U.S. House Judiciary Committee hearings on new anti-slaughter legislation will begin July 31, and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) has gone on record opposing the bill. In a written statement (posted in its entirety below), the AAEP rejected H.R. 6598–the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008–because it eliminates what is “currently a necessary end-of life-option” for unwanted horses.

“We oppose H.R. 6598 not because the AAEP believes that sending a horse to a processing plant is the best option for reducing the unwanted horse population,” the statement said, “but because it does not help address the long-term care and funding that will be necessary to help the tens of thousands of horses that will be affected by the ban.”

H.R. 6598 prohibits transport, sale, delivery, or export of horses for slaughter for human consumption. It also criminalizes the purchase, sale, delivery, or export of horsemeat intended for human consumption. Supporters praise the bill for banning horse export to processing plants in Canada and Mexico.

The American Veterinary Medical Association reserved comment pending a review of the bill, according to assistant media relations director Sharon Curtis Granskog.

Also on July 31, the House Judiciary Committee will hear testimony on H.R. 6597, The Animal Cruelty Statistics Act of 2008. The measure would require the Department of Justice to collect and maintain animal cruelty crime data for inclusion in the national crime database. The Department does not currently do so.

AAEP statement regarding H.R. 6598:

“Unwanted horses in the United States are facing a crisis. Horses that are considered at-risk in the equi