On July 31, lawmakers in Washington, D.C., heard from equine welfare advocates during a House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing regarding passage of a new bill that would ban slaughter of U.S. horses for consumption abroad.
According to Associated Press reports, witnesses at the House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing “recounted graphic stories of the methods of slaughter and provided photos of bloodied horses.”
The Associated Press quoted one of the witnesses, Nicholas Dodman, a founder of Veterinarians for Equine Welfare, as saying, “From the transport of horses on inappropriate conveyances for long periods of time without food, water or rest—to the very ugly slaughter process in which horses react with pain and fear, no evidence exists to support the claim that horse slaughter is a form of humane euthanasia.”
The last three horse slaughterhouses in the United States closed in 2007, but horses are currently being exported to Mexico and Canada for slaughter there.
Still, not everyone is in favor of a ban on slaughter. The Associated Press quoted Douglas Corey, former president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, as saying, “Those of us who are in the field every day practicing equine medicine know the harsh realities confronting horses that are unwanted. Horses are left unsold at auctions, even with a rock-bottom sale price. Others endure a worse fate of being neglected by their owners or abandonment.”
According to Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) federal policy advisor Liz Ross, slaughter proponents have an uphill battle. She says the new bill has already garnered tremendous bipartisan support. “This issue has been vetted in Congress on multiple occasions and every time any measure to prohibit or restrict horse slaughter comes up for a vote the tally is overwhelming in favor of ending this form of animal cruelty.”