WASHINGTON, 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 markets.
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
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
The budget bill is scheduled for consideration on the House Floor
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 process."
"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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