The US Senate Appropriations Committee has backed a provision that would prevent any efforts to resume slaughtering horses for human consumption on US soil.
The amendment to the agriculture appropriations bill, offered by Senators Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., would disallow spending by the US Department of Agriculture in the 2015 financial year on inspections at prospective horse slaughter plants.
The amendment is identical to one the pair offered before the Senate Appropriations Committee last year, which was approved by a bipartisan roll call vote of 18-12.
The president’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year included a provision to block these inspections.
A similar spending prohibition in the 2014 omnibus spending bill temporarily halted aggressive attempts by horse slaughter proponents to open plants in New Mexico, Iowa and Missouri.
The Humane Society of the United States is urging Congress to include the amendment in its final spending bill for 2015 to prevent those entities from resuming their opportunistic efforts.
“The American people will never accept the idea of cruelly slaughtering our horses to be served up on foreign dinner plates,” said Michael Markarian, chief program and policy officer of the Humane Society of the United States.
“We applaud the US Senate Appropriations Committee for adopting the Landrieu-Graham Amendment to prevent taxpayer dollars from supporting an inhumane and wildly unpopular enterprise.”
The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) also voiced its approval of the committee’s vote.
“The tone on Capitol Hill regarding horse slaughter has changed over the last year,” its deputy director of government and legal affairs, Chris Heyde, said.
“While support for ending horse slaughter has always been strong, many more legislators now realize horse slaughter has run its course.
“Currently, no horse slaughter plants are attempting to open; AWI and other animal protection organizations have entered into a partnership with the Navajo Nation to ensure their horses do not go to slaughter; and humane end-of-life alternatives are being explored across the country.
“Now is the time to end horse slaughter for good and focus on positive equine welfare initiatives.”
The institute said while continuation of the annual defunding amendment was critical to ensure no horse slaughter plants could open in the US, its ultimate goal remained the passage of a federal bill to permanently ban the slaughter of horses in the country while also ensuring they were not exported to other countries for slaughter.