheduled to testify at tomorrow's hearing and will almost certainly be grilled about the upcoming report.
One thing the report will not include is a standing Trump administration request for Congress to lift language in appropriations bills that forbids BLM from using euthanasia on healthy horses and burros that cannot be adopted.
Casey Hammond, the Interior Department's principal deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management who is temporarily overseeing BLM, announced last week at a national wild horse advisory panel meeting that euthanasia is "not an option that's being discussed in the bureau or the department".
How that new Trump administration position sits with conservative Republicans, like subcommittee Chairman Mike Lee of Utah, remains to be seen. But the topic of euthanasia as a option for culling herd sizes is likely to be a major topic of debate at the hearing.
Among those scheduled to testify is Ethan Lane, chairman of the National Horse and Burro Rangeland Management Coalition, which advocates for downsizing herds on public lands to sustainable levels.
Lane is also senior executive director of the Public Lands Council and of federal lands for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. Both groups joined the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and others in devising a macabre plan submitted to congressional appropriators in April to reduce growing herd sizes without resorting to euthanasia or unrestricted sales (The Path Forward, 10 Years to AML proposal).
Nancy Perry, ASPCA's senior vice president of government affairs, is also scheduled to testify.
The hearing comes as federal land managers say there are at least 88,000 wild horses and burros roaming 27 million acres of herd management areas — more than three times the appropriate management level of 26,690 animals deemed sustainable for natural resources and the wildlife that live on the rangelands.
The 88,000 wild horses "is very, very far away from healthy herds," Hammond told the wild horse advisory board last week.
BLM has ramped up organized roundups of wild horses and burros, as well as efforts to get these animals adopted. But the bureau estimates that it costs about $50 million a year — close to 70% of the Wild Horse and Burro Program annual budget — to care for the animals held in off-range holding corrals and pens.
"We often forget about that number," Hammond said, referring to those costs.
"That's what's eating up a significant portion of the budget that Congress has given us just to take care of the [animals] we've taken off the range [in order] to have a healthy range that we don't have," he said. "So the challenges are significant."
Schedule: The hearing is Tuesday, July 16, at 2:30 p.m. in 366 Dirksen.
Source: E&E News
Republican Congressman Chris Stewart brought together ranchers, animal-protection advocates and others on Wednesday to brainstorm solutions for protecting wild horses.
Evocative symbols of the American West, wild horses have also become a thorny national political issue that's often left ranchers and animal-protection advocates at odds.
Congress budgeted more than $80 million for the wild horse program last year, but the U.S. Bureau of Land Management overspent that by more than $2 million. Stewart has introduced an amendment to a recently passed House spending bill that gives the BLM more authority and a $15 million funding increase for managing horse populations. The U.S. Senate also included provisions in its version of the Interior Department spending bill that address wild horses.
But the opposing sides agree money alone is not the answer.
"Everyone agrees the problem is untenable the way it is," said Stewart after the closed-door meeting ended Wednesday. "There's wide agreement—I would say 90 percent agreement—on what it's going to take to fix it.
That includes capturing and removing from public land about 90,000 horses so they won't compete with livestock and wildlife for food and water.
Stewart said the solution also means settling on an effective sterilization program that would allow the BLM to remove the ovaries of wild mares. Sterilization would prevent herds remaining on the range from growing fast. The target is to hold herd numbers steady at roughly 27,000 horses.
U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, brought together groups that are typically at odds for a discussion of solutions for the nation’s wild horse program.
Among the groups that attended were:
They asked Stewart to continue the talks.
Nancy Perry, a lobbyist for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said the national program for wild horses is at a crossroads.
"That's causing everyone to come together, put aside our differences and ask, 'What can we do together on this issue?'" Perry, who also attended the roundtable, said.
Beaver County Commissioner Tammy Pearson, who is also a rancher, conceded that solving the wild horse problem will take collaboration and time.
"We've had years and years that we've been saying, and begging and pleading to get this done," said Pearson. "And the problems have been that BLM has been restricted in what they can do."
Stewart, who calls himself a horse lover, said no one wants to see the horses, the land and rural Utah communities suffering. In a previous version of his amendment, Stewart gave the BLM authority to euthanize healthy horses in government corrals. But that's no longer part of his proposal.
"This coalition will stay together because we truly love these animals," said Stewart, adding that some wild horses in southern Utah are starving to death. "Most people think that's not a great outcome for them."
Congress' latest budget bill blocks the resumption of horse slaughter in the U.S. by cutting funding for inspections of the process. The prohibition on spending by the Department of Agriculture is included in the $1.1 trillion budget bill that Congress sent to President Obama on Thursday, January 16, 2014.
Animal protection groups applauded the vote.
"Americans care for horses, we ride horses, and we even put them to work. But we don't eat horses in the United States. And we shouldn't be gathering them up and slaughtering them for people to eat in far-off places," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, one of a number of groups involved in litigation that has blocked proposed horse slaughterhouses from opening in New Mexico, Missouri and Iowa.
The last domestic horse slaughterhouses closed in 2007, a year after Congress first cut funding for the inspections in an attempt to shutter the industry.
Funding was restored in 2011, and Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, N.M., has been fighting since to convert its small cattle operation to horse slaughter. Last year, Valley and plants in Iowa and Missouri received federal permits to open, but the efforts have been blocked by a series of court orders.
Valley's efforts ignited an emotional, national debate over whether horses are companion animals or livestock, and sparked divisions between rescue groups, Indian tribes and politicians over the most humane way to deal with neglected and abandoned horses.
Proponents argue it is better to slaughter unwanted horses domestically than have them shipped thousands of miles to Canada or less humane facilities in Mexico.
"The message from Capitol Hill is loud and clear on this issue: Our horses deserve better, and this abhorrent industry will not be tolerated," said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations.
Despite the growing government action to keep horse slaughter from resuming, an attorney for Valley and Rains Natural Meats of Gallatin, Mo., said Thursday his group will continue to fight to produce horse meat.
Blair Dunn said the companies would be looking at filing a claim that the funding ban violates provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Source: AP by Jeri Clausing
WASHINGTON --The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for voting to prohibit the use of tax dollars to inspect U.S. horse slaughter facilities, reinstating a ban on domestic horse slaughter for the 2014 fiscal year.
The massive omnibus bill containing the defund language is expected to pass the U.S. Senate and be signed into law by the president later this week.
“The message from Capitol Hill is loud and clear on this issue: Our horses deserve better and this abhorrent industry will not be tolerated. Using taxpayer dollars to fund the inhumane horse slaughter industry is reckless and wasteful,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “We thank the members of the House for halting efforts to resume horse slaughter on U.S. soil and urge the Senate to quickly pass this bill.”
The defund provision was approved by both the House and Senate Agricultural Appropriations Committees as amendments offered by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and the late Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.) and Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
Congress regularly included a similar spending prohibition each year from 2005 to 2010, but failed to include the language in the 2012 budget, opening the door for a return of horse slaughter in the U.S., despite broad opposition to the practice. Several applications to open horse slaughter facilities have recently been filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in New Mexico, Missouri and Iowa.
“I am incredibly proud that the omnibus appropriations bill includes a provision banning USDA inspections at horse slaughter plants, effectively prohibiting horse slaughter in the U.S.,” said Rep. Moran.
“These incredible companion animals don’t deserve to be callously slaughtered for human consumption. We fought hard for the past three years to reinstate this ban to prevent slaughter facilities from reopening on American soil. This achievement would not have been possible without the support of numerous federal, state and local officials, animal protection organizations, and dedicated citizens across the country.”
In a national poll commissioned by the ASPCA, it was revealed that 80 percent of American voters are opposed to the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption. Horse slaughter is inherently cruel and often erroneously compared to humane euthanasia. 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. Whether slaughter occurs in the U.S. or abroad, these equines suffer incredible abuse even before they arrive at the slaughterhouse, often transported for more than 24 hours at a time without food, water or rest, and in dangerously overcrowded trailers where the animals are often seriously injured or even killed in transit. The majority of horses killed for human consumption are young, healthy animals who could go on to lead productive lives with loving owners. Last year, more than 160,000 American horses were sent to a cruel death by a grisly foreign industry that produces unsafe food for consumers.
While the FY 2014 spending bill protects American communities from the devastating environmental and economic impact of horse slaughter facilities, it does not prohibit the transport of U.S. horses for slaughter across the border to Canada and Mexico. 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)—bipartisan legislation that would end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat.
For more information on the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.
Today the ASPCA Equine Welfare Ambassadors issued an open letter [PDF] in response to recent developments in ongoing litigation brought by several animal welfare organizations to halt horse slaughter for human consumption in the United States. While an emergency injunction in a U.S. Court of Appeals has temporarily stalled horse slaughter plants from opening on American soil, that injunction could be lifted at any moment. The Ambassadors are calling on all animal advocates to take action to stop the inhumane slaughter industry by supporting the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act and promoting responsible horse ownership, rescue and adoption.
The ASPCA Equine Welfare Ambassadors are respected equestrians and horse experts committed to animal welfare—and include several ASPCA Maclay National Champions and journalist and author Jill Rappaport. They are urging Congress to pass the SAFE Act to ban horse slaughter in the U.S. and transport to slaughter outside the U.S. once and for all.
As individuals who revere, care for, and work with horses, they can speak to the importance of humane treatment of these special animals. They have joined with the ASPCA in promoting and supporting the work of the robust network of horse rescue organizations across the country. Having witnessed undercover footage showing repeated cruelties in past American, government-regulated horse slaughter plants, the Ambassadors state in the letter:
We have seen the horrifying video and photo documentation from past horse slaughter plants that were on American soil and government-regulated—horse slaughter is utterly, unmistakably inhumane . . . [C]ommercial slaughter is not about providing a kind death. It’s only about destroying as many horses as quickly as possible and making a fast profit.The letter also acknowledges food safety concerns as another reason to ban horse slaughter.
It goes on to state:
For the roughly 130,000 horses that suffer at the hands of slaughter annually—a fraction of the 9 million horses in America—we have the power to take back the reins and lead at-risk horses to safety. Let’s refuse to allow commercial slaughter to be a convenient way out, and instead demand responsible ownership and promote rescue and adoption, just like we do for dogs and cats.
Read the full letter here [PDF]. Then contact your Members of Congress in support of the SAFE Act.
ARLINGTON, Va. —Speaking before the Bureau of Land Management’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly addressed the growing problem of feral horses on the Navajo Nation. This meeting discussed how the advisory board provides recommendations to the BLM as it carries out its responsibilities under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
The law mandates the protection, management and control of these free-roaming animals in a manner that ensures healthy herds at levels consistent with the land’s capacity to support them.
In his remarks, President Shelly underscored the financial burden feral horses present and the increasing drain on the Navajo Nation’s finances and natural resources, and risks damaging valuable trust assets. The Navajo Nation is currently spending more than $200,000 a year to address the damage these horses cause. The Navajo Nation Department of Agriculture estimates the feral horse population at 75,000 and growing.
“The potential damage and cost of addressing this problem coupled with the suffering the animals experience has brought the Navajo Nation to ask you to find a solution to feral horses. These horses are not the iconic wild horses that many think symbolize the West. These feral horses are once domesticated animals that have been set free by owners who can no longer afford their upkeep,” President Shelly added.
In his discussions with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Humane Society and the American Wild Horse Sanctuary, President Shelly expressed his concern as a horse owner about the suffering that these animals are experiencing. “Horses are sacred and special to the Navajo people and have had a central place in Navajo culture going back to our creation stories. I hate to see horses in pain; we need to do something about this needless suffering. The federal government must to live up to its responsibilities,” President Shelly said.
Feral horses are one of the biggest concerns facing Navajo communities. Overpopulation contributes to rangeland depletion, water source damage through feces and urine contamination, death and property destruction due to highway accidents, competition for natural resources used by domestic livestock and people, pain and suffering of feral horses due to starvation, dehydration and predation.
Source: Navajo Division of Natural Resources
Source: ASPCAASPCA Equine Welfare Ambassador Georgina Bloomberg,
"Hay It Forward" during the months of August and September 2013!
The ASPCA Hay It Forward Project partners with select horse shows and select local feed & supply stores to collect donations for rescued horses in need.
Once the collection days are over, the ASPCA will choose local equine rescue groups to receive the donations at the feed store, which can be used for feed, hay or farm supplies, depending on the need of the groups. The number of groups assisted depends on the amount of funds collected.
How does it work?
For a limited time during a select horse show or equine event, anyone wishing to help supply local horse rescue groups with much-needed hay, feed or supplies can make a cash or credit card donation to the official, designated feed store where the ASPCA will have set up an account. Trainers, barn managers, riders, grooms, owners or any fan of horses or animal welfare who wishes to help are all welcome and encouraged to make a donation of any size—all you have to do is call the feed store or stop by and Hay It Forward in person! Equine Rescue groups need all the help they can get, so every amount matters!
Participating Shows and Feed Stores:
The Hampton Classic Horse Show, Bridgehampton, Long Island, NY Neptune Feed:
4195 Middle Country Rd, Calverton, NY 11933
*This program is active August 1-September 30, 2013 and will be taking donations for Long Island equine rescue groups.
Equestrian Sport Productions and the Winter Equestrian Festival, Wellington, Florida Gold Coast Feed:
13501 Southshore Blvd # 101
Phone: (561) 793-4607
Please Hay It Forward during the months of August and September 2013 and at the Hampton Classic Horse Show! Download the flyer [PDF] and learn how to help us help local hungry horses
EQUINE PROTECTION FUND PASSES MILESTONE OF 400 EQUINES ASSISTED; FUND CONTINUES TO BE LEADER IN PROVIDING HUMANE OPTIONS FOR HORSES
Source: New Mexico Community Foundation
ALBUQUERQUE- As of mid-July 2013, the New Mexico Equine Protection Fund (Equine Fund) has brought relief to over 400 equines (horses, donkeys, and mules) across New Mexico via the Equine Fund’s humane programs, the first such efforts available statewide.
“When we started the Equine Fund in 2009, the needs of homeless and abused horses were being addressed only by a handful of struggling equine shelters doing the best they could. Other humane options were not available for many equines and the people who care about them,” said Phil Carter, Equine Campaign Manager for Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM), which administers the Equine Fund in partnership with the New Mexico Community Foundation (NMCF). “The Equine Fund was designed to remove barriers to doing the right thing for more of our state’s horses.”
“Now more than ever, the Equine Protection Fund is crucial to our state, and we’re very pleased that, through the generosity of many supporters, the Fund has directly reduced the suffering of over 400 horses, donkeys, and mules,” said Jenny Parks, President and CEO of New Mexico Community Foundation.
The Equine Fund’s programs include Emergency Feed Assistance, which provides temporary financial support for horse owners in purchasing horse feed. The Equine Fund also provides assistance with veterinary care for needy equines, including Gelding Assistance vouchers to prevent unwanted breeding, humane euthanasia for suffering animals via the Trail’s End program, and aid with emergency veterinary care for equines seized by or relinquished to law enforcement agencies.
At just under $70,000 spent on all assistance programs to date, the Equine Fund continues to demonstrate that, with strategic thinking, humane treatment of New Mexico’s equines is not unattainable, least of all on a financial level. Emergency Feed Assistance maintains its historical average of less than $100 per animal per month while ensuring nutrition in crises, while the veterinary care programs average from $93 to $178 per equine.
“These agencies and facilities are tasked with responding to abuse of horses. By providing support for gelding, euthanasia, and other necessary care, we can help ensure the prompt seizure, treatment, rehabilitation an adoption of second-chance animals.”
APNM is also pleased to announce the hiring of our new Equine Development Officer, Victoria Kanof. A position made possible by a generous grant from the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), the Development Officer will be working to promote the Equine Protection Fund’s vital activities across the state and in all sectors of the horse community and to grow our programs and endowment for humane care of equines.
For more information on the Equine Protection Fund, including ways to donate, visit helpourhorses.org or contact Phil Carter at
Animal Welfare Groups, New Mexico Leaders Appalled by USDA's Decision to Process Application for Horse Slaughter Plant Inspections
Press Release | Friday, June 28, 2013
Washington, D.C.--The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Animals®), and Animal Protection of New Mexico are dismayed over the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recent
decision to approve an application for a horse slaughter facility at Valley Meat Company LLC in Roswell, N.M. on the grounds that killing horses for human consumption is inhumane and creates a serious health risk to consumers. Similar applications are pending for Rains Natural Meats in Gallatin, Mo., and Responsible Transportation LLC in Sigourney, Iowa, and could be approved as early as Monday.
Valley Meat is slated to be the first facility in the U.S. to be green-lighted to slaughter horses for human consumption since 2007, when the few remaining plants closed after Congress voted to eliminate funding for horse meat inspections. This surprising move to reopen a horse slaughter plant defies common sense, given Congress’s recent votes to eliminate funding for such inspections and the scandal in the European Union, where horse meat was found to be mislabeled as beef in prepared food products. On June 13, the House Appropriations Committee voted to include language prohibiting the use of tax dollars for horse slaughter inspections in its Agriculture Appropriations bill, and on June 20, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted in favor of including the same language in its version of the Appropriations bill. These bills are both expected to move for floor action in July, signaling revocation of the USDA’s inspection abilities in a matter of months.
“The writing is on the wall – Americans don’t want our horses slaughtered, here or in any other country. Moving ahead with a government program to fund horse slaughter inspections is a cruel, reckless and fiscally irresponsible move,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “Recent polling shows that 70 percent of New Mexicans, along with the
overwhelming majority of Americans, are opposed to the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption. Given the recent firestorm of concern and outrage over horse meat entering the food supply in Europe, this decision is shocking. The USDA is knowingly diverting tax dollars from programs that protect American consumers to programs that jeopardize them. It is time for Congress to take action to prevent American horses from suffering this terrible fate and stop horse slaughter in the U.S. once and for all.”
Horse slaughter is inherently cruel and often erroneously compared to humane euthanasia. The methods used to slaughter horses do not always result in quick, painless deaths, as horses are difficult to stun and may remain conscious during their butchering and dismemberment. Whether slaughter occurs in the U.S. or abroad, these equines typically suffer abuse even before they arrive at the slaughterhouse, often transported for more than 24 hours at a time without food, water or rest, and in
dangerously overcrowded trailers where the animals may be seriously injured or even killed in transit. The majority of horses killed for human consumption are young, healthy animals who could go on to lead productive lives with loving owners. Last year, more than 160,000 American horses were sent to a cruel death by a grisly foreign industry that produces unsafe food for consumers.
“I am baffled and greatly disappointed that the USDA has chosen to approve this application despite strong opposition from the state of New Mexico, the U.S. Congress and the American public,” said Chris Heyde, deputy director of government and legal affairs for AWI. “Given an earlier statement from USDA Secretary Vilsack opposing horse slaughter and calling for alternatives and recent votes in Congress against this practice we had hoped no plant would be allowed to open. It just means we will have to redouble our efforts to pass the SAFE Act which will ban slaughter and ensure our horses are safe from this cruel and predatory industry.”
“New Mexicans reject the idea of a horse slaughter plant in our state,” said Lisa Jennings, executive director of Animal Protection of New Mexico. “Horses are a valuable part of our heritage, and we have worked hard to develop a robust
safety net for them, not condemn them to slaughter.”
“Despite the federal government’s decision to legalize horse slaughter for human consumption, I believe creating a horse slaughtering industry in New Mexico is wrong and I am strongly opposed,” said New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez. “Like the overwhelming majority of Americans across the country, New Mexicans opposed the slaughter of horses for human consumption. Not only is there not a domestic demand for horsemeat, the act of slaughter itself is considered inhumane by experts, given that a horse’s biology makes them difficult to stun, leaving them conscious during the slaughter process.”
“Granting an inspection of the proposed horse slaughtering facility does not resolve the issues of potential violation of New Mexico State requirements,” said New Mexico’s Attorney General, Gary K. King. “Our office has expressed concern that under current practices it is unlikely that the plant can show that it meets the requirements of the New Mexico Food Act in their manufacture and delivery of horse meat for human consumption. The plant will also likely be required to meet State environmental standards for their discharges.”
“As a veterinarian, natural resource manager, and someone who has had the great good fortune to grow up with and around horses, I am very concerned about their health and safety. If a horse is hurt, terminally ill, or has no chance to find a loving home, then humane euthanasia is an important option,” said New Mexico State Land Commissioner Ray Powell, D.V.M. “I am told the USDA is considering the proposal to open a horse slaughtering facility in our state. Since we do not have enough unwanted horses in New Mexico to make this economically viable, it means that horses would be trucked in from across the
nation. We do not have the safeguards and oversight in place to ensure their humane handling, transport, and euthanasia. New Mexico can do much better by these intelligent and gentle creatures, and I strongly oppose this ill-conceived proposal.”
The decision to allow facilities to slaughter horses adds further to the burden on U.S. taxpayers at a time when spending cuts associated with the sequester could curtail food safety inspections for U.S. meat products.Additionally, with the opening of a horse slaughter plant in the U.S., it will be more difficult to prevent the kind of comingling between horse meat and beef products that has occurred in Europe.
In March, U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Reps. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., introduced the Safeguard American Foods Export (SAFE) Act (S. 541/ H.R. 1094), bipartisan legislation that will prevent the introduction of horse slaughter operations in the U.S., end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat. AWI, APNM and the ASPCA urge Congress to
swiftly pass the SAFE Act to protect horses and consumers.
ASPCA Commends Senate Appropriations Committee for Voting to Eliminate Funds for Inspection of U.S. Horse Slaughter Facilities
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 amendment to its fiscal year 2014 Agriculture Appropriations bill that would prevent the use of taxpayer dollars by the U.S. Department of Agriculture 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 voice vote and, if it remains in the final bill, would effectively shut the door to the
gruesome horse slaughter industry on U.S. soil. A similar amendment was approved last week in the House, which was introduced by Reps. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Bill Young (R-Fla.).
In the 2012 budget, language preventing horse slaughter inspections was not included, opening the door for a return of horse
slaughter in the U.S., despite broad opposition to the practice. Several applications to open horse slaughter facilities have already been filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including one in Roswell, N.M. and another in Sigourney, Iowa.
"Horse slaughter is a terrifying and inhumane practice that only benefits foreign interests," said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. "Using taxpayer dollars to fund this abhorrent industry is reckless and wasteful. We
are grateful to Senators Landrieu and Graham for their strong leadership in advocating to protect these revered animals."
Horse slaughter is inherently cruel and often erroneously compared to humane euthanasia. 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. Whether slaughter occurs in the U.S. or abroad, these equines suffer incredible abuse even before they arrive at the slaughterhouse, often transported for more than 24 hours at a time without food, water or rest, and in dangerously overcrowded trailers where the animals are often seriously injured or even killed in transit. The majority of horses killed for human consumption are young, healthy animals who could go on to lead productive lives with loving owners. Last year, more than 160,000 American horses were sent to a cruel death by a grisly foreign industry that produces unsafe food for consumers.
"We raise horses to work with us, carry us on their backs and be our companions—they have never been raised for slaughter and consumption. This ban not only prevents the inhumane slaughter of our horses and keeps toxic meat out of our food supply, it saves American taxpayer money. It would be fiscally irresponsible to require additional USDA inspections for a
product we know is unsafe and has no market in this country," said Sen. Landrieu. "Today's bipartisan vote to pass a ban on domestic horse slaughter shows once again that this is not a Democratic or a Republican issue— it is an issue that 80 percent of the American people agree on. Brutal slaughter is never the answer, and I will continue to push for this ban to be signed into law."
Sens. Landrieu and Graham are also the lead Senate sponsors of the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (S. 541/H.R. 1094)—bipartisan legislation that would end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat. The lead House sponsors on the bill are Reps. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) and Jan
In a recent national poll commissioned by the ASPCA, it was revealed 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.