South Dakota Horse Slaughter Bill Defeated

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pierre, SD -- The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) today praised the South Dakota Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee's rejection of S.B. 170, a bill that would have pumped up to $1 million of state funds into the construction of a horse slaughter facility. AWI submitted testimony opposing the legislation, urging legislators to consider the environmental, fiscal and social impacts the establishment of a horse slaughtering facility would have on the state.

The organization also encouraged members of the public to state their opinion about this harmful legislation. A resulting flood of calls and emails into the State Capitol of Pierre from concerned citizens across the country likely influenced the bill's demise. South Dakotans voiced their opposition, too; some residents traveled in sub-zero temperatures to testify before the committee in opposition to the bill.

"In light of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA), a hugely popular bill to ban horse slaughter that is currently before the US Congress, it would be fiscally foolhardy for South Dakota to enter into such a venture," said Chris Heyde, AWI's deputy director of government and legal affairs. "It would also be completely out of step with American values, which have resulted in the closure of all domestic horse slaughter plants."

While some members of the committee may have objected to what they perceived as "outside interference" from concerned citizens calling from other states, residents of other states also have a right to care whether South Dakota establishes such a facility, Heyde explained. The overwhelming majority of horses slaughtered at such a plant would have come from other states, so the impact of S.B. 170 would have gone well beyond South Dakota's state lines.

AWI continues to work with federal legislators to obtain passage of the AHSPA, introduced as S. 311 and H.R. 503 in the US Senate and the US House of Representatives, respectively. The non-partisan bill, which currently has 38 cosponsors in the Senate and 193 cosponsors in the House, will prohibit the domestic slaughter of horses for human consumption, as well as their export for the same purpose.

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Media Contact:
Liz Ross, (202) 337-2332

For over 56 years, AWI and its legislative arm, the Society for Animal Protective Legislation, have been the leading voice for animals across the country and on Capitol Hill. Please join us in our ongoing campaigns to reduce the sum total of pain and fear inflicted on animals by humans. Sign up for AWI eAlerts to receive the latest news on what you can do to help us protect all animals.