Published on Apr 15, 2010 - 12:48:17 PM
April 15, 2010 - The Humane Society of the United States applauds the California Senate for passing a resolution Thursday urging the U.S. Congress to pass the federal Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act. SJR 22, which passed by a 27-7 vote, extends support for the federal bill that would prohibit the long-distance transport and slaughter of American horses for human consumption.
"This measure reflects the respect Californians hold toward their animals, as shown by their overwhelming support for Proposition 2," said Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, D-Shafter, author of the resolution. "Horses in particular are widely regarded as treasured companions, and the distaste among California voters for the practice of killing and butchering them for meat would be hard to overstate."
Jennifer Fearing, The HSUS' California senior state director, added, "Horse owners who are struggling to care for their animals have many options. They can find them new homes, surrender them to a reputable horse rescue group, or, if necessary, have their animal humanely euthanized by their veterinarian. Shipping them hundreds of miles to Canada or Mexico where they meet a crude and painful fate is an unacceptable outcome."
Recognizing the special place that horses occupy in American culture, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 6, banning horse slaughter for human consumption, in 1998. Every year, however, approximately 100,000 American horses are shipped to Mexico and Canada to be slaughtered for food exports. Their meat is considered a delicacy by foreign gourmands. While California prohibits horse slaughter, California horses continue to be transported and then sold out-of-state for this purpose.
The federal bill, HR 503/S 727, is co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., as well as 24 other bi-partisan members of the U.S. House delegation from California. Both the House and Senate have voted by wide margins in previous sessions of Congress to stop horse slaughter, but the final policy remains incomplete. Congress has also defunded USDA inspections at horse slaughter plants.
The horse slaughter industry is fueled by a foreign demand for American horse meat. The USDA reports that more than 90 percent of all horses transported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter are healthy, young, and in good condition. "Kill buyers," the predatory individuals who buy horses for slaughter, often outbid families, private individuals and rescue groups for horses who would otherwise go to good, loving homes. A survey of California horse rescues demonstrates that kill buyers have intercepted horses going to good homes more than 650 times in recent years, demonstrating how this industry harms horses, rescue groups and horse owners. In addition, the process of transporting horses to slaughter entails travel in crowded trailers without food or water for days on end. Once the animals arrive at the slaughter plant, they face a cruel and horrific death.
Recent Canadian Horse Defence Coalition footage shows horses being shot in the face repeatedly until they were hoisted, still kicking, for dismemberment: