Congress Reinstates Annual Ban on Horse Slaughter

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Attention Now Turns Toward Passage of the SAFE Act for Permanent Solution

Washington, DC – The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) commends the U.S. Congress for wisely reinstating the annual ban on the slaughtering of  horses in its Fiscal Year 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Act released late last night. The language, identical to what had been in effect every year since 2006—but removed last year—prevents the U.S. Department of Agriculture from expending funds to place inspectors in horse slaughter facilitates; such inspectors are required by federal law for the plants to operate in interstate commerce. Having this language in effect for the fiscal year ensures no horse slaughter facilities can open in the United States as Congress works to pass the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, which would place a permanent ban on horse slaughter in this country and prevent our horses from being exported to Canada or Mexico for slaughter.

“For the first time since AWI began the national campaign to end horse slaughter in 2001, I feel this action by Congress signals the end of horse slaughter in the United States,” said Chris Heyde, deputy director of government and legal affairs for AWI. “As we were talking to members of Congress about this important language, it was clear that support for an end to horse slaughter is growing and defense of this brutal and predatory industry is diminishing. Everyone now wants a permanent solution to shutting this industry down, and that is why we are committed to getting the SAFE Act passed.”

The language defunding horse slaughter inspections this fiscal year was sponsored by Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) and the late Rep. Bill Young (R-FL) and overwhelmingly approved by a voice in the House Appropriations Committee in early 2014. Soon after, identical language was offered by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) during the Senate Appropriations Committee markup and also approved by a voice vote. Congress is expected to vote on passage of the Omnibus Appropriations bill in the next few days before a temporary spending measure is set to expire. President Obama has already said he will sign the measure once it arrives on his desk.

“The debate over the reopening of U.S.-based horse slaughter plants has been settled for the time being,” noted Heyde. “Now it is critical that everyone turn their attention to passage of the SAFE Act. Without the SAFE Act, sponsored by Reps. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Jim Moran (D-VA) in the House and Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in the Senate, we could see the resumption of horse slaughter in the United States during the next fiscal year.”

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For More Information:
Chris Heyde, 202-446-2142, chris@awionline.org