fb - voice of agriculture

FB: Horse Slaughter Prevention Bill a Bad Idea

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 12, 2006 – The Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, S. 1915, would set a negative precedent by banning a livestock product for reasons other than food safety or public health, the American Farm Bureau Federation told Congress today. AFBF President Bob Stallman asked Senators to oppose the legislation.

“There is no evidence that suggests that products derived from horses pose any food safety or public health risk,” Stallman wrote in a letter to senators. He noted that facilities that process meat intended for interstate shipment already are inspected by the Agriculture Department for adherence to the Humane Slaughter Act, Federal Meat Inspection Act, and other federal animal health and food safety regulations.

The bill would ban the processing of horses for human consumption. Virtually all horsemeat processed in the U.S. is shipped to overseas markets.

The proposed legislation, if signed into law, would mandate unprecedented government authority over the animal agriculture sector without any scientific justification, according to AFBF. “Such action is a threat not only to equine owners but to all livestock producers,” Stallman said.

Although animal rights activists claim that the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act is an animal welfare bill, Stallman explained that its passage would actually be seriously detrimental to the humane care and treatment of horses. “The unintended consequence of eliminating this humane euthanasia option for horses would result in leaving as many as 100,000 horses each year to neglect and abandonment,” he said.

The proposed legislation does not establish standards of care for the estimated 2,700 additional rescue facilities that would be necessary in the U.S. for horses that could no longer be euthanized. It also does not provide funding for providing unwanted horses with proper care and veterinary treatment. According to the Animal Welfare Council, the total cost of enactment of this legislation would be well over $200 million in the first year alone.

The House passed a Farm Bureau-opposed companion bill, H.R. 503, on Sept. 7.

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Contacts: Tracy Taylor Grondine
(202) 406-3642
tracyg@fb.org
Mace Thornton
(202) 406-3641
macet@fb.org