New Federal Horse Slaughter Bill Introduced

Legislation introduced July 23 to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee addresses the horse slaughter issue by linking the practice to animal cruelty and leaving enforcement to federal authorities.

According to some animal welfare advocates, the proposal represents the best chance for enacting federal anti-slaughter laws since the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R.503) has been blocked in House committees despite its passage by both houses of Congress.

"This bill is more defined and more focused and is attached to Title 18, which already deals with animal cruelty issues including dog fighting," said Chris Heyde, spokesman for the Animal Welfare Institute. "Also, enforcement will be done by the FBI and customs. These guys are professionals."

Sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), and U.S. Rep. Dan Burton, (R-Ind.), H.R. 6598 the "Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008" prohibits transport, sale, delivery, or export of horses for slaughter for human consumption. It would also criminalize the purchase, sale, delivery, or export of horsemeat intended for human consumption.

Violators would face fines and/or one year imprisonment for a first offense or one involving five or fewer horses, and fines and/or three years imprisonment for repeat offenses or those involving more than five horses.

Watch for updates on this legislation.

Click here to contact your Senator. Click here to contact your Representative.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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