The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commends the members of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee for approving an amendment to its fiscal year 2014 Agriculture Appropriations bill that would prevent the use of taxpayer dollars by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to inspect horse slaughter facilities. The Moran-Young Amendment, introduced by Reps. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Bill Young (R-Fla.), would effectively shut the door to the grisly horse slaughter industry on U.S. soil.
A similar spending prohibition was put in place in 2005; however, in the 2012 budget, the language preventing horse slaughter inspections was not included, opening the door for a return of horse slaughter in the U.S., despite broad opposition to the practice. Several applications to open horse slaughter facilities have already been filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including one in Roswell, N.M. and another in Sigourney, Iowa.
"Horse slaughter is a cruel practice that only benefits foreign interests," said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. "Using taxpayer dollars to fund this abhorrent industry is irresponsible and wasteful. We are grateful to Representatives Moran and Young for their strong leadership in advocating to protect our nation’s revered equines."
Horse slaughter is inherently cruel and often erroneously compared to humane euthanasia. The methods used to slaughter horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as horses are difficult to stun and often remain conscious during their butchering and dismemberment. Whether slaughter occurs in the U.S. or abroad, these equines suffer incredible abuse even before they arrive at the slaughterhouse, often transported for more than 24 hours at a time without food, water or rest, and in dangerously overcrowded trailers where the animals are often seriously injured or even killed in transit. The majority of horses killed for human consumption are young, healthy animals who could go on to lead productive lives with loving owners. Last year, more than 160,000 American horses were sent to a cruel death by a grisly foreign industry that produces unsafe food for consumers.
"Horses hold a special place in our nation's history and they deserve better than to be slaughtered for the benefit of foreign consumers," said Rep. Moran. "The Committee's vote today will not only save taxpayers' money, but it will help protect these iconic creatures from suffering a cruel fate."
While the Moran-Young Amendment in the appropriations bill protects American communities from the devastating environmental and economic impact of horse slaughter facilities, it does not prohibit the transport of U.S. horses for slaughter across the border to Canada and Mexico. To address this issue, U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Reps. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (S. 541/H.R. 1094)—bipartisan legislation that would end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat.
In a recent national poll commissioned by the ASPCA, it was revealed that 80 percent of American voters, including the vast majority of horse owners (71 percent), are opposed to the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption. To learn more about the ASPCA’s efforts to ban horse slaughter, please visit www.aspca.org.