Legislative Updates

VICTORY! Senate votes to ban horse slaughter

We did it! The U.S. Senate passed an amendment today by a stunning 68-29 vote that prohibits the use of any federal taxpayer funds to slaughter horses for food exports.

The amendment, introduced by Senators John Ensign (R-NV) and Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), mirrors an amendment that passed the U.S. House of Representatives in June, which was led by Reps. John Sweeney (R-NY), John Spratt (D-SC), Nick Rahall (D-WV), and Ed Whitfield (R-KY). Together, these measures will effectively stop America's horses from being killed in three slaughterhouses in the U.S. that slaughter horses -- two in Texas and one in Illinois. The amendment also stops horses from being shipped to slaughterhouses in Canada or Mexico so that their meat can be exported to foreign countries.

This tremendous victory would not have been possible without your support and action. We received outstanding support for our major lobbying campaign to end horse slaughter and were able to mobilize our grassroots network. Every single Senate office heard from us, and because of your calls and emails they took notice. Click here to find our how your U.S. Senators voted.

"The time has come to put an end to the practice of slaughtering horses in America," said Sen. Ensign. "Horses have an important role in the history of our country, particularly the West, and they deserve our protection. As a senator and a veterinarian I am committed to doing what I can for these magnificent animals. Many of the horses sent to slaughter are perfectly healthy, and turning them over to slaughterhouses is inhumane and unnecessary."

"The market for horsemeat is not an American market," said Sen. Byrd. "Many Americans would be shocked to learn that our animals suffer such a fate, all in order to satisfy the tastes of those living in Europe and Asia."

In another welcome move, the Senate also approved two additional animal welfare amendments introduced by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI). One amendment would ensure that "downed livestock" -- animals too sick or injured to walk -- are not allowed into the human food supply. The second amendment would prohibit tax dollars from being used for research facilities that purchase animals from "Class B dealers" who traffic in family pets for research.

We are so grateful that you stood with us and helped achieve this incredible victory for animals, even as so many of our resources --  and so much of our attention -- has been turned towards helping the animal victims of Hurricane Katrina. Thank you for all you do on behalf of animals.


Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

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