House Moves to Protect American Horses Here and Abroad
American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 2966) Reintroduced
Washington, D.C. -- As Congress heads into their busy fall season, Representatives Dan Burton (R-IN) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), along with 55 bipartisan cosponsors have reintroduced H.R. 2966, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. The bill, similar to the one approved by a strong bipartisan vote in the House several years ago, would outlaw the slaughter of American horses here and - most urgently - would stop these horses from being exported for slaughter.
"I personally believe in the importance of treating all horses as humanely and respectfully as possible," said Rep. Burton. "That being said, I look forward to working with Rep. Schakowsky to end the cruelty, after decades of effort to stop these practices."
"The Animal Welfare Institute commends Reps. Burton, Schakowsky and their colleagues from both sides of the isle for their continued leadership and commitment to protecting America's horses," said Chris Heyde, the Institute's deputy director of government and legal affairs. "They realize the cruel slaughter of horses must stop. It is certainly not fiscally responsible or humane to resurrect slaughter in the U.S. Doing so would require new federal regulations and increased bureaucracy while spending millions of taxpayer dollars - all in an attempt to 'manage' rather than simply outlaw the abuses perpetuated by this industry."
Recently, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) issued a report assessing horse welfare since 2007 and the closure of the last three foreign-owned horse slaughter plants in the U.S. However, the GAO was not asked and did not consider the impact slaughter had on America's horses while plants were operating in the U.S., or the impact should slaughter be restored - both vital to understanding the welfare implications. In the end, one of two recommendations was to ban slaughter in the U.S. and the export of horses for the same purposes - what the Animal Welfare Institute has said for years and the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act would do. Our elected officials should follow GAO's recommendation that Congress "...consider instituting an explicit ban on the domestic slaughter of horses and exports of U.S. horses intended for slaughter in foreign countries."
"I am proud to join Rep. Burton in supporting this bill to put a stop to the cruel practice of shipping horses abroad for slaughter," said Rep. Schakowsky. "As a strong supporter of animal rights and a horse lover, I recognize the need to protect animals that aren't able to protect themselves. Protecting animals ought to be a bipartisan issue and this bill is a strong step in the right direction."
The Animal Welfare Institute is calling on all Americans to demand that Congress halt horse slaughter by passing H.R. 2966, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, immediately. For far too long, the few who profit from this cruel industry have been misleading Congress and the public, to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of horses. Since the Animal Welfare Institute began its national campaign to end horse slaughter in 2001, horse owners, veterinarians, agriculture organizations, equine rescues and the American public have all come together to help advocate for our horses. The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act represents a critically important opportunity to safeguard American horses. The choice is clear. Rather than sanction cruelty, Congress must provide American horses permanent sanctuary from the slaughterhouse.
Chris Heyde, AWI, (202) 446-2142