House Subcommittees Hear Slaughter Bill

In late July, two House subcommittees heard testimonies from horse industry leaders on H.R. 503, a bill to ban horse slaughter. On July 27, Agricultural Subcommittee members voted 37-3 to send the bill to the House floor and strongly recommended against its passage.

Before casting their votes, several legislators proposed what Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the head of agricultural committee, referred to as "unusual" amendments to H.R. 503, which included federal compensation for horse owners who want to use slaughter as a means of euthanasia (but wouldn't be allowed to do so under this legislation). Additionally, it was recommended to grandfather in the three existing slaughter plants--which would allow them to continue processing. All amendments proposed were accepted by voice vote.

Just two days prior, another panel of industry experts debated the bill in the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee. However, the committee members did not vote or change the bill.

Joe Barton (R-TX), chair of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee said, "I would have voted for last year's (version of the) bill if it came to a vote, but the more I've learned about it, the more I have come to be against it."

According to the bill, H.R. 503 will, "prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption, and for other purposes." A similar bill (S. 1915) awaits a hearing in the Senate.

After two days of hearings, two versions of H.R. 503 head to the House Rules Committee for a vote on Sept. 7. (For more information see

About the Author

Chad Mendell

Chad Mendell is the former Managing Editor for .

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