Amendment to stop the transport of slaughter-bound horses passes U.S. House as part of the INVEST Act
The Carter-Fitzpatrick amendment offered to the INVEST Act (H.R. 3684), which will stop the transport of slaughter-bound equines, passed the U.S. House by a voice vote. If enacted into law, no American equine, wild or domestic, will be commercially butchered for human consumption in slaughter plants in Canada or Mexico. The passage of the amendment on the U.S. House floor is a monumental advancement to finally protecting America's horses from the cruel and predatory slaughter industry. The next step is to bring the measure to the U.S. Senate.
The amendment was led by U.S. Representative Troy Carter (D-LA) along with Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), John Katko (R-NY), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Dina Titus (D-NV), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Buddy Carter (R-GA), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Andy Barr (R-KY), Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA).
This is not a new issue for Congress. A lot of work has been done by great members on both sides of the aisle to put an end to this horrible practice, and a lot of ground has been gained. However, a legal loophole allowed tens of thousands of American equines to be exported each year to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. The conditions on these journeys are particularly inhumane, with horses crammed inside trailers for long journeys without adequate water, food, or rest.
The last three U.S. horse slaughter plants were shut down in 2007, and remain shuttered through federal agriculture appropriations bills. Congressional defunding of USDA horsemeat inspections prevents the slaughter of equines for human consumption on U.S. soil. However, every year over 30,000 American horses, donkeys and mules are live-exported to Canada and Mexico to be killed and butchered.
Carter, Fitzpatrick, Katko Amendment Offered to the INVEST Act to Ban the Transport of Slaughter-Bound Horses Within USA and Over the Borders to Canada and Mexico
June, 8, 2021, WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Reps. Troy Carter (D-LA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and John Katko (R-NY) introduced an amendment to H.R. 3684, the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST) Act, which would ban the transportation of slaughter-bound horses across state lines or over the borders to Canada or Mexico for butchering. If the amendment passes through the gateways of the legislative process, it will effectively put an end to the slaughtering of all U.S. horses, wild and domestic.
While horse slaughter does not currently occur on U.S. soil due to a de facto ban achieved through the appropriations process, more than 30,000 domestic and wild horses are shipped to Mexico and Canada each year to be slaughtered for human consumption in Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world.
Transporting horses to slaughter across the USA and over the borders is unsafe and has caused multiple serious accidents on American highways. As recently as October 2020, 14 horses were killed and 11 badly injured when a truck driving the animals to slaughter flipped on a highway in Franklin County, Missouri.
The Save America's Forgotten Equine (SAFE) Act, H.R.3355, was recently introduced by Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), which would prohibit horse slaughter plants from opening on U.S. soil and ban the transportation of slaughter-bound horses and over the borders. Unfortunately, enactment of the SAFE Act continues to be an uphill battle due to industrial agriculture interests and pro-slaughter members of Congress. For this reason, the Carter, Fitzpatrick, Katko amendment was introduced as an innovative pathway to end the slaughter of American equines once and for all.
Within days of the announcement, the amendment garnered over 200 endorsements from organizations, veterinarians, and equine professionals across the nation; including equine rescues, U.S. horse racing leaders, and state horse breeders associations. The list continues to grow.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) urges the Interior Department to suspend its Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Incentive Program over reports that some program participants have abandoned animals at slaughter auctions in direct opposition to the program’s requirements.
“I write with great concern regarding the New York Times article, which indicates that the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Incentive Program has provided federal incentive payments to adopters who abandoned these animals at slaughter auctions,” Senator Feinstein. “I strongly urge BLM to immediately suspend this program and conduct a thorough investigation to ensure federal funds are used to protect wild horses and burros against abuse, neglect, or slaughter, as intended by Congress.”
Full text of the letter follows:
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