June 27, 2007

The Humane Society of the United States praised the New York State Senate for its recent passage of legislation to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption and urged the State Assembly to quickly follow suit.

The Senate bill, S01462, was passed by a decisive vote of 60-1. The bill, introduced by Senator Frank Padavan (R-11), not only bans horse slaughter for human consumption but also prohibits the sale, purchase, possession, transport and delivery of horse meat for that purpose.

"The Humane Society of the United States is very grateful to Senator Padavan for championing this important legislation and to the Senate for passing it," said Michael Markarian, executive vice president of The HSUS. Markarian urged quick action on Assembly bill A2572, "to help put an end to a cruel enterprise that ends the lives of horses, who have served as loyal family companions and race horses, in a most brutal manner."

The state legislation parallels federal bills H. R. 503 and S. 311, which includes the prohibitions specified in the state bill and also bans the export of horses for slaughter outside the US.

According to the USDA, 100,800 American horses were slaughtered in three foreign-owned slaughter houses in 2006. Another 30,000 were sent to Mexico or Canada for slaughter.

Residents who live near the US slaughter facilities joined The HSUS in filing suit against the US Department of Agriculture. The residents reported "blood spills and overflows that clog up the local wastewater treatment plant and septic systems," "smell[s] so bad that we cannot open our windows," and "horses' cries [that] wake me up in the night and upset me so much that I have trouble sleeping."

The court characterized the USDA's environmental review of these impacts as "deafening silence," and concluded "there is no evidence whatsoever that the agency head - or any USDA official - even contemplated…environmental effect[s]" of the agency's actions.

The plaintiffs in the case include The HSUS, The Fund for Animals, the Doris Day Animal League, Animal Welfare Institute, Society for Animal Protective Legislation, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. They are represented by the public interest law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal and by counsel with the Animal Protection Litigation section of The HSUS.