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June 5, 2005

Contact: Chris Heyde, National Horse Protection Coalition, 703-836-4300
Liz Ross, Doris Day Animal League, 202-546-1761 x30

Lawmakers Move to End Horse Slaughter

WASHINGTON, DC (June 6, 2005) -- Following a three-year effort, the House of Representatives will vote on a measure to prevent the slaughter of horses for human consumption in foreign markets. Approximately 65,000 American horses are killed cruelly in one of the three foreign-owned horse slaughter plants that operate in the United States and ship the flesh overseas to upscale meat markets and high-end restaurants.

Despite overwhelming public support and 228 bipartisan co-sponsors, last year's legislative efforts to protect American horses failed to move when the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act was refused a hearing before the Agriculture Committee of the House of Representatives.

"It is unconscionable that for decades, we have been using federal taxpayer dollars to support a practice that the American public is overwhelmingly opposed to," said Representative John Sweeney (R-NY). "The amendment I'll introduce, along with my colleagues John Spratt (D-SC), Nick Rahall (D-WV) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY), will prohibit federal taxpayer dollars from being spent on facilitating the export of horsemeat from the United States for sale to countries abroad."

"The vast majority of Americans are appalled that our horses continue to suffer such horrible cruelty during both long grueling journeys to slaughter plants and at the plants themselves. Horses can be hauled without food, water, rest or medical care for over 24 hours. Often the easily frightened animals are not properly rendered unconscious, so many horses are fully aware and sensitive to pain while proceeding through the slaughter process," said Chris Heyde, policy analyst for the Society of Protective Animal Legislation.

"Not only are there clearly humane concerns, but very real human safety concerns, too. Because Americans don't raise horses for their meat, these horses are being dosed up with all sorts of medicines that are dangerous for humans," stated Liz Ross of the Doris Day Animal League.

Sweeney also remarked, "We do not eat our horses in the United States and it makes good fiscal sense to prohibit any further waste of the American people's hard earned money for an industry that offers absolutely no economic value to the United States. Even more importantly, it is our moral responsibility as a humane nation to protect our equine pets, companions and athletes from the cruelty of horse slaughter."

A diverse coalition of equine industry professionals, humane groups and veterinarians support this amendment. The group urges Members of the House of Representatives to vote "Yes" on the Sweeney amendment to the 2006 Agricultural Appropriations Bill scheduled for consideration during the week of June 6, 2005.

For additional information on what you can do to stop this inhumane practice, log onto



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