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American horse slaughter ban left out of 2012 agriculture appropriations bill

The end of the de facto ban could open the doors for domestic horse slaughter.


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HorseIt’s not what the 2012 agriculture appropriations bill does say that has animal welfare advocates concerned. But what it doesn’t say is stirring controversy.

Since 2005, no federal money could be used to inspect horse meat, effectively ending the horse slaughter industry in the United States. The new appropriations bill, which passed the House of Representatives on Nov. 17, no longer includes that restriction.

The horse industry is divided on the issue of horse slaughter. Proponents argue that domestic slaughter plants are more humane than foreign ones, and horses don’t have to travel as far to get to them. They also suggest that the horse market needs kill buyers to keep prices up. Opponents say that commercial slaughter is inherently inhumane for horses, that horses are not raised as meat animals and are therefore contaminated with chemicals that are harmful to humans, and that a domestic slaughter industry increases the incidence of horse theft.

According to surveys, approximately 70% of Americans are opposed to the practice of slaughtering horses for meat. There is no viable market for horse meat in the United States, but when the slaughter industry existed prior to 2006, the meat was exported to parts of Asia and Europe where it is considered a delicacy.

Several states had looked into working around the former ban to open slaughter houses, including Wyoming, Montana and Nebraska, among others.

“For the first time since 2005, the de-facto ban on horse processing has been taken off the table,” Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE). “While we have a long way to go, responsible processing represents a vital first step in reversing the unintended consequences to blame for the dismal state of neglected horses and their frustrated caregivers across our country. Reinstating a humane, accountable, and legal management tool is good for horses, good for owners, and is good policy.”

Agriculture appropriations was only one part of the Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science & Transportation-HUD Appropriations Bill, which also included a necessary resolution to continue to fund the federal government through December 16. It could not be amended after being approved in committee. Because of this, some members of congress who have historically opposed horse slaughter voted the appropriations through.

“Funding the government and paying our bills are the primary responsibilities of Congress,” said Jim Moran (D-VA). “This legislation, while imperfect, is responsible in that it keeps the government up and running while the remaining appropriations bills await final consideration.

"While I ultimately supported this appropriations bill, I have serious objections with the conference committee's decision to remove House-approved language preventing horse slaughter, language that had been in the bill for the past five years and I authored this year.

"I am committed to doing everything in my power to prevent the resumption of horse slaughter and will force Congress to debate this important policy in an open, democratic manner at every opportunity. Now, more than ever, it is crucial that Congress pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 2966) to permanently prohibit the slaughter of American horses."

To contact your representatives regarding the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, click here.

To contact your senator, click here.

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American horse slaughter ban left out of 2012 agriculture appropriations bill

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Reader Comments

Clarissa    Provo, UT

7/12/2013 6:41:58 PM

Horse slaughter is not only cruel and inhumane to horses, it is harmful to humans as well. In its lifetime, a horse is given medications and other toxic substances that would be harmful to humans and animals that consume its meat. Horse meat is not sold in the United States, but it is exported to other countries.

Horses are beautiful, intelligent animals that bring joy and friendship into our lives. We need to protect these sensitive animals from being killed.

Horses can't speak for themselves, but we can be their voice. Let congress know that Americans won't stand by while these precious animals are butchered.
Please don't be a bystander, be a rescuer! Follow this link to act today:

PKL    Somewhere, WY

7/23/2012 6:01:53 AM

I think if I had horses, that should be put down...for whatever reason, why not donate the meat to a local zoo, or other type of wild game farm.

emma    miller place, NY

2/8/2012 5:21:13 PM

I may be only 10 but i know this is wrong every animal is human like espessially horses this is the wrong thing to do. I say that horse slaughter should be band in all states.

nicole    dadecity, FL

2/6/2012 5:57:41 PM

i may only be 13 but i can still say this is a out rage i dont want this slaughtering to happen to the definclece animals they desurve to live as long as they can just like us. to me i think all animals deseve to live dont slaughter them u can put the down but dont slaughter them. i understand cows and pigs getting slaughtered for meat for us to eat, but horse meat ewww gross. not the horses please.

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