During today’s markup of the FY2017 agriculture spending bill, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved the anti-horse slaughter amendment offered by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) and co-sponsored by Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chris Coons (D-DE) and Jack Reed (D-RI). The Udall-Kirk Amendment prevents the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from using taxpayer dollars to inspect horse slaughter facilities; without such inspections, the horse slaughter industry cannot resume in the United States.
“New Mexicans regularly write and call to ask me to ensure we never allow horse slaughter in the United States, and this amendment will ensure no federal dollars are used to allow the practice to exist,” said Senator Udall. “Horses are a beautiful symbol of Western independence. Most Americans find the idea of slaughtering horses for human consumption repulsive, and they have no tolerance for attempts to open horse slaughtering plants. This amendment is a strong step forward, and I will keep fighting to prohibit horse slaughter in the United States.”
“Illinois banned horse slaughter in 2007 and I support the end of the practice in the United States,” added Senator Kirk. “Americans have a long-established history with horses and overwhelmingly reject their slaughter for profit.”
Horse slaughter is inherently cruel, environmentally and economically devastating to local communities and unsafe for foreign consumers. The House Appropriations Committee approved an identical amendment in April, and the ASPCA thanks both committees for recognizing that it is irresponsible and wasteful to use taxpayer dollars to fund this brutal practice.
The ASPCA is also pleased that the Senate Appropriations Committee chose not to add language to the Agriculture Appropriations bill that would obstruct the organic animal welfare rule. Tens of thousands of ASPCA members have commented in support of the proposed rule, and we are anxious for the USDA to consider their support and finalize the rule swiftly.
The 2017 appropriations bill now moves to the Senate and House Floors. The ASPCA will continue working to make sure the slaughter defund language is retained in the final version of the bill passed by Congress.
While the Udall-Kirk Amendment prevents slaughterhouses from opening on U.S. soil for another year, it is not a permanent solution and does not prohibit the current practice of trucking U.S. horses to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. To address this issue, a bipartisan group of senators and representatives introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (S. 1214/H.R. 1942), a bill that would permanently ban horse slaughter in the U.S., end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat.