Legislation Would Keep Horse Slaughter Plants Closed in the U.S.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee included a provision in the FY2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill to maintain the ban on slaughtering horses in the U.S, thanks to Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Susan Collins (R-ME), all longtime leaders on the issue. The language bars the use of taxpayer dollars for horse slaughter inspections, which effectively prevents the plants from operating. Similar language was included in the House FY20 Agriculture Appropriations bill in June and is expected to be included in any final spending bill passed by Congress.
“Horses are our dutiful companions and partners in work and sport – not a meal. They have loyally stood by us as we built this country together, and they deserve better than to be brutally slaughtered,” said Holly Gann, director of federal affairs at Animal Wellness Action. “Horse slaughter is animal cruelty, and taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to foot the bill for it.”
Horse slaughter plants previously operated in the U.S. until 2007 and shipped the meat overseas to foreign countries for human consumption. It is a cruel and torturous process for the horses who become victims of this predatory industry; many are severely injured during transport to horse slaughter plants and some horses are even slaughtered while conscious.
Because the horsemeat is utilized for human consumption, horse slaughter plants cannot operate in the U.S. if inspections are defunded. The language to defund horse slaughter has been maintained in most yearly spending bills to keep plants shuttered, thanks to the tireless work of advocates to elevate this issue in Congress; however, it is not a permanent solution – Congress must reconsider the issue yearly.
A controversial proposal regarding the management of wild horses in FY20 Interior Appropriations poses a threat to efforts to maintain this ban in future years and, if implemented, would likely put horses at risk of slaughter. Peddled by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), ASPCA, and so-called American Mustang Foundation, the proposal would break the budget of BLM and dramatically expand inhumane roundups of wild horses every year, accumulating to over 100,000 additional captive horses over a ten-year period at a cost upwards of a billion dollars. Animal Wellness Action and other wild horse and burro advocates have worked tirelessly encouraging Congress to direct BLM to increase fertility control programs as a way to humanely check population growth on our federal lands and to reduce roundups and removals.