Ban slaughter, bill urges

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European connoisseurs of horsemeat may no longer be able to rely on U.S. exports, should a new bill pass Congress.

European connoisseurs of horsemeat may no longer be able to rely on U.S. exports, should a new bill pass Congress.

H.R. 3781, introduced by Rep. Connie Morella of Maryland, would ban theU.S. slaughter of horses for human consumption abroad and in the U.S. andprohibit horses from being transported to another country for slaughter.

Jonathan Dean, press secretary for Morella, admits very little horseconsumption occurs in the U.S.

"Most, if not all Americans, don't eat horsemeat nor raise horsesfor human consumption," he says.

Instead, the driver for the bill, according to Dean is "Becauseof the sad fact that last year more than 50,000 majestic horses were slaughteredin our country for human consumption abroad. This number is on the rise."

These horses are being slaughtered at a very specific type of slaughterhouse.

"These are foreign-owned slaughterhouses (in the U.S.) that arekilling these majestic animals for people in other countries," saysDean. "They are not American slaughterhouses."

The bill, which was introduced in mid-February, also forbids the transportof horseflesh designated for human consumption. Other bill supporters includeNew York Representatives Benjamin Gilman and Maurice Hinchey, Stephen Hornand Tom Lantos of California, Walter Jones Jr. of North Carolina, and FrankPallone of New Jersey.

Congressional supporters say they hope the bill will end horse slaughterin the United States and prevent slaughtering of U.S. horses in neighboringcountries.

Opposition's position

The bill's opposition contends horses that are no longer effective forphysical reasons will only be subjected to more suffering.

Dean argues "there are other avenues," such as donating horsesto rescue organizations, making arrangements to have them sent to retirementfarms.

Also, he adds, "This bill is for human consumption - slaughterhouses- not for humane euthanization of sick or dying animals. This bill is veryspecific. It only would ban slaughter of horses for human consumption."

The American Association of Equine Practitioners and American VeterinaryMedical Association were not immediately available for comment.

The full text of House Resolution 3781 can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov/

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