DC, June 6, 2005 (ENS): Animal protection groups
are lobbying their Congressional Representatives hard
this week to support a bill that will help prevent the
slaughter of horses for human consumption in foreign
About 65,000 American horses die each year in one of
the three foreign-owned horse slaughter plants that
operate in the United States. The plants ship the horsemeat
overseas to upscale meat markets and high-end restaurants.
s "It is unconscionable that for decades, we have
been using federal taxpayer dollars to support a practice
that the American public is overwhelmingly opposed to,"
said Representative John Sweeney, a New York Republican.
Sweeney will introduce an amendment to the 2006 Agricultural
Appropriations Bill that he says will "prohibit
federal taxpayer dollars from being spent on facilitating
the export of horsemeat from the United States for sale
to countries abroad."
Cosponsors include Congressmen Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky
Republican, and Democrats Nick Rahall of West Virginia
and John Spratt of South Carolina.
The budget bill is scheduled for consideration on the
House Floor this week.
Despite overwhelming public support and 228 bipartisan
cosponsors, last year's legislative efforts to protect
American horses failed to move when the American Horse
Slaughter Prevention Act was refused a hearing before
the Agriculture Committee of the House of Representatives.
"The vast majority of Americans are appalled that
our horses continue to suffer such horrible cruelty
during both long grueling journeys to slaughter plants
and at the plants themselves," said Chris Heyde,
policy analyst for the Society of Protective Animal
"Horses can be hauled without food, water, rest
or medical care for over 24 hours," said Heyde.
"Often the easily frightened animals are not properly
rendered unconscious, so many horses are fully aware
and sensitive to pain while proceeding through the slaughter
"Not only are there clearly humane concerns, but
very real human safety concerns, too. Because Americans
don't raise horses for their meat, these horses are
being dosed up with all sorts of medicines that are
dangerous for humans," said Liz Ross of the Doris
Day Animal League.
Sweeney said, "It makes good fiscal sense to prohibit
any further waste of the American people's hard earned
money for an industry that offers absolutely no economic
value to the United States. Even more importantly, it
is our moral responsibility as a humane nation to protect
our equine pets, companions and athletes from the cruelty
of horse slaughter."
A diverse coalition of equine industry professionals,
humane groups and veterinarians support this amendment.
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