Lawmakers on a key committee have voted narrowly to back the reopening of horse slaughter plants in the US, with some branded hyprocrites by the head of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) over what he says is a feigned interest in protecting horses.
The Appropriations Committee of the US House of Representatives voted narrowly today in favor of clearing the way for the reopening of the nation’s horse slaughter plants.
Twenty-seven members of Congress voted against the bipartisan amendment offered by Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., and Charlie Dent, R-Pa., to bar horse slaughter operations in the US, while 25 supported it.
All but one Democrat on the committee voted to oppose what the president and chief executive of the HSUS, Wayne Pacelle, described as a dreadful idea, while 26 of the 30 Republicans favored it.
“The vote on the amendment was as unimaginable as the rhetoric from the horse slaughter crowd was hypocritical,” he observed in his blog, A Humane Nation.
“Unimaginable because American horses deserve a better fate than to be gathered up by a disreputable ‘kill buyer’ who outbids a rescuer at an auction, loaded onto an overcrowded truck, and then stunned, hoisted up by a leg, and pulled apart piece by piece – which is exactly what the 27 lawmakers who voted against the Roybal-Allard/Dent amendment are trying to sanction.
“We don’t do this to dogs or cats when we don’t have homes for them, and it should be unthinkable to do this to the domesticated animal that helped settle the nation. I pity the people who don’t see the majesty of these American icons and who are numb to their suffering.
“Hypocritical because the lawmakers who spoke out against the amendment to ban horse slaughter – again, these are the Representatives who want to allow horse slaughter – actually feigned an interest in protecting horses.
“A couple of them lamented the long-distance transport of American horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter for human consumption, and said that we might as well slaughter horses here in the United States so they don’t have to be transported.
“That logic would make a little sense until you realize that these same lawmakers are blocking a different bill backed by the HSUS that would forbid the transport of horses for slaughter for human consumption to other countries.
“Not one of the lawmakers who voted to reopen horse slaughter plants in the United States is a cosponsor of that broader anti-slaughter bill, the Safeguard American Food Experts (SAFE) Act, H.R. 113, which is led by two animal welfare champions — Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., and Janice Schakowsky, D-Ill.
“How can you lament the long-distance transport of horses for slaughter to Canada or Mexico and then fight the bill that addresses that very thing? You can do so only if you say one thing and do another.”
Pacelle said the defeat of the amendment to bar US-based horse slaughter plants from operating was an ugly start for the House Appropriations Committee chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J.
Pacelle noted that the newly anointed chairman represented a suburban district in New Jersey, and his constituents favored the HSUS position on the issue in droves.
“He defied their wishes on this vote, just as he defied their wishes earlier in the year in voting to overturn a Fish and Wildlife Service rule to stop the aerial tracking, landing, and shooting of grizzly bears, and to stop the shooting of wolves and other predators during their denning seasons on national wildlife refuges.”
Reps. Robert Aderholdt, R-Ala., Tom Cole, R-Okla., and Mark Amodei, R-Nev. also favored horse slaughter in the debate, Pacelle said. To their credit, Reps. Roybal-Allard, Dent, Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., Barbara Lee, D-Calif, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., spoke in favor of the ban on US horse slaughter.
Pacelle said the battle was not over, with congressional allies potentially able to offer the amendment on the House floor, when all House lawmakers would have a chance to vote on the issue.
“And if even that doesn’t happen, we expect to win a horse slaughter defund amendment in the Senate, which would give us a chance to prevail when the final bill is negotiated and sent to President Trump.”