Law For Transportation To Slaughter Now Being Drafted

Regulations in support of the Commercial Transportation of Equine for Slaughter Act, passed by Congress on March 28, 1996, are now being drafted, according to Steve Ralls, American Horse Council director of legislative affairs. The landmark legislation, part of the Farm Bill, will regulate the way horses are transported to slaughter facilities, ensuring humane treatment of the animals. The legislation is strongly supported by the American Horse Council, as well as the American Horse Protection Association, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Humane Society, racing industry organizations and the Humane Society of the United States.

The USDA began drafting the regulations earlier this year. According to Ralls, the initial draft is expected to be completed by September 1998. When that step is completed, the draft will be printed in the Federal Register. Once it is printed, a period of no less than 60 days is provided for individuals and groups to read and comment on the draft. Once the comment period has closed, the USDA will review the comments and make revisions to the original draft as needed. The final draft will be printed in early 1999 in the Federal Register.

In September 1997, the Senate Appropriations Committee allocated $400,000 for the implementation of the Act in its 1998 Agriculture Appropriations Bill. The figure is similar to what the USDA estimated the start-up costs of the program would be. The House Appropriations Committee has also provided funds for enforcing the regulations in 1999.

The bill was originally introduced in the Senate by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and in the House of Representatives by Congressman Bill Goodling (R-PA). The legislation will provide the Secretary of Agriculture with the authority to regulate individuals who engage in transporting horses to slaughter facilities. The Act will regulate the food, water and rest provided to equines in transit and the segregation of stallions from other horses.

Once enacted, the Commercial Transportation of Equine for Slaughter Act will carry civil penalties for individuals who are found to be in violation of the Act's regulations.

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