Senate Appropriations Committee for VotES to Eliminate Funds for Inspection of U.S. Horse Slaughter Facilities
Members of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved 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 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 Schakowsky (D-Ill.).
In a recent national poll 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.