Monday night, the stroke of midnight marked not only the end of the Texas Legislature’s 80th session, but also the end of the line for two of the nation’s foreign-owned horse slaughter facilities. For four years, proponents of horse slaughter have tried to overturn a 1949 law that prohibits the sale, possession or transport of horsemeat for human consumption.
In recent weeks, one amendment was tacked on to an otherwise uncontroversial bill in the Texas Senate, but was removed when it reached the state’s House of Representatives. Pro-horse slaughter lobbyists only a few days ago were in search of other bills that could be amended to keep these plants open, but their efforts ceased when it was clear that they didn’t have the votes.
“Hundreds of thousands of Texans are breathing a sigh of relief that we’ve finally driven a stake through the dark heart of the horse slaughter industry,” says Susan Hendrix, vice president of Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN). “Even with some of the most influential lobbyists in Austin working as hired guns for the horse slaughter plants, it was clear to the majority of legislators that they were trying to defend a practice that was truly indefensible,” she adds.
With horse slaughter stopped in Texas and the sole operating plant in Illinois closed, it is critical that the US Congress act immediately to prevent American horses from being sent abroad for slaughter. Passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA), introduced as H.R. 503 and S. 311, is the only way to ensure horses do not suffer even greater cruelty by being shipped to plants in Mexico and Canada.
“The American Veterinary Medical Association and other groups that worked to keep horse slaughter plants open have stated that it would be cruel to send horses to Mexico, and this is the one issue we both agree on,” Heyde says.
For more on the status of Illinois horse slaughter, click here >>