Horse Slaughter Numbers Increasing

On Sept. 21, the Humane Society of the United States issued a release calling for immediate action in the Senate on S.R.1915, a bill that, if passed and signed by the president, would stop the shipment of horses intended for slaughter. The House passed a similar bill (H.R.503) 263-146 earlier this month.

Top: Slaughter numbers for the first 36-week period for the past three years. Bottom: The number of horses sent to slaughter by year from 2005 to 1997.

"For the weeks ending August 26 and September 2, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), slaughter plants killed more horses than any other week in over a decade, processing 2,456 and 2,520 horses for human consumption, respectively," the release stated.

Also on the rise is the weekly average (1,905) of horses slaughtered in the United States in 2006, which is up 12% from last year's weekly average (1,708) at this time last year (36 weeks into the year). It has risen 66% from 2004's average for the same 36-week period.

According to the USDA, the number of horses sent to slaughter has been increasing since 2002 (2002, 42,312; 2003, 50,062; 2004, 66,183; 2005, 94,037). As of Sept. 21, 68,575 horses have been slaughtered in the United States in 2006. The number of horses shipped from the United States to Canada and Mexico is also on the rise.

"The number of horses shipped from the U.S. to Mexican slaughterhouses was up more than 100% over the 2006 weekly average of 165 to 355. The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act would ban horse slaughter within the U.S. for human consumption, and also ban the export of live horses for slaughter in other countries," the release continued.

However, Jack Finn, communications director for Nevada Sen. John Ensign (a sponsor of the bill), said the Senate might not have a chance to review the bill until 2007.

"With an abbreviated schedule in this session before we adjourn for elections and the recess, it doesn't look like we are going to have the time to get to it," said Finn. "You never know, but it probably will not be until next year."

About the Author

Chad Mendell

Chad Mendell is the former Managing Editor for TheHorse.com .

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