As expected H.R. 503, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, passed the U.S. House and will try to ride that momentum to passage in the Senate, which has defeated similar measures in the past. Proponents of the bill tried to move quickly in the Senate by attempting to bring it to the floor without going through the normal committee process.
The cattle, pig, poultry, and lamb industries have rightly seen this bill as alarming, as it bans the processing of animals for reasons other than science, safety or public health. It adversely affects property rights of livestock owners, and a disturbing trend that is yet another measure based on emotion and not science.
The horse industry has also responded with the understanding that this is a useful management option. Veterinarians have come out in strong opposition seeing horse processing as a way to keep horses from suffering, starving and mistreatment. The economic studies are also well documented, with the average value of a horse falling by over $300, and with the average cost of keeping a horse before vet expenses approaching $2,400 it is obvious that many owners will not be able to sustain a horse and bury them properly when they have outlived their usefulness.
The animal rights movement was correct in assuming that the emotion created with people's natural bond with horses that places them more in the role of companion animals than livestock was the place to launch this attack. While the overwhelming majority of agriculture organizations have come out in strong opposition to this bill, public sentiment would be solidly in favor. The animal rights movement has done a tremendous job of organizing their supporter who are absolutely overwhelming the opponents to this ban in contacting their elected officials.
-- Troy Marshall