For Immediate Release
COURT DECLARES HORSE SLAUGHTER TO BE ILLEGAL
Washington, D.C. (March 28, 2007) - In a 51-page opinion issued just hours ago, United States District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly held that the slaughter of horses in America violates federal law. In her opinion, issued in response to a lawsuit filed in February 2006 by the Society for Animal Protective Legislation (SAPL) and other humane organizations and individuals, Judge Kollar-Kotelly ruled that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to conduct an environmental impact review of its decision to allow the continuation of horse slaughter.
“Tonight, after years of legislation and litigation, America’s three horse slaughterhouses can no longer kill horses for human consumption,” states Chris Heyde, deputy legislative director for the Society for Animal Protective Legislation. “We call on Illinois-based Cavel International to work with the humane and rescue communities to find permanent safe homes for the hundreds of horses who were slated for slaughter, to give them a second chance at life.”
The rule that was vacated by the court, was promulgated by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to create a fee-for-service inspection process for horses slaughtered for human consumption. The rule circumvented a Congressionally approved amendment to the FY 2006 Agricultural Appropriations Act that cut federal funding for the required inspections. Because of continuing resolutions approved by Congress to fund the government, today's ruling is effective immediately.
There are three horse slaughterhouses in America, one in Illinois and two in Texas. Though the Texas plants were recently forced to stop slaughtering horses for human consumption when an appellate court upheld a Texas law making it illegal to sell, possess and transport horsemeat for sale for human consumption, the Illinois plant has been killing approximately 1,000 horses per week.
“The American public has overwhelmingly opposed the slaughter of America’s horses for human consumption and now the courts have declared horse slaughter to be illegal,” adds Heyde. “While horses will no longer be butchered in the U.S. they can be hauled under appalling conditions to a similarly brutal death in plants across the U.S. border. Congress must pass federal legislation to extend the protections to all horses and to send a clear message to those few who profit from this barbaric trade."
Currently pending in Congress are H.R. 503 and its Senate companion measure, S. 311, which would ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption and prohibit the transport of horses outside of the United States for slaughter.
The Society for Animal Protective Legislation, the Animal Welfare Institute's legislative arm, is the unsurpassed leader in obtaining laws to benefit animals in need, including the protection of domestic and wild horses. More information is available at www.saplonline.org/horses.htm.
For More Information Contact:
Chris Heyde (703) 836-4300