Animal Welfare Institute and National Black Farmers Association Launch "Project Wanted Horse"

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Washington, D.C. -- The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) today launched a national partnership to help American horses in need by finding them homes on farms operated by NBFA members.

The announcement of the "Project Wanted Horse" partnership comes as the US Congress considers the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (S. 311/ H.R. 503), working to disprove bill opponents' arguments that the campaign to end horse slaughter has resulted in a glut of unwanted horses in the United States and that slaughter is therefore necessary.

"One of the horse slaughter industry's main arguments is that there are no homes for these animals," said Chris Heyde, deputy director of government and legal affairs for AWI. "The coming together of our national organizations sends a significant message that these horses are valued and wanted."

"Project Wanted Horse" will ensure that horses rescued by equine protection organizations, from the slaughter pipeline, or from an abusive situation are placed on farms operated by NBFA's 94,000 members across the country. AWI will oversee the placement of horses with NBFA members. Each placed animal will be accompanied by a legally binding contract, ensuring quality lifetime care and that they will not be resold only to end up on the path to slaughter.

While horse slaughter no longer occurs in the United States, in 2007, more than 100,000 American horses were exported to Canada and Mexico, where they were killed, processed and exported for human consumption in Europe and Asia. Each year, thousands of horses are purchased at auction by killer-buyers, stolen from farms and acquired illegally. Across the border, they are often slaughtered using barbaric practices that are illegal in the United States, such as shooting and stabbing.

"Having seen the recent HBO 'Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel' segment on horse slaughtering, I had no choice but to act," said Dr. John Boyd, NBFA founder and president. "Horse slaughter, in all circumstances, is a violent, brutal process. Horses play an important role in our members' lives, not just because of their role on the farm, but because they are often part of our families. By joining with the Animal Welfare Institute, we hope to end the transportation and brutal killing of these animals for human consumption."

The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (S. 311/ H.R. 503), pending in both chambers of Congress, would outlaw the transportation of horses either domestically or internationally for slaughter. The legislation is sponsored by Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and John Ensign (R-NV), as well as Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), John Spratt (D-SC), Nick Rahall (D-WV) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY). S. 311 has 38 cosponsors in the Senate, including Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ), while H.R. 503 has 204 cosponsors in the House.

##30##

For more than 57 years, the Animal Welfare Institute has been the leading voice for animals across the country and on Capitol Hill to reduce the sum total of pain and fear inflicted on animals by humans. Find out more at: http://www.awionline.org/.

The National Black Farmers Association was founded in 1995. Today the NBFA has more than 94,000 members. For more information, please visit our Web site at: www.blackfarmers.org.