Article by Laura Allen of the Animal Law Coalition
What You Can Do
Just as U.S. Representatives Jim Moran (D-VA) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) are calling for an end to horse slaughter, a bill to make that happen is introduced in the Senate. Here is what Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the sponsors, have released about this bill:
The Problem: Somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000 horses/year are exported from the United States each year with the intent to slaughter for human consumption.
There are no horse slaughterhouses in the United States, and there is not a demand for horse meat in the United States. Two out three Americans believe the practice of horse slaughter is unnecessary and inhumane. Transport to foreign slaughterhouses is lengthy and cruel.
Horses in the United States differ from other livestock in that they have never been raised for the purpose of slaughter. As such, they are frequently treated with drugs that are toxic when ingested by humans and not approved for use in animals raised for human consumption.
Additionally, we have no system in the United States to track which medications a horse has received throughout its lifetime, which makes horse meat a serious food safety/American food export risk.
The Solution: The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011, S.B. 1176, amends the Horse Protection Act (HPA) to prohibit the sale or transport of horses or equine parts in interstate or foreign commerce with the intent of processing for human consumption.
Most Common Fallacies: (1) Horses going to slaughter are old and are infirm. The USDA has estimated that 92.3% of the horses going to slaughter are healthy, sound, and in “good” condition.
(2) Without slaughtering, we will have up to 100,000 unwanted horses. Some horses that end up at slaughter are stolen or sold to “killer-buyers” unwittingly or illegally. In 1998, when California banned horse slaughter, horse theft went down by 34%. Horse owners will buy some of these horses, horse rescue facilities will absorb some, and others will be humanely euthanized.
(3) It is expensive to euthanize and dispose of a horse. The average cost for humane euthanasia and disposal of a horse is approximately $225, which is about the same amount as one month’s care. Ninety percent of the horses that die each year are humanely euthanized and/or safely disposed, so this additional ten percent is not a burden. Brutal slaughter is not an appropriate alternative.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
The bill, filed on June 9, already has a number of co-sponsors. Find your two U.S. senators here, and if they are not co-sponsors, write (faxes or letters are best) or call them and urge them to sign on to S.B. 1176 as co-sponsors! Be sure to tell them you live in their state.
S.B. 1176 has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Write (faxes or letters) or call committee members listed below and urge them to co-sponsor S.B. 1176 to ban the export of American horses for slaughter for human consumption. If a committee member is your senator, be sure to mention that you live in his/her state! (Please be polite; you can do harm to our efforts to save the horses if you are rude.)
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- Horse Slaughter Group Launches Bizarre “Know the Facts” Campaign as Vote Nears in House (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- Delusional Wyoming Politician Shows Backside Over Horse Slaughter Failure (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- Horse Meat Inspector Amendment Dissolves Into Political Embarrassment (rtfitch.wordpress.com)