Members of Congress, Celebrities, The HSUS Speak Out Against Horse Slaughter and Highlight Need to Protect Wild Horses
At a press conference on Tuesday, the eve of the President’s speech, representatives from The Humane Society of the United States, members of Congress, celebrities, and representatives from agriculture and the horse industry showed their support of the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (H.R. 503/S. 727), a federal bill to prohibit the trafficking in horses for slaughter for human consumption in the United States and the export of horses for this purpose.
The group also called attention to the Bureau of Land Management’s cruel and unnecessary wild horse roundups, calling on BLM to place a moratorium on these roundups until it has a plan in place for contraception and release or adoption of these horses.
Actresses Kelly Carlson and Wendie Malick, both horse lovers and supporters of The HSUS, spoke passionately about their love of horses and their desire for both slaughter and roundups to cease.
Quoting Henry David Thoreau, Malick said, “We need the tonic of wildness.”
In addition to Carlson and Malick, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., lead sponsor of S. 727; Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., co-sponsor of H.R. 503; John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association; Alex Brown, racing industry expert; Keith Windwalker Wainwright, Maryland Coordinator of the Longest Walk Northern Route 2008; Commissioner Red Deer, Deer Clan representative, Maryland commission on Indian Affairs; and Ron Kagan, director of the Detroit Zoological Society, all expressed their support of The HSUS’ efforts.
Landrieu said, “America’s horses are being beaten and dragged across the border into Mexico and Canada so that they can be inhumanely slaughtered for food. I will continue to fight in Congress to end this brutal practice and ensure that American horses will no longer be savagely slaughtered for human consumption.”
“America’s horses are symbolic of the great freedoms this nation offers,” Whitfield said. “These majestic animals are an important part of our culture and I hope that we can soon enact this important legislation to ensure they are no longer inhumanely shipped outside our borders only to meet gruesome ends.”
The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009 (H.R. 503/S. 727) was introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., to prevent any horses from being slaughtered here in the United States and to spare horses from being transported over the border to foreign slaughter plants. The legislation has garnered large, bipartisan co-sponsor lists in both the House and Senate and is poised for action. In 2009, more than 90,000 American horses were exported for slaughter — the majority shipped in long-distance transport to Mexico.
While there are currently no operational horse slaughter plants in the United States, tens of thousands of healthy, young American horses are still being trucked thousands of miles without food, water or rest to plants across the border into Mexico and Canada.
Documentation uncovered by horse welfare advocates demonstrates that the plants in the United States were equally inhumane and riddled with tremendous abuse. There is no humane way to slaughter horses for human consumption, and Americans are horrified to find out that all kinds of American horses — former show horses, race horses, lesson ponies, even wild horses and heavily pregnant mares — meet this fate. Individuals who own horses must take responsibility for the proper care of their horses. If they cannot fulfill their basic obligation to provide lifetime care, then their options include adoption to new families, placement in equine sanctuaries or humane euthanasia.
“Horse slaughter is cruel, and is by no means humane: Horses suffer immensely while being transported in cramped carriers to foreign slaughterhouses, and, when they arrive, meet a grisly death unfit for these loyal and noble creatures,” said Wayne Pacelle, The HSUS’ president and CEO.