Commercial Transportation of Horses to Slaughter Act Legislative History
Introduction by Senator Mitch McConnell, KY (R) 1994
THE HUMANE AND SAFE COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION OF HORSES FOR SLAUGHTER ACT OF 1994
Mr. President, today I am introducing legislation amending the Federal Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act to regulate the commercial transportation of horses to slaughter facilities. This is an area of great concern to me, the horse industry, and animal welfare groups. I am pleased that my bill is supported by the American Horse Council, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the American Horse Protection Association, the Society for Animal Protective Legislation, the American Humane Association.
Currently, some horses are being transported for long periods in overcrowded conditions without rest, food or water. Some vehicles used for transport have inadequate headroom and are not intended to transport large animals. Further, some of the horses transported have serious injuries which can be severely aggravated by the journey.
My legislation would give the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to correct these practices by regulating those in the business of transporting horses to processing facilities.
I want to make it clear that it is not my intention to either promote or prevent the commercial slaughter of horses. This industry has been in existence for a long time in this country, and I expect that it will continue to operate long into the future. My purpose in this legislation is to protect horses from unduly harsh and unpleasant treatment as they are transported across the country.
Horses occupy a central role in the traditions, history, and economy of Kentucky. Thousands of Kentuckians are employed either directly or indirectly by the horse industry. Horses have been good to Kentucky; and we should try to the maximum practical extent to be good to horses.
This bill would require that horses be rested off the vehicle after 24 hours, with access to food and water. Any vehicles used to transport the animals would have to have headroom of at least 6 feet 6 inches and interiors free of sharp edges. Transporting vehicles must be maintained in a sanitary condition, offer adequate ventilation and shelter from extremes of heat and cold, be large enough for the number of horses transported, and allow for the position of horses by sex and size. Finally, in order to be transported, horses must be physically fit to travel.
Enforcement of the act is placed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which presently regulates the slaughter process itself under the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. The Department would be authorized to work with State and local authorities to enforce the provisions of this bill. This bill, while correcting abuses that exist, will not be an excessive burden on the processing facilities, auctions, or the commercial transporters of these horses.
Unlike other livestock, the transportation of horses to processing facilities is often a lengthy process, because there are fewer facilities that handle horses and they are located in only a few areas. Moreover, not all of them operate on a full-time basis. The result is that the transporting of these animals requires special protection.
There are several States that have passed legislation to regulate the transportation of these horses, but most of the travel is interstate, across wide areas. This is why Federal legislation is needed. The shipment of horses over long distances in inappropriate trailers, without food or water, is unacceptable. This bill would extend Federal regulation to the commercial transport of horses to slaughter and assure the humane and safe conditions of that transport.
I invite all groups that are concerned about these horses to work with me in passing this legislation.
Note that American Horse Protection Association, AHPA, the Society for Animal Protective Legislation, SAPL, and the American Humane Association are supporting legislation that condones horses being transported 24 hours with no food, no water, and no rest!
Note that American Horse Protection Association, the Society for Animal Protective Legislation, the American Humane Association are condoning and legitimizing horse slaughter by putting legislation on the books that regulates slaughter.
Legislation 101 Tip:
Never ever support legislation that regulates the practice you are trying to prohibit. The opposition will always come back and argue that you have supported the practice you are trying to prohibit.
The goal is to ban the doubles to transport any horse no matter what its final destination, not regulate the doubles for horses.
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Help enforce PA, NY, & VT laws banning the use of double deck trailers
to transport any horse,
no matter what its final destination!
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