Five Things You Need To Know Right Now About Congress & America’s Horses

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#1. The House Appropriations Committee just approved two pro-slaughter measures that endanger the lives of America’s horses:

·         The FY 2018 Agriculture Appropriations Bill – Passed last week by the Committee, the bill does not include the longstanding prohibition on federal funding for USDA inspections of horse slaughter plants. Without such inspections, these slaughter factories cannot produce horsemeat for human consumption. The funding ban has been included in most spending bills since 2007, when the last U.S. slaughter plant closed, and it is has been a key mechanism for keeping this cruel industry from operating on U.S. soil.

·         The FY 2018 Interior Appropriations Bill -  Passed yesterday by the Committee, with the “Stewart Amendment,” which stripped the bill of the provision prohibiting the Bureau of Land Management from destroying healthy wild horses and burros. Stewart deceptively portrayed his amendment as limited to humane euthanasia, but make no mistake: It is a slaughter amendment that would give the BLM license to kill wild horses and burros on a massive scale. In the crosshairs are tens of thousands of wild horses and burros considered by the BLM to be “unadoptable” in holding facilities and tens of thousands more falsely labeled by the agency as  “excess” on the range. 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. 

#2 These bills ARE NOT YET LAW. Neither bill has passed the full House of Representatives. Both measures CAN AND MUST be stopped in the Senate.

·         Tomorrow (July 20), the Senate Appropriations Committee will consider the 2018 Agriculture Appropriations Bill. At the hearing, Senators Tom Udall and Lindsay Graham will introduce an amendment to restore the ban on funding for USDA inspections of horse slaughter plants to keep these slaughter factories shuttered. If you live in a state represented by a Senator on the Appropriations Committee, please call your Senator today ( 7/19) at 202-224-3121 and ask him or her to vote yes on the Udall/Graham amendment.

·         The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to take up the Interior Appropriations Bill after the August recess.

#3:  Both horse-killing measures are being deceptively promoted as “humane,” but every major animal welfare and horse advocacy group has come out against them.  

·         Allowing the predatory horse slaughter industry to re-establish itself on U.S. soil will lead to an increase in the numbers of horses slaughtered, crime rates (horse theft) and will bring horrific, polluting slaughter factories to U.S. communities, most likely those already suffering from poverty and environmental pollution.

·         Allowing the BLM to kill tens of thousands of healthy wild horses and burros is not humane euthanasia, as Mr. Stewart benignly and deceptively claims. It’s mass slaughter, whether it’s done for commercial purposes or to eradicate mustangs to make room for more welfare ranching on our public lands.

#4: The pro-horse slaughter forces are in for the long haul.

Their success to date is the culmination of a nearly ten-year-long, well-funded lobbying and public relations campaign waged by agriculture industry front groups. They have a plan. Step one: reopen American slaughterhouses for horses. Step two: sell our American wild horses to those slaughterhouses. Allowing the government to fund horse slaughter inspections and destroy healthy mustangs and burros are the first steps down that lethal path.

#5 The power of the people can and will prevail.

Our recent polling shows 80 percent of the public wants to protect our wild horses and burros from mass killing and slaughter. The support for wild horses cuts across party lines and geographic boundaries. Those voting for the mass killing of wild horses (Stewart, Calvert, Amodei, Frelinghuysen) are doing so despite the strong OPPOSITION from the vast majority of their constituents.

Our representatives must be held to account for their votes, and a great time to do this is next month, when they return to their districts for the August recess.