Washington, DC—The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) commends the 111 members of the US House of Representatives who recently signed a bipartisan letter in support of defunding federal inspections of horse slaughter facilities. Blocking the US Department of Agriculture from using taxpayer dollars to inspect such facilities is a necessary step to prevent horse slaughter in the United States, and the sale of horse meat for human consumption.
The lawmakers’ letter was sent today to the House agriculture appropriations subcommittee as the federal government considers its spending priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. The administration separately requested that no federal funding be used to inspect horse slaughter facilities in its annual budget.
Led by Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and John Katko (R-NY), the letter notes that horse slaughter is “unavoidably cruel and also raises serious food safety concerns” since equines in this country are routinely “given a wide variety of therapeutic drugs and treatments banned for use on animals intended for human consumption.”
Reps. Schakowsky and Buchanan are also the lead sponsors of the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 961), which would permanently ban horse slaughter in the United States, as well as the export of American horses for slaughter abroad. Each year, roughly 100,000 American horses are transported to horse slaughter facilities in Canada and Mexico. The SAFE Act has already garnered 122 cosponsors in the House since being introduced in February.
The more than 100 representatives who signed the letter today also signaled their strong support for passing legislation like the SAFE Act in order to fully address the ongoing problem of horses being transported abroad for human consumption.
“Until Congress acts to pass legislation that would permanently ban horse slaughter, it’s essential that lawmakers continue to include provisions in annual spending bills that prevent taxpayer dollars from supporting this inhumane practice,” explained Joanna Grossman, Ph.D., equine program manager for AWI. “Americans overwhelmingly oppose horse slaughter and rightfully view horses as companion animals and cherished symbols of our nation’s history.
“Spending taxpayer dollars to prop up an industry that so many Americans vehemently oppose is fiscally irresponsible,” Grossman added. “We are grateful for the support of so many members of Congress to ensure that horse slaughter facilities remain shuttered on US soil.”
Margie Fishman, (202) 446-2128, [email protected]