U.S. House of Representatives Votes to Stop

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Washington, D.C. -- Once again, Congress has voiced its opposition to horse slaughter. The U.S. House of Representatives today approved an amendment to the 2008 Agriculture Appropriations bill that will temporarily bring horse slaughter to a halt by stripping funds from the federally required inspection of slaughter-bound horses. Without the inspections, the slaughter cannot proceed.

Introduced by U.S. Representatives John Spratt (D-SC), Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Nick Rahall (D-WV) and Ben Chandler (D-KY), the amendment ensures that horse slaughter stops while Congress considers the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA), a permanent ban on this abhorrent trade. The measure must now go to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

The amendment is almost identical to one that passed overwhelmingly in the U.S. Congress two years ago, with the addition of language to prevent the U.S. Department of Agriculture from circumventing the will of Congress - as it did in 2005 when the slaughter continued.

More than 100,000 horses were brutally slaughtered in the United States last year at three foreign-owned slaughterhouses for human consumption in Europe and Asia. Tens of thousands more were exported for slaughter in Canada and Mexico. Currently, Cavel International (DeKalb, IL) is the last remaining horse slaughter plant in operation in the country. The only other plants, both in Texas, were effectively closed down earlier this year under state law.

A hearing on Aug. 16 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit will determine whether Cavel International will remain open or be forced to shut its doors, following last April’s passage of a similar law that was signed by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

"Once again, when the entire House has the chance to vote on ending slaughter, support for a ban is overwhelming. Sadly, a few politicians and misguided business associations continue to thwart the Democratic process by stalling enactment of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act," said Chris Heyde, deputy legislative director of the Animal Welfare Institute. "I implore these individuals to stand with the majority of Americans who support a ban on horse slaughter and allow this measure to move forward."

The American public, over 500 animal protective organizations, horse industry organizations and veterinarians all support the effort to end the slaughter of America’s horses. Congress must now pass the AHSPA (H.R. 503/S.311) to end the slaughter of American horses nationwide and ensure that they are not exported elsewhere to be killed for those who wish to eat them.

The Animal Welfare Institute applauds the continued leadership of the sponsors of legislation to end horse slaughter. The organization also commends Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) for supporting efforts to protect America’s horses from this cruel industry and those who want to exploit their suffering.

The Animal Welfare Institute, founded in 1951, is a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the sum total of pain and fear inflicted on animals by humans. Our legislative division is leading the national campaign to end horse slaughter and advocating passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. For more information, please visit www.awionline.org.

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Media Contact: 
Chris Heyde, (202) 446-2142