The Equine Protection Network, Inc., EPN, has led the fight in PA since 1996 to pass legislation in Pennsylvania that would outlaw the use of double deck cattle trailers to transport horses, and has the support of over 25 PA and national horse industry organizations along with thousands of individual horse owners and enthusiasts, including 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist David O'Connor.
On March 21, 2001 PA House Bill 1139 was introduced by Representative Jim Lynch, Warren County, (R). The bill has over 60 co-sponsors. The bill will amend the PA anti-cruelty law, Title 18, Section 5511(e), making it illegal to transport any equine animal in a conveyance with two or more levels. Each equine animal is a separate offense. First violation is a summary. Second violation is a third degree misdemeanor for each equine animal.
The EPN SUPPORTS this legislation and is asking PA residents to call & write their PA state legislators and ask them to support PA HB 1139, the Horse Transport Bill.
Members of the EPN testified on the cruel and inhumane transport of horses in double deck cattle trailers in June 1998 at a House Judiciary Committee hearing held in Gettsyburg, PA.
Since 1998 the EPN has pressed for the stepped up enforcement of New York State's Agriculture and Markets Law, Sec. 359-a, which bans double deck trailers to transport horses. Enforcement efforts by the New York State Police, NYSP, have resulted in over 300 arrests and fines approaching $20,000. Several of the arrests came when New York "killer buyers" crossed into NY from PA after purchasing horses at PA horse auctions. The horses are destined for slaughter in Canada for human consumption overseas.
The EPN has also pressed for more enforcement of PA's anti-cruelty laws as they apply to horses. In June 2000 PA State Police, Troop J in Lancaster County, stopped a double deck cattle trailer with 17 horses and mules inside. The horses and mules were being shipped from the New Holland Sales Stables and Mel' Stables to Watertown, NY before being shipped to Canada for slaughter. An undetermined number of hogs were on the top deck of the trailer. The owner, Arlow Kiehl, Watertown, NY and his driver Harold Rodgers, Lowville, NY were both convicted of cruelty to horses under PA's current anti-cruelty law, Title 18, Sec. 5511 (e). Mr. Kiehl is appealing his conviction on April 16, 2001 in Lancaster County Court.
On February 20, 2001 NYSP in Barker, NY on I-81 stopped a double deck trailer filled with horses coming from PA. Arlow Kiehl, Watertown, NY has been charged with 32 misdemeanor counts of the illegal transport of horses. Each count carries a maximum $1000.00 fine and up to a year in jail.
The horses purchased by the "killer buyers" are slaughtered for human consumption overseas in Europe and Japan. Horses purchased for slaughter are often transported in trailers designed to transport cattle and hogs. Trailers designed for cattle and hogs do not meet equine industry standards for vehicles used to transport horses. This, in conjunction with overcrowding and a lack of segregation often cause injury and even death to the horses being transported. The lack of food, water and rest contribute to the arduous journey, making it especially inhumane for blind, sick, injured, and/or the very young and the very old. Enforcement is needed at the point of loading to effectively end this cruel and inhumane transport. It is imperative that Pennsylvania enacts legislation that bans the use of double deck cattle trailers to transport any horse, no matter what their final destination.
Blind, sick, and injured horses should not be forced to endure more suffering so their owner can put a few dollars in their pocket and destroy the evidence of their neglect and irresponsibility. Irresponsible breeders should not profit from their lack of responsibility by sending a pregnant mare, or foal to slaughter.
The Equine Protection Network is Pressing For: