Horse slaughter ban clears U.S. Senate & House
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2005:
WASHINGTON D.C.–The U.S. Senate on September 20, 2005 voted
68-29 to ban horse slaughter for human consumption for one year, as
an amendment to a USDA budget bill.
Introduced by Senator John Ensign (R-Nevada), the bill would
prevent the USDA from paying the wages and expenses of horse
slaughter and horse meat inspection staff.
An identically worded amendment jointly introduced by four
U.S. Representatives cleared the House 269-158 in June 2005.
“The House and Senate bills which contain the horse slaughter
amendments now go to conference committee to create a final law,”
explained Chris Heyde of the Society for Animal Protective
Legislation, the legislative arm of the Animal Protection Institute.
“As a result of the strong support for both the House and Senate
versions of this amendment, it is unlikely that the conference
committee will decide to omit the horse slaughter language from the
final budget. However,” Heyde cautioned, “because this is a budget
bill, after passage into law, it will be in effect for [only] one
fiscal year, beginning November 1.
“While legislation currently is pending in Congress to
permanently prohibit the trade and transport of live horses intended
for human consumption,” Heyde continued, “as well as banning the
actual slaughter of horses for human consumption (HR 503), that
legislation has not yet made its way through the Congressional
process. The budget amendment would serve as a stop-gap measure to
protect horses from slaughter for the next year.”
The three active U.S. horse slaughterhouses killed 58,736
horses for human consumption in 2004, according to the USDA. Horse
meat was exported to the European Union, Japan, Mexico and
About 20,000 horses per year are trucked from the U.S. to
As recently as 1990, U.S. slaughterhouses killed 315,000
horses, and Canadian slaughterhouses killed 235,000 more.
The U.S. horse slaughter toll may rise this year, though not
to nearly the 1990 level, due to an amendment to the 1971 Wild and
Free Ranging Horse and Burro Protection Act slipped through Congress
as a last-minute rider to the November 2004 Consolidated
Appropriations Act. The amendment ordered Bureau of Land Management
to sell “without limitation” any “excess” wild horse or burro who has
been impounded, who is more than 10 years of age, or who has been
offered for adoption three times without a taker.
The BLM has taken about 10,000 horses and burros from the
range in each of the past three years, and planned to take 10,000
more in 2005.
“In another welcome move,” said HSUS president Wayne Pacelle,
“the Senate also approved two additional animal welfare amendments
introduced by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI). One amendment would ensure
that downed livestock-animals too sick or injured to walk-are not
allowed into the human food supply. The second amendment would
prohibit tax dollars from being used for research facilities that buy
animals from dealers who traffic in family pets for research.”