In July 2017, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee voted on whether or not the U.S. would allow horse slaughtering plants to reopen on U.S. soil. The results were resounding. The Committee voted yes when asked whether or not they would pass the Udall-Graham-Coons-Feinsten-Reed-Collins-Shaheen Amendment that prevents horse slaughtering plants from reopening on U.S. soil.
The Senate passed the amendment to the fiscal year 2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill in response to the House Appropriations Committee’s unfortunate failure to pass a similar amendment the previous week. The success of this amendment means that horse lovers have a final chance to continue to prohibit the slaughter of horses in the final law once it passes.
The House and the Senate will each work on different versions of the annual Appropriations bill. After both the House and the Senate pass their respective bills, they will come together in an attempt to merge the two bills as they decide which amendment provisions to keep which ones they will discard. For the sake of horses in the U.S. (especially wild horses), it is pertinent that this prohibition passes.
For over 10 years, Congress has decided that the U.S. government should indeed not allocate tax money to subsidize the industry of horse slaughtering. Outcry from individual voters, animal welfare organizations, horse rescues, veterinarians, and various other interested groups have been compelling enough for most legislators on the matter.
Polls across the nation, both federal and state, have resoundingly demonstrated that the majority of Americans do not view horses as livestock to be eaten, but rather as companion animals and pets, similar to cats and dogs. As pets, work, and wonderful therapy creatures, Americans refuse to allow horses to be served on dinner plates in U.S. or foreign diners.
It is, however, unfortunate that this amendment does not completely eradicate horse slaughter altogether. While it is true that the number of American horses that are shipped overseas for slaughter has declined by 44 percent, there are still many horses that are killed in this horrendous practice. Once the final law forbids horse slaughtering plants from operating on U.S. soil, the next step will be to pass the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 113), which will finally put an end to both the slaughtering of horses in the U.S. as well as the shipping of horses to other countries to be slaughtered.
While the amendment to prevent horse slaughter plants from reopening on U.S. soil was successful, the plight of U.S. wild horses was not so great.
The Committee approved an amendment that would allow the killing of thousands of perfectly healthy and adoptable wild U.S. Mustangs.
The U.S. had previously protected our nation’s wild horses and burros from massacre for several decades, but the Trump budget proposal is trying to allow the government to kills thousands of horses that are being held prisoner in holding pens for the sake of saving money. Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) presented this amendment that would remove the U.S. protections against killing any wild horse and it passed, though it had strong objections from several members of the committee. Americans and horse lover must speak out against the murder of thousands of innocent lives and force the Senate into voting against the amendment in the final vote.
Congress will take August of 2017 off for a recess. It is during this time that the ASPCA urges horse lovers and organizations to write and call their legislators to voice their resounding opinions against the killing of wild horses as well as the slaughter of horses in the U.S. or the shipping of horses to foreign soil to be slaughtered. For more information on what you can do, you can contact the ASPCA’s Horse Action Team to become armed with all the information you need to help fight for the horses, both wild and domestic.