HORSE SLAUGHTER IN ILLINOIS
|Contact: Chris Heyde, (703) 836-4300
Dr. Lydia Gray (815) 337-5563
Horsemen's Council of Illinois Report Misrepresents Slaughter Issue
Washington, DC -- Representatives of the National Horse Protection Coalition (NHPC) were surprised to read a report issued recently by the Horsemen's Council of Illinois defending horse slaughter and attacking those who support legislation to end the cruel practice. The Coalition, comprised of horse industry organizations and leaders, veterinarians, equine rescues and humane groups, is dedicated to ending horse slaughter through passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 857) and owner education.
"When I learned that the Illinois Horsemen's Council supports horse slaughter and says a ban is going to hurt our industry, I was taken aback," says Nick Zito, national spokesman for the NHPC and a two-time Kentucky Derby winning trainer. "I have been a horseman almost all of my life, it is what I do every day, and to see them claim to represent the 'horse industry,' you can imagine I was a bit surprised. Horse slaughter is a dirty mark on our industry, which is why support for the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act and efforts to ban slaughter are growing."
A diverse group of leading organizations from the horse industry publicly and strongly oppose horse slaughter including the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Churchill Downs, Inc., Arlington Park Racetrack, the Texas Thoroughbred Association, the Utah Quarter Horse Association, the NY Racing Association and the NJ Racing Commission to mention a few.
Dr. Lydia Gray, DVM, Executive Director of the Illinois-based Hooved Animal Humane Society, stated, "As an equine veterinarian who also investigates abuse cases, I find it disingenuous that its defenders claim horse slaughter is a form of humane euthanasia akin to veterinary-administered euthanasia. The idea that cruelty cases will increase if horse slaughter is banned is just absurd, and couldn't be further from the truth. Horse slaughter and equine abuse are two separate and distinct forms of cruelty. The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act presents a clear opportunity to end one form of cruelty, and anyone who truly cares about horses should embrace this opportunity."
Numbers just released in Illinois show that equine abuse has dropped dramatically during the year in which the state's only horse slaughter plant has been closed. A similar report from California shows that equine cruelty cases have not increased since the state banned horse slaughter in 1998. In addition, numbers obtained from the California Bureau of Livestock Identification show that horse theft has dropped by 34% since the ban took effect in 1998.
"Banning horse slaughter is not only good for the industry, it is the right thing to do for the horses," says Zito.