Heads down re: hauling regs

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2001:

District justice Rodney Hartman of New Holland, Pennsylvania, on December 14 accepted a “guilty” plea from
Sugarcreek Livestock Trucking Inc., of Sugarcreek, Pennsyl-vania, and fined the firm $1,683 for 31 alleged violations of the Pennsylvania Horse Transport Law. Hartman on November 20 fined New Holland Sales Stables Inc. $1,550 in connection with the same case.

In effect since August 25, 2001, the Pennsylvania Horse Transport Law prohibits hauling horses in doubledecked trucks. Built to haul cattle and hogs, who stand lower, doubledecked trucks force horses to ride in a painfully unnatural position. The law was allegedly broken on September 4. All charges against trucker Sawn White were dropped, after White testified against the other defendants.

Similar prosecutions will not be forthcoming at the federal level for at least five more years, under proposed final enforcement regulations for the five-year-old Commercial Transportation of Horses to Slaughter Act, announced by the USDA on December 7.

The Humane Farming Association and other critics of the act predicted when the act was passed that failure to build statutory standards into it would render it ineffective, but the American Horse Protection Association and American Humane Association argued that stronger standards could be won through the regulatory process than by lobbying Congress.

“Double-deck trailers will continue to be legal [for hauling horses] for another five years,” objected Christine Berry of the Equine Protection Network. “It will be legal to ship horses for 28 hours with no water, no food, and no rest. Full-term pregnant mares are to be sent to slaughter, as long as the owner/shipper does not believe the mare will foal during the trip. The owner/shipper, the very person who stands to lose money if a horse is not shipped, is in charge of determining whether a horse is fit to ship.

Penalties will be civil rather than criminal. In other words, law enforcement cannot enforce the act. Enforcement will be at the slaughterhouse, not at auctions or feedlots prior to loading. The language is performance-based instead of engineering-based. Performance-based language makes enforcement more difficult.” The final regulations are opposed by at least 10 major horse advocacy organizations and 12 national animal protection groups, including the AHA as well as the American SPCA, Fund for Animals, Humane Society of the U.S., and HFA.

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