Lawmakers, Celebrities Urge Anti-Slaughter Bill Passage

Celebrities and animal welfare group representatives gathered to promote anti-slaughter legislation last week.

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Celebrities and animal welfare group representatives joined lawmakers this week to urge congressional passage of twin bills that would prohibit the transport of horses across state and international borders to be processed for human consumption.

In 2007 a combination of legislation and court rulings shuttered the last remaining horse slaughter plants in the U.S. Since then, horses have been transported to plants in Mexico and Canada for processing. In recent years lawmakers have introduced legislation into Congress calling for a ban on transporting U.S. horses to foreign processing plants. Two of those bills, HR 6598 and HR 503, The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, were introduced in 2009 and again in 2010. The bills would also have criminalized the purchase, sale, delivery, or export of horse meat intended for human consumption. Neither became law.

In 2011 Senators Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.) introduced S 1176, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011. If passed, the bill would amend the Horse Protection Act to prohibit the sale or transport of horses or equine parts in interstate or foreign commerce with the intent of processing them for human consumption. In addition, Representatives Dan Burton (R-Ind.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) introduced a twin bill, HR 2966, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011, into the U.S. House.

Both bills were introduced after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report indicating that the demise of the horse processing industry in the U.S. has not prevented animals from sale for slaughter and has contributed to a rise in equine neglect and abuse incidents. The GAO is an independent, nonpartisan agency that provides Congress with objective, fact-based information intended to improve federal agencies’ performance and accountability. The U.S. Senate Appropriations’ Committee ordered the agency to study how horse processing plant closures have affected the U.S. horse industry during its consideration of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010

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Written by:

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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