Breaking news: Key Senate committee says ‘neigh’ to reopening U.S. horse slaughter plants

By on July 20, 2017 with 8 Comments

Today, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee – whose members constitute nearly a third of the entire chamber – voted with nary a controversy in favor of an amendment to bar any horse slaughter plants from opening in the United States. Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., led the bipartisan effort, with fellow committee members Sens. Christopher Coons, D-Del., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., cosponsoring the amendment in a great display of strength for the anti-slaughter stance.

This vote comes just a week after a closely divided House committee voted in favor of horse slaughter. The House and Senate committees are now in disagreement, and key lawmakers will have to settle this item among others in dispute.

But we’ll have a leg up in those negotiations because today’s vote in the Senate was an emphatic statement against horse slaughter for human consumption. Given the overwhelming support we have among Republicans and Democrats, and the intensity of opposition to horse slaughter among so many Senators, it puts us in a stronger position to prevail.

As U.S. Senator Tom Udall stated, “Most Americans find the idea of slaughtering horses for human consumption repulsive, and there is no reason the federal government should contribute to it in any way. This amendment is a strong step forward, and I will keep fighting to prohibit horse slaughter in the United States.”

The idea of slaughtering horses for human consumption will never gain traction here in the United States. Americans have an abiding appreciation for horses, honor their presence as pets and companions in our lives, and owe them a debt for their service. Those values will triumph over the selfish notion advanced by a relative handful of people who size them up, cut them up, and offer them up by the pound for a diminishing base of foreign consumers.

What’s more, what kind of businessperson would invest in an enterprise with this sort of regulatory overhang on it? If the worst happened and Congress gave a one-year nod to open horse slaughter plants, why would any savvy businessperson invest major capital in an enterprise that could be nixed in a flash. The vote in the House Committee was the first time the pro-slaughter people have prevailed in any Congressional setting in a long time, and I think it was a fluke. Remember, there is major support for a broader anti-slaughter bill – the SAFE Act – to ban any horse slaughter for human consumption in the United States and the export of live American horses to Canada or Mexico for that purpose.

A businessperson investing in horse slaughter is like someone opening a dog meat restaurant or a cockfighting arena. The mere presence of it would stir the public to act and cause lawmakers and advocates to work to shut down such an operation with speed and authority.

We don’t round up dogs and cats for slaughter, and it should be unthinkable to do that to a species that helped us settle the nation. Our humane position is grounded on the notion that people who breed and own horses should act responsibly and provide lifetime care or transfer horses to someone who can. It’s a remarkable betrayal for people to enjoy and benefit from the physical and behavioral attributes of horses and then sell them off to a kill buyer when they’re done with them.

No one disputes that there are some homeless horses. But unlike the horse slaughter crowd that treats homelessness as an economic opportunity rather than a moral responsibility, we’re doing something about it. With the other members of the Homes for Horses Coalition, The HSUS works to actively promote the welfare and protection of horses and other equines. We provide care and homes to horses in need, advance the highest operating standards for equine rescue and retirement homes, and promote responsible horse ownership. We provide training for equine rescues through our Forever Foundation program, to provide rescued horses with skills that will help them find new homes. To help reduce overbreeding, we formed the Responsible Horse Breeders Council, comprised of horse breeders who work to decrease the number of surplus horses in the United States. More than 1,200 breeders have signed our Responsible Horse Breeder’s Pledge to help protect horses from neglect, starvation, and slaughter, by reducing the number of surplus horses in the United States.

The U.S. Senate sided with animal welfare, fiscal responsibility, and common sense today – and we applaud this decision. It’s a reminder that on the fights we engage, we must work as hard as we can and also put trust in good people to do the right thing.

Humane Society International saves 149 more dogs destined for butcher in South Korea

By on July 19, 2017 with 2 Comments
Humane Society International saves 149 more dogs destined for butcher in South Korea

As South Koreans get ready for the Bok Nal days of summer, which trigger a sharp increase in dog meat consumption in the country, Humane Society International (HSI) has pulled 149 more dogs from the terrible fate of being inhumanely killed and then carved up for use in soup. The dogs we’ve saved from the . . . 

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Breaking news: Perdue Farms doubles down on changing its business model for the better

By on July 17, 2017 with 6 Comments
Breaking news: Perdue Farms doubles down on changing its business model for the better

Maryland-based Perdue Farms, one of the biggest brands in the production of poultry raised for meat, is making one of the most important announcements of any major producer in the field. Last summer, The HSUS – along with Compassion in World Farming and Mercy For Animals – worked with Perdue to commit the company to . . . 

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State and federal lawmakers sniffing out checkoff cronyism

By on July 14, 2017 with 0 Comments
State and federal lawmakers sniffing out checkoff cronyism

To its credit, the California Senate Judiciary Committee stopped a bill to expand the state tax on cattle and dairy farmers to the tune of millions of dollars – a plan to put the funds into a “commission” that would be authorized to use the money for lobbying against animal welfare and family farmers. The . . . 

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Congressional attacks on wolves ramp up

By on July 13, 2017 with 4 Comments
Congressional attacks on wolves ramp up

It wasn’t enough that earlier this year a narrow majority of lawmakers in Congress targeted wolves and other native carnivores for destruction on 76 million acres of our national wildlife refuges in Alaska. Now, they are expanding that fight to National Park Service lands in Alaska – another 20 million acres, where they want to . . . 

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Breaking news: Key House committee votes to reopen horse slaughter plants in U.S.

By on July 12, 2017 with 147 Comments
Breaking news: Key House committee votes to reopen horse slaughter plants in U.S.

Today, the Appropriations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives voted narrowly to give the green light for the reopening of horse slaughter plants in the United States. There were 27 members of Congress who voted against the bipartisan amendment offered by Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., and Charlie Dent, R-Pa., to bar horse slaughter operations . . . 

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EPA gives thumbs up on vaccine to manage deer populations humanely

By on July 11, 2017 with 14 Comments
EPA gives thumbs up on vaccine to manage deer populations humanely

For years, when community residents became agitated about the presence of deer in their neighborhoods, government leaders and residents often defaulted to shooting or even killing the animals with arrows as a way to reduce their densities. Now, in a move that will help communities interested in considering a different and humane response to conflicts . . . 

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California dairy cows perish, while the state’s almond growers see opportunities for disrupted milk market

By on July 10, 2017 with 14 Comments
California dairy cows perish, while the state’s almond growers see opportunities for disrupted milk market

Last week, a heat wave, in tandem with a lack of adequate housing and other safeguards for the animals, resulted in thousands of dairy cows perishing in the punishing heat of California’s Central Valley. It’s one of the worst weather-related incidents to strike dairy herds in recent memory, and rendering plants in California are so . . . 

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Doping scandal adds to reputational issues for greyhound racing industry 

By on July 7, 2017 with 4 Comments
Doping scandal adds to reputational issues for greyhound racing industry 

In Florida, the hub of a withering U.S. greyhound racing industry, regulators identified 12 greyhounds with cocaine in their blood at the Bestbet Orange Park near Jacksonville, according to The Washington Post and First Coast News. One trainer, Charles McClellan, handled all of the dogs, an incriminating fact pattern. Cocaine is just one of many . . . 

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A revolution in animal welfare in Puerto Rico

By on July 6, 2017 with 0 Comments
A revolution in animal welfare in Puerto Rico

In 2015, The HSUS planted a stake in the ground in Puerto Rico. No longer would animal protection groups avert their gaze from the Commonwealth, with its nearly four million U.S. citizens. Thanks to one of our leading supporters in New Jersey, The HSUS hired a Commonwealth director. And in short order thereafter, we developed . . . 

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