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!