The Conyers-Burton Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, H.R. 503 in the U.S. House of Representatives and S.B. 727 in the U.S. Senate, is still pending in Congress. It is time to pass this bill and stop the slaughter of American horses for human consumption.
Under this bill it would be illegal to "possess..., ship..., transport..., purchase.., sell... deliver..., or receive" in interstate or foreign commerce any horse "with the intent that it is to be slaughtered for human consumption". It would also be illegal under this bill to trade in horse flesh or carcass for the purpose of human consumption.
Violators face fines and jail time up to 3 years. If, however, the violator has no prior convictions and is moving 4 or fewer horses or less than 2,000 lbs of horse flesh, the jail time is only a year.
Horse slaughter for human consumption is illegal in the U.S. at this time, but American horses are still shipped to Mexico, Canada or other countries for slaughter, and their meat is sold generally as a delicacy in some countries.
American horses are companions, pets, and some used in racing are even called "athletes". Some participate in competitions or provide transportation or other services. But American horses are not raised for food. The slaughter pipeline, from the auctions where they are sold to kill buyers, during arduous transports to slaughter houses and while at the slaughter houses, is a terribly cruel ordeal for the horses. They suffer fear, panic, painful injuries left untreated, abuse and neglect. Many are slaughtered while still conscious. A recent video of the slaughter of a horse was deemed too graphic even for youtube. Yet, such cruelty is still legal?
Horse slaughter is also a negative for communities: Counties and cities where they are located report the slaughter houses overrun wastewater treatment plants, dump waste and blood, clog sewers, and create a bad smell that won't go away; horse slaughter means few jobs that are low paying in any event, poverty and substantial economic and financial loss for a community.
A number of states and communities rejected horse slaughter this year. (Go here for more information.) It's time for Congress to do the same!
Horse slaughter is cruel and inhumane. Horses suffer terribly during the ordeal of slaughter, and even when horse slaughter was legal in the U.S., the Government Accountability Office found animals going to slaughter while still conscious was a common problem. Horse slaughter is a seedy, outmoded practice that has no place in America.
While horse slaughter may benefit a few wealthy investors in other countries, it has meant no tax revenue for communities where there have been horse slaughter facilities. It has also meant economic and financial hardship, overrun wastewater treatment plants, dumping of waste and blood, nuisance smells and a general decline in the community. This is not what we need to rebuild America.
A recent study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, Association of phenylbutazone usage with horses bought for slaughter: A public health risk, proves meat from American horses is also not safe. Our horses are typically filled with drugs like bute which can be toxic to humans. Consumers and distributors in the EU have recently realized the danger from American horsemeat, as well as the cruelty of slaughter of our horses, and demand for horsemeat has declined significantly there.
This year a number of states rejected efforts to bring horse slaughter back to the U.S. It is more than time to end this atrocity still happening to thousands of American horses shipped to other countries for slaughter. Only a federal law can stop this. I ask you to help pass this law.