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June 25, 2012

The Humane Society of the United States Applauds the New Jersey Senate for Passing Legislation to Ban Horse Slaughter

The Humane Society of the United States applauds the New Jersey Senate for passing A.2023/S.1976, legislation that prevents the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The bill was approved by an overwhelming, bi-partisan majority vote of 35 to 4. It was introduced in the Assembly by Assemblyman Ronald Dancer, R- Cream Ridge and in the Senate by Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union.

A.2023/S.1976 would make it illegal to slaughter horses for human consumption; ban the sale of horse meat or products derived from slaughtered horses; and ban the transport of horse meat or live horses for the purpose of slaughter.

No U.S. facilities slaughter horses for human consumption, but more than 100,000 horses in the United States are shipped every year to Canada and Mexico where they are slaughtered.

Horse slaughter harms efforts to rescue horses as rescue operators are routinely outbid by killer buyers at auctions. USDA statistics show that 92 percent of all horses sent to slaughter arrive in “good” condition—meaning they are sound, in good health and could go on to lead productive lives.

“The slaughter of horses for human consumption is a needless and cruel way to end the life of New Jersey’s state animal,” said Kathleen Schatzmann, The HSUS’ New Jersey state director. “With more than 80 percent of Americans opposed to the slaughter of horses for human consumption, New Jersey lawmakers listened to their constituents and passed A.2023. The Humane Society of the United States thanks Assemblyman Dancer for introducing A.2023 in the Assembly and once again recognizes Senator Lesniak for his humane leadership during this session.”

“I'm proud New Jersey is becoming the humane capital of the world,” said Sen. Lesniak. “Prohibiting the slaughter of horses and the sale of horseflesh for human consumption will help prevent the feared startup of horse slaughterhouses since the federal government last year lifted its ban on funding of USDA inspections.”

A U.S. House of Representatives committee voted last week to restore the funding ban which, if passed in the final Agriculture Appropriations bill, would prohibit the U.S. Department of Agriculture from spending tax dollars to facilitate the operation of horse slaughter plants. Also pending in the U.S. Congress is legislation that would prohibit horse slaughter in the United States and ban the export of American horses to slaughter in other countries. Senators Robert Menendez, D-NJ, and Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ, are cosponsors of S. 1176, the American Horse Slaughter Protection Act. Similar legislation pending in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 2966, has 165 cosponsors, including the majority of the members of the New Jersey delegation.

This is the third animal protection bill that Sen. Lesniak has championed in this session. Last week the New Jersey Senate approved legislation to ban the extreme confinement of breeding pigs in two-foot-wide metal gestation crates and to require certificates of registration for captive tigers.

Facts:

•    More than 100,000 American horses are exported for slaughter each year, mainly for consumption in Europe and Asia.
•    The slaughter pipeline is horribly cruel, with many of the horses suffering immensely during transport and the misguided and often repeated attempts to render them unconscious. USDA has documented the abuse and misery horses suffered at slaughterhouses in the U.S. before the last remaining plants closed in 2007.
•    Virtually all the horses used for meat spend most of their lives as work, competition or sport horses, companion animals or wild horses.
•    During their lives, horses who end up at slaughter are given a constant regimen of drugs and other substances which are either illegal for food animals, or are potentially dangerous to people who eat them.

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Media Contact: Raul Arce-Contreras, 301.721.6440, rcontreras@humanesociety.org

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