(Edited press releases)
Legislators introduced horse slaughter prevention bills simultaneously Jan. 17 in both the United States House of Representatives and Senate in an effort to increase public awareness. Last year the bill was passed in the House with a 263 to 146 vote, but the Senate adjourned before members were able to vote on the bill.
Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana introduced the "Virgie S. Arden American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act," along with Nevada Sen. John Ensign and 11 original co-sponsors, according to a Humane Society of the United States press release. In the House, Reps. Janice Schakowsky, Ed Whitfield, John Spratt, and Nick Rahall, introduced the bill with 61 original co-sponsors.
"The time has come to put an end to the practice of slaughtering horses in America," said Ensign, one of two veterinarians in Congress. "Horses have an important role in the history of our country, particularly the West, and they deserve our protection. As a senator and a veterinarian, I am committed to doing what I can for these magnificent animals."
Earlier this month, Rahall and Whitfield introduced a slaughter ban on wild horses, and Kentucky Sen. Tom Buford introduced a horse slaughter bill for his state.
There are three horse slaughter plants in the United States, including two in Texas and one in Illinois. In 2006, approximately 100,000 horses were slaughtered in the United States, and another 33,400 were shipped to Canada, Japan, and Mexico for slaughter.