Washington, D.C. -- The need for federal legislation ending the slaughter of and providing safer transportation for American horses came to the forefront again last Tuesday, as we witnessed another horrific accident involving an overturned cattle trailer carrying 30 horses.
At around 6:00 am on May 18, 2010, Christopher Dobbin of Missouri fell asleep behind the wheel of a stock cattle trailer hauling horses bound for slaughter in Mexico to a temporary feedlot in Texas. Eleven of the 30 horses died as a result of the careless and inhumane transportation methods used by Dobbin, who was issued a reckless driving citation. This unfortunate accident underscores the desperate need for quick and thorough legislative action to end the slaughter of American horses and provide safer transportation for equines.
"This unfortunate incident is one more unwelcome reminder of the need for swift movement on federal legislation. Pending bills would require better treatment of animals being transported, provide safer roadways for drivers, and criminalize acts that lead to the slaughter of America’s horses," said Christine Sequenzia, federal policy advisor, Animal Welfare Institute (AWI).
AWI is actively working to achieve passage of the Horse Transportation Safety Act (H.R. 305), sponsored by Congressmen Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Steve Cohen (D-TN). H.R. 305 was introduced as a response to several earlier horrific accidents, including one in Illinois involving 59 draft horses being hauled in a double deck cattle trailer, 13 of whom died as a result. The Horse Transportation Safety Act would ban the transportation of horses in double deck trailers designed for shorter-necked species.
The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (S. 727/H.R. 503) was introduced by Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and John Ensign (R-NV) in the Senate and Congressmen John Conyers (D-MI) and Dan Burton (R-IN) in the House. This bill would finally put an end to sending American horses over U.S. borders to be slaughtered for human consumption. Horses have not been slaughtered in the U.S. for human consumption since remaining plants closed their doors in 2005. However, killer-buyers are still able to purchase American horses at U.S. auction houses, condemning more than 90,000 equines to inhumane transportation, grueling holding facilities and, finally, the cruelty of slaughter.
The Animal Welfare Institute commends advocates for speaking out against the inhumane transportation methods used to haul the horses involved in this incident and denounces sending American horses to slaughter. To learn more about what AWI and our efforts to end horse slaughter, visit http://www.awionline.org/.
Christine Sequenzia, AWI, (202) 337-2332
The Animal Welfare Institute has been working to alleviate the suffering inflicted on animals by humans since 1951. Please join us in our work to protect animals – visit our website to find out more and to sign up for AWI eAlerts: www.awionline.org.