The spending bill passed yesterday evening by the Senate, and that cleared the House yesterday, includes a provision that halts any efforts to resume slaughtering horses for human consumption on U.S. soil. The legislation, which President Obama will sign in the coming days, forbids spending by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on inspections at U.S. horse slaughter plants, reinstating a ban on domestic horse slaughter for the fiscal year and saving taxpayers an estimated expense of $5 million.
The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund now call on Congress to pass a permanent ban on domestic horse slaughter with the Safeguard American Food Exports Act, H.R. 1094 / S. 541, which would also end the export of American horses for slaughter abroad.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, said: “We 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.”
“We stopped slaughtering horses on U.S. soil in 2007, and it’s the right policy to continue that prohibition. We hope that all parties associated with this issue can agree to stop the inhumane export of live horses to Canada and Mexico, and protect all American horses from a disreputable, predatory industry.”
The HSUS also thanks the sponsors of the amendment addressing horse slaughter, Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va., and the late Bill Young, R-Fla., and Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
A similar spending prohibition had been put in place in 2005, however it was not renewed in 2011, opening the door for horse slaughter plants to reopen on U.S. soil. Efforts underway in to open horse slaughterhouses in New Mexico, Missouri and Iowa have been met with strong public opposition.
The Humane Society of the United States joined with several animal protection organizations and individuals to file suit against USDA to block those facilities from opening.
American horses are raised to be companions, athletes and work horses. They are often treated with drugs, both legal and illegal, that can endanger the food supply. There is currently no system in the U.S. to track medications and veterinary treatments given to horses throughout their lives to ensure that their meat is safe for human consumption.
The methods used to kill horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as horses often endure repeated blows to render them unconscious and can remain conscious during the slaughtering process. When horse slaughter plants previously operated in the U.S., the USDA documented severe injuries to horses, including broken bones and eyeballs hanging from a thread of skin.
The Safeguard American Food Exports Act, H.R. 1094 / S. 541, introduced this year by U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Reps. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., is a bipartisan measure that would outlaw 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.
Polling from 2012 shows that 80% of the American public opposes the slaughter of horses for human consumption, and this opposition spans across all partisan, regional, and gender lines.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, rated the most effective by its peers. Since 1954, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. We rescue and care for tens of thousands of animals each year, but our primary mission is to prevent cruelty before it occurs. We’re there for all animals, across America and around the world. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty; on the Web at humanesociety.org.