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Voter poll points to wide opposition to US horse slaughter

February 2, 2012

Eighty per cent of American voters surveyed in a new poll opposed the slaughter of US horses for human consumption, it has been revealed.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (APSCA) said the nationwide survey reveals that American voters oppose horse slaughter overwhelmingly, regardless of their gender, political affiliation, whether they live in an urban or rural area, or their geographic location.

Lake Research Partners carried out the nationwide telephone survey with 1008 registered voters in mid-January.

"The overwhelming majority of Americans are not just against horse slaughter but are intensely opposed to this cruel practice," said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA government relations," she said.

"As more people learn that we are allowing our horses to be shuttled off to a gruesome death all for the sake of foreign gourmands, they are outraged and opposition for this grisly act is growing.

"Anyone who has been to the movies lately knows the price horses have paid by carrying us to war, building our nation, and serving our entertainment and companionship needs. Americans have a responsibility to protect these intelligent, sensitive animals from being butchered."

The ASPCA said horse slaughter was inherently cruel because the biology of horses made them difficult to stun. There were also concerns around drug traceability, it said.

Most horses killed for human consumption were in good condition and could go on to lead productive lives in loving homes, the ASPCA said.

"They just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time - and this means that any horse, no matter how loved, is just one bad sale away from the slaughterhouse until we ban this practice," the registered charity said in a statement.

Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La) said: "As a lifelong horse lover and rider, I believe that horses deserve to be treated with respect, and I recognize that horse slaughter has no place in our country as horses are not raised as livestock here, but as companion animals.

"I will continue working with my colleagues in Congress and other advocates to ensure that the American people are heard and that we stop this inhumane practice once and for all."

The last US horse slaughterhouses closed in 2007. Despite the fact that Americans do not eat horsemeat, Congress recently failed to continue defunding horsemeat inspections, making it legal for horse slaughterhouses to reopen.

The ASPCA urged Americans to support the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 2966 and S. 1176), which would prohibit the sale and transport of horses for slaughter in the United States, as well as across the border to Canada and Mexico.

The passing of the legislation would end the current export and slaughter of about 100,000 American horses each year, it said.

Perry noted: "Using tax dollars to fund this inhumane and controversial practice is a wildly unpopular decision, as our research confirms, and has fueled the fire for a complete ban on horse slaughter."

The margin of error in the survey for the total sample was plus or minus 3.09 percentage points, and larger for sub-groups. The information gathered was slightly weighted by gender, race, age, and region to ensure a comprehensive representation of registered voters in the US.



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