News Release: Wild Horses Rushed to the Slaughterhouse
April 22, 2005 (Washington, DC) – A recent amendment to the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act has already resulted in the tragic end to the lives of six of America’s wild horses in Illinois after they were purchased from the Bureau of Land Management by a former “rodeo clown” from Oklahoma.
Last year, Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) slipped language into the Consolidated Appropriations bill that undermined the 1971 Act by permitting so-called “excess” horses and burros to be sold at auction “without limitation.” Yet months later, several horses were purchased an auction with slaughter as their obvious fate – they were bought last Friday and killed on Monday at Belgian owned Cavel International in Illinois.
Over 65,000 American horses were slaughtered last year in the United States to satisfy the demand for horsemeat in France, Italy, Belgium and Japan. Fortunately, two bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives in response to public demand to protect America’s wild horses from slaughter.
Representative Nick Rahall (D-WV), ranking member of the House Resources Committee, and Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY) introduced H.R. 297 to repeal the rider and restore the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act to its original language. Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) is sponsoring a companion bill, S. 576, in the Senate.
Upon learning of the death of these horses Representative Rahall said, “We feared this would happen, but we prayed that it would not, even without the legal protections that were stripped from America's wild horses in a legislative maneuver late last year. Unfortunately, the merchants of slaughter will not give up. What has transpired here is a wake up call to the Congress, and evidence as to why immediate action should be taken on my legislation to restore the ban on the commercial sale for slaughter of our Nation's wild horse heritage."
The Society for Animal Protective Legislation has worked for several years on the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act to ban all horse slaughter in the United States, and to prohibit the export of live horses for the same purpose. A bill with this goal in mind, H.R. 503, has been reintroduced by Representative John E. Sweeney (R-NY), Representative John Spratt (D-SC) and Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY).
"I am outraged that six wild, free horses sold by BLM were slaughtered for human consumption in less than 3 days. This underscores the need that we must end all horse slaughter in the US. Our horses, wild or domestic, deserve a better fate than slaughter for human consumption in Europe and Asia. If you oppose horse slaughter, please contact your representatives in Washington and urge them to cosponsor H.R. 503," stated Representative Whitfield.
Our horses desperately need these protections today; with wild horses already being sent to the slaughterhouse, your help is needed urgently. Please contact your representative and senators to ask for their support of these bills. To learn more about critical pieces of legislation on behalf of America's horses, or to find your member of Congress, visit www.saplonline.org.