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Monday, July 11, 2011

Horse Slaughter Prevention Bills and Issues

Tadlock Cowan
Analyst in Natural Resources and Rural Development

In 2006, two Texas plants and one in Illinois slaughtered nearly 105,000 horses for human food, mainly for European and Asian consumers. In 2007, court action effectively closed the Texas plants, and a state ban in Illinois closed that plant. However, horses continue to be shipped to Mexico and Canada for slaughter, and several states have explored opening horse slaughtering facilities. Animal rights activists and advocates for horses continue to press Congress for a federal ban. Lawmakers have prohibited the use of funds or user fees for inspection of horses for human food in several years’ appropriations measures, including FY2010 (P.L. 111-80). Pending at the start of the second session of the 111th Congress were bills (H.R. 503, S. 727) that would have made it a crime to knowingly possess, ship, transport, sell, deliver, or receive any horse, carcass, or horse flesh intended for human consumption. The bills were referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, respectively, and no further action was taken. A provision in the House-passed FY2012 Agriculture appropriations bill (H.R. 2112, Section 739) would prohibit any funds to pay salaries or expenses to inspect horses under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 603).

In a June 2011 report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended action on the unintended consequences of ending horse slaughter in 2007. The report provided evidence of a rise in state and local investigations for horse neglect and more abandoned horses since 2007.

Date of Report: June 30, 2011
Number of Pages: 10
Order Number: RS21842
Price: $29.95

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