Buchanan Seeks Permanent Ban on Horse Slaughter

Todays News

Photo courtesy Pixabay.

It’s been almost a decade since a series of horse thefts and slaughters in the Sarasota-Bradenton area sparked anger among area animal activists. Over that time, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, has continued to push for a U.S. ban on the killing of horses for meat.

The Congressman co-led a bipartisan letter with U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, demanding the prohibition the use of any U.S. tax dollars for horse slaughter. The lawmakers sent the letter to House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee leaders asking that the U.S Department of Agriculture instate a permanent ban on the practice enforced by federal food and safety inspectors.

“This overwhelmingly popular and fiscally responsible policy has been enacted for each year since Fiscal Year 2014 and for all but two years since 2005,” the letter reads. “Horse slaughter is an inherently cruel practice that 83% of Americans want to see permanently banned.”

The letter bore the signatures of 120 U.S. House members, including U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota.

“The slaughter of horses for human consumption is a barbaric practice that has no place in our country,” Buchanan said. “As co-chair of the Animal Protection Caucus in Congress, I look forward to continuing to lead the effort with Congresswoman Schakowsky to protect these majestic creatures.”

He has successfully pushed for Congress to impose restrictions in USDA’s budget each year since 2014, but the prohibition must be renewed each year.

The span of time for continuous bans coincidentally dates back to a series of local crimes in 2015 when individual stole horses off farms in east Sarasota County, around the same time a show horse was found butchered at a Parrish Farm. Deputies at the time told local media they believed that horse had been killed for its meat.

Different regions of South Florida continue to see spates of horse thefts, and three horses were found slaughters in Miami-Dade County earlier this year.

Buchanan the past few years had worked with Schakowsky on the legislative effort to ban horse slaughter in the U.S. completely.

The year-by-year restrictions have delivered an impact, with the last slaughterhouse dedicated to butchering horses closed about seven years ago.

But some slaughterhouses in the country continue to buy horses, and have opposed a ban on the practice of killing horses when the practice, at least at professional facilities, differs little from killing cows and pigs. Christian Stoltzfuss, an executive for New Holland Sales in Pennsylvania, told Horse & Rider last year that many horses sold for slaughter are past their prime and otherwise unwanted by farms.

“If they’re usable and we can find a home for them, I want to do that,” he told the trade publication. “But some are mentally or physically beyond repair. What are we going to do with the ones that don’t find a home?”

But animal rights groups are working with Buchanan and Schakowsky to shut down the practice of butchering horses for good. They say it’s a cruel way to end the life of many horses and supports a black market leading to the horse thefts and killings investigated in Florida and around the nation.

“With the last horse slaughter plant in the United States closing in 2007, Congress has continuously agreed that shutting down this predatory industry remains paramount in protecting our economy and loyal companions,” said Tracie Letterman, vice president of Federal Affairs for the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “The horse slaughter industry is inherently cruel, and its heinous acts begin the moment the horse is sold into the hands of the slaughterhouses.”

 

Photo courtesy Pixabay.

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