Monday, September 11, 2006

US House Goes Against White House and Votes to Outlaw Slaughtering of Horses for Food

A great step and a giant message. Remember that the House rarely goes against the White House. This seriously is a rare event as the White House fully supports slaughtering horses for food. Here’s a good idea of how twisted their logic of support is: "We have serious concerns that the welfare of these horses would be negatively impacted by a ban on slaughter," Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said in a letter released Thursday. Okayyyyy. So stopping slaughtering then would hurt them? Hummm.

The only problem now is that it must become law. This is an arduous journey and the Senate hasn’t even said ok to hearing it on it’s floor. And of course, Bush will veto it.

We’ll see what happens, but overall, an amazing development and promising for the future.

For more on the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act see:


House votes to outlaw horse slaughter

By LIBBY QUAID, AP Food and Farm Writer Thu Sep 7, 6:55 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The House brushed aside objections from horse doctors and the White House and voted Thursday to outlaw slaughtering horses for people to eat.

Critics of the practice made an emotional appeal, showing photographs of horses with bloodied and lacerated faces, the result of being crammed into trailers destined for slaughterhouses.

Celebrities also turned up the pressure: Actress Bo Derek was on hand for Thursday's vote, and country singer Willie Nelson and oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens have been campaigning against horse slaughter.

The House vote was 263-146. Lawmakers thought they had ended the practice with a vote last year, but instead of banning it outright, Congress yanked the salaries and expenses of federal inspectors. In response, the Bush administration simply started charging plants for inspections, and the slaughter continued.

"It is one of the most inhumane, brutal, shady practices going on in the U.S. today," said Rep. John Sweeney (news, bio, voting record), R-N.Y., a sponsor of the ban.

Sweeney argued that the slaughter of horses is different from the slaughter of cattle and chickens because horses, such as Mr. Ed, Secretariat and Silver, are American icons.

"They're as close to human as any animal you can get," said Rep. John Spratt (news, bio, voting record), D-S.C.

Added Rep. Christopher Shays (news, bio, voting record), R-Conn.: "The way a society treats its animals, particularly horses, speaks to the core values and morals of its citizens."

The bill's future is uncertain. The Senate has not acted on a similar bill, and Congress intends to finish its session by the end of the month.

The administration contends a ban would do more harm than good for horses.

"We have serious concerns that the welfare of these horses would be negatively impacted by a ban on slaughter," Agriculture Secretary
Mike Johanns said in a letter released Thursday.

American horse meat is sold mostly in Europe and Asia; some goes to U.S. zoos.

Defenders of horse slaughter said it offers a cheap and humane way to end a horse's life when the animal no longer is useful. They say many owners cannot afford to care for an unproductive horse.

"These unwanted horses are often sick, unfit or problem animals," said Rep. Collin Peterson (news, bio, voting record), D-Minn. "Many of them are already living in pain or discomfort, and tens of thousands more could be neglected, starved or abandoned if their owners no longer have processing available as an end-of-life option."

Supporters said a U.S. ban would likely send horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. Unlike other countries, U.S. law requires that horses and other livestock be unable to feel pain before they are killed.

"These facilities provide a humane alternative to additional suffering or possible dangerous situations," said GOP Rep. Bob Goodlatte (news, bio, voting record) of Virginia, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.

Horses are slaughtered at three foreign-owned plants — two in Texas and one in Illinois. In all, about 88,000 horses, mules and other equines were slaughtered last year, according to the Agriculture Department.

The administration had the backing of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the biggest horse doctors' group. The American Quarter Horse Association also supports the practice.

Opponents had the backing of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association as well as the Humane Society of the United States.

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