On Sept. 20 the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly (68 to 29) in favor of an amendment to bar federal funds from being used to facilitate the slaughter of horses.
This means that there won’t be any funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to inspect the three foreign-owned slaughter plants in the United States, and no slaughter for human consumption can take place without USDA inspections.
“The time has come to put an end to the practice of slaughtering horses in America,” said Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), co-sponsor of the amendment. “Horses have an important role in the history of our country, particularly the West, and they deserve our protection. As a senator and a veterinarian, I am committed to doing what I can for these magnificent animals.”
The fiscal amendment had already passed by a landslide vote in the U.S. House of Representatives in June. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Ensign introduced the amendment in the Senate. In the House, the co-sponsors were John Sweeney (R-N.Y.), John Spratt (D-S.C.), Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) and Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.).
This legislation only cuts USDA spending for horse-slaughter inspection for one year. To permanently end horse slaughter in the United States, the House and Senate would have to pass H.R. 503, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.