Senate committee backs anti-slaughter language in bill

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Tom Udall
Tom Udall

The US Senate Appropriations Committee has voted to introduce defunding language to an agriculture appropriations bill that would prevent the reopening of horse slaughter plants on American soil.

Senator Tom Udall offered an amendment to defund any US Department of Agriculture inspections of horse slaughter plants, which are are required for the abattoirs to operate.

The language is, in effect, a way of keeping such slaughter plants from operating.

The Humane Society of the United States said committee members recognized that Udall had a “posse” of other supporters on the committee, with five other lawmakers joining him as cosponsors — Senators Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Barbara Mikulski, D-MD, Dianne Feinstein, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Chris Coons, D-DE.

The committee accepted Udall’s amendment in a voice vote.

The humane society’s president and chief executive, Wayne Pacelle, described horse slaughter as a predatory industry which targeted healthy horses.

“Long-distance transport, rough handling, and inhumane killing are standards fare for the poor horses caught up in this grisly trade,” he wrote on his blog, A Humane Nation.

“No Americans eat horses, and it’s purely for export to some European and Asian countries.”

The Senate committee’s vote follows the failure of a similar amendment to gain traction in the US House Appropriations Committee.

Wayne Pacelle
Wayne Pacelle

The defunding amendment to the agriculture appropriations bill, offered by Rep. Sam Farr, a Democrat from California, resulted in a tied vote, 24-24, with the measure not being adopted. Most of those in opposition were Republicans.

“We’re gearing up to sustain the Senate position in the final legislation that goes to President Obama, who is also an opponent of horse slaughter, to assure that these plants never again reopen in the United States,” Pacelle said.

Several companies have tried in recent years to re-establish slaughter plants during periods when the defunding language has been absent, but none has succeeded to date. They have faced an array of roadblocks, including legal action from horse advocacy groups, local objections, and issues around meeting consent conditions.

However, the existing ban on horse slaughter in the US, brought about by the defunding language, has not prevented the passage of tens of thousands of American horses through abattoirs north and south of the border.

More than 100,000 horses are transported annually to plants in Mexico and Canada.

Much of the meat is sold overseas, but the European Union has clamped down on meat sourced from US horses over concerns around drug traceability. Some routine medications used in horses are banned from entering the food chain, and there is no requirement in the US for lifetime medication records to be kept.

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5 thoughts on “Senate committee backs anti-slaughter language in bill

  • July 18, 2015 at 11:49 am
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    Congrats. We The People are very Proud of your Stand. Thank you for Your efforts. The Senate works hard to balance the budget and lives. Thanks to them for caring.

    Reply
  • July 18, 2015 at 11:58 am
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    I would never send a horse to slaughter, but I don’t think I have the right to tell other people what to do. If these groups want to make slaughter illegal, they need to put their money where their mouth is. It cost a minimum of $2000.00 per year to take care of a horse. So for 150,000 horses you are looking at over $300,000,000.00. This will double the next year and that $600,000,000.00 will double every year for each year the ban on slaughter is in effect.
    Some people will say, reduce the number of horses by not breading. This will reduce the quality of the remaining horses. Not every horse has value. A lot of them are just plain nags. They have bad legs, knees, hearts, some are blind and incomplete brains. If you stop breading, horses with defects will become dominate. For every good horse there are two or three bad ones. These problems are just not evident to the uninitiated.
    So what do you do with the bad horses. You can euthanize them and bury the bodies. This seems wasteful and not good for the environment. In a world of starving people, it seems more humane to use the meat to help feed children who are starving.
    Even the American Veterinary Medical Association believes the horse slaughter houses it has inspected, kill the horses in a humane manner. This includes the modern facilities in Mexico.
    If this bill passes, more horses will be abandoned and left to starve or die of dehydration. Just look at the mess the BLM has. Too many horses and not enough grass and water. It seems more humane to slaughter these animals, because starvation is a slow and hard way to die.
    Please read this:

    https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/FAQs/Pages/Frequently-asked-questions-about-unwanted-horses-and-horse-slaughter.aspx

    Also read this:

    https://www.avma.org/News/JAVMANews/Pages/090301h.aspx

    Reply
  • July 20, 2015 at 9:57 am
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    “You can lead a person to knowledge, but you can’t make them think.” M. Roberts @Randy Jannsen. Btw, it’s breeding, not breading.

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  • July 20, 2015 at 10:08 am
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    Watch as many YouTube videos on horse slaughter then decide if you believe it’s humane. From the moment the horses are forced into cattle trucks, they have no support for their footing (stops and turns). No water or food is provided. Their lives are filled with terror from that moment they are sent to slaughter. They use stun guns that are used for cattle to kill them. But because horses have much longer necks they shy away from the guns. Repeated hits with the guns are made. At times, they’ll send horses to the slaughter room alive, while they are held by a rope on one hind leg, upside down, and usually awake before someone slits their throats. They don’t die peacefully or with any comfort. As far as euthanizing a horse and burying, why on earth would this be an environmental problem? Ask the horse farms in Kentucky if their land is wrecked from burying their horses. Mine certainly wasn’t. I have buried over 25 horses in my lifetime and never has it caused any problem. I just had to pay for the honor of caring for a beloved horse rather than getting a few dollars from a kill buyer. Maybe you should google some of the great places that give horses a forever home. Often rescuing them from cooperative kill buyers. Sorry, but you are way wrong thinking that horse slaughter is humane. Whoever gave you that idea never loved a horse.

    Reply

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