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Horse slaughter in Illinois

July 25, 2006

Contact: T. Boone Pickens

Legendary Oilman Testifies Before Congress to Ban Horse Slaughter

Billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce sub-committee today in support of The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 503), a strongly bipartisan bill to end the slaughter of horses in the United States for human consumption.

"I strongly oppose horse slaughter," said T. Boone Pickens, one of Forbes 400 richest Americans and founder of B.P. Capital LLC, a Dallas-based energy trading partnership, and Mesa Petroleum, one of the nation's largest independent producers of domestic oil and gas. A life-long animal lover, Pickens who, along with wife, Madeleine, has launched a crusade to end horse slaughter, told House sub-committee members that, "Horse slaughter is un- American. It's a black eye on our nation that demands action."

Although the slaughter of horses for human consumption is illegal in Pickens' home state of Texas, foreign-owned companies who process horsemeat here are using federal loopholes to continue killing horses. As a result, Texas provided a large part of the 39.5 million pounds of horsemeat shipped to France, Belgium and Japan in 2005.

Every day three horse slaughterhouses in the U.S., -- Dallas Crown in Kaufman, Texas, Beltex Corporation in Fort Worth, Texas and Cavel International in DeKalb, Illinois -- all foreign-owned, ship out thousands of pounds of fresh horsemeat bound for Paris' Charles DeGaulle airport. Bragging, "from the stable to table in four days," these plants slaughtered nearly 100,000 American horses last year alone.

The process begins when owners across the country take their horses to a legitimate sale, never suspecting that within days their horse could end up on a plate in a high-end restaurant in France. Three years ago, 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand ended up in a slaughterhouse in Japan. And because of the quick kill and export, these slaughter plants have become a convenient dumping ground for stolen horses. In fact, horse theft in California dropped 34 percent after that state instituted a ban on horse slaughter in 1998.

Horse slaughterhouses receive USDA oversight that costs taxpayers millions of dollars -- all for horsemeat that is sold and consumed as a delicacy in high-dollar markets and restaurants in Europe and Japan. Moreover, these slaughterhouses use accounting loopholes to pay little or no taxes -- shipping 100% of the horsemeat and the profits abroad.

"You would be shocked at the beautiful horses sent to these slaughterhouses," said Pickens, who earned national attention for funding the airlift rescue of stranded cats and dogs after Hurricane Katrina.

Nearly all of the Thoroughbreds, Arabians, quarter horses and wild mustangs arriving at these plants are healthy horses in good to excellent condition according to the USDA.

Every poll taken on this subject shows that Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to horse slaughter -- a recent Texas poll showed more than 70 percent opposed horse slaughter.

"Horses have a special place in American culture and history. They helped settle this country, and provided inspiration for the horsepower that now powers the vehicles that make this nation go," continued Pickens. "The 109th Congressional session can stop the unabated slaughter of horses that continues in our nation. I urge every American to contact their Congressional members and let them know these horses deserve better. Let's shut these killing factories down once and for all."

A bill to end the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the United States and the export of live horses for the same purpose, The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act was reintroduced in the House of Representatives by Congressional Horse Caucus Co-Chair John Sweeney (R-NY), Representative John Spratt (D-SC) and Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY). Senator and veterinarian John Ensign (R-NV) and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) have reintroduced an identical measure in the Senate.

The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act has the support of 200 co-sponsors and is widely supported in the U.S. House of Representatives and championed by more than 100 organizations, including such industry groups as the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Churchill Downs.

H.R. 503 is scheduled to go to a debate on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives the first week of September.

About T. Boone Pickens

One of Forbes 400 Richest Americans, T. Boone has been a world leader in the oil and gas industry for 50 years. He now runs BP Capital LLC, a Dallas- based energy trading partnership. Life-long animal lovers, T. Boone and Madeleine Pickens earned national attention by funding the airlift rescue of stranded cats and dogs after Hurricane Katrina.

American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 503 / S.1915)

A bill to end the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the United States and the export of live horses for the same purpose has been reintroduced in the House of Representatives by Congressional Horse Caucus Co- Chair John Sweeney (R-NY), Representative John Spratt (D-SC) and Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY). Senator and veterinarian John Ensign (R-NV) and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) have reintroduced an identical measure in the Senate.

 

 

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