Update from Capitol Hill: The Good and the Bad and What's Next

You are here

July 21, 2017

It’s been an eventful week on Capitol Hill for horse protection issues, and the upshot is:  AMERICA’S HORSES ARE NOT YET SAFE FROM SLAUGHTER.

THE GOOD NEWS: Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations committee approved an amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill that would keep horse slaughter plants closed in the U.S. The amendment was a bipartisan effort sponsored by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Lindsey Graham (D-R), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chirstopher Coons (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jack Reed (D-RI).

However, last week the House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the Agriculture Appropriations Bill without the anti-horse slaughter provision. The bi partisan anti-slaughter amendment, offered by Reps. Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), was defeated by two votes. 

WHAT’S NEXT: That means that the differences between the two bills will be negotiated in conference committee or in negotiations for an Omnibus spending bill for Fiscal Year 2018. Legislation must be passed by September 30 to keep the government running in the new Fiscal Year, which begins on October 1.

THE BAD NEWS:  On Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee passed the Interior Appropriations bill with the “Stewart Amendment,” which authorizes the Bureau of Land Management to destroy healthy wild horses and burros. Rep. Stewart (R-UT) deceptively portrayed his amendment as limited to humane euthanasia, but, in reality, it is a slaughter amendment that would give the BLM license to kill wild horses and burros on a massive scale. The only restriction on this mass killing is that it cannot be done for commercial purposes, including for human consumption. However, killing healthy mustangs and burros for non-commercial purposes would be perfectly legal. That's not euthanasia; that's mass slaughter. 

WHAT’S NEXT: The Senate is expected to take up this bill in early September.  Based on yesterday’s vote regarding domestic horse slaughter, the Senate is much more supportive than the House when it comes to protecting America’s horses, so the chances of maintaining the ban on killing wild horses and burros are better in that chamber.

Any differences between the House and Senate Interior Appropriations bills will be worked out in conference committee or in negotiations for an Omnibus spending bill for Fiscal Year 2018. Legislation must be passed by September 30 to keep the government running in the new Fiscal Year, which begins on October 1.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Keep the pressure on representatives in Congress to MAINTAIN the ban on destroying healthy wild horses and burros and selling them for slaughter. Take Action Here.

Email us if you want to get more involved in your state and Congressional district!