The PA Horse Transport Bill, HB 1139 was signed into law on June 25, 2001. Act 64 takes effect in 60 days.The bill passed the PA Senate on June 21, 2001 by a vote of 49-0. The bill passed the House 199-0.
The EPN appreciates all the individuals and organizations who have supported our efforts and worked toward passage of this legislation. The EPN applauds Rep Lynch for sponsoring this legislation and the PA Legislature for passing the Horse Transport Bill.Members of the EPN first approached the PA legislature in 1996 asking for legislation to ban the use of double deck cattle trailers in PA. Members of the EPN later 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. The EPN contacted the New York State Police in 1997 urging them to step up enforcement of NY law banning the use of double deck cattle trailers. The increased enforcement has resulted in numerous guilty convictions and $8000.00 paid in fines.
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 several thousand individual horse owners and enthusiasts, including 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist David O'Connor.
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.
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. Mad Cow Disease & Hoof & Mouth in Europe have driven up demand for horsemeat in Europe, resulting in more American horses being slaughtered 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).
Kiehl's PA conviction was overturned on appeal on June 25, 2001 in the Lancaster County Courthouse before Judge Farina. Judge Farina felt that the Commonwealth had not met it's burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Judge Farina did believe that the Commonwealth had met it's burden of proof if this were a civil case instead of a criminal case. However Judge Farina did admonish Mr. Kiehl to not use a double deck trailer to transport horses again.
Kiehl is scheduled to appear in court in Barker, NY on 32 misdemeanor counts of the illegal transport of horses. Possible fines are $32,000.Kiehl purchased horses at the New Holland Sales Stables on Feb. 19, 2001. Kiehl loaded cattle into the nose deck of the trailer at New Holland. Kiehl then had other dealers, including Zweist, bring him the horses at the Lebanon Valley Livestock Market in Fredricksburg, PA. Under the cover of darkness the men unloaded the horses from the stock trailers into the sale barn & then forced the horses into the bottom deck of the Eby double deck cattle trailer. Here is a picture a of what these horses were forced to jump down into. New York State Police stopped Kiehl when he crossed into NY in the early morning hours of February 20, 2001. Obviously Kiehl is trying to evade the PA State Police in Lancaster County who have previously convicted him of cruelty to horses for using a double deck trailer. Drug runners use the cover of darkness to commit their illegal activity. Just as drug runners turn on the runway lights so the approaching aircraft can land, Kiehl flashed his lights in the darkness so the stock trailers could locate the double decker. Kiehl has maintained to the news media that his Eby double deck trailer was made to transport horses. Since when did Eby Trailers, Blue Ball, PA start manufacturing double deck trailers to transport horses?
In l995 the horse transport bill was first brought to Representative Lynch for sponsorship in the Pennsylvania Legislature by Chris Berry of EPN.
The language of the original bill did not reflect the language submitted by EPN and was badly in need of some rather simple amendments.
Representative Lynch, for whatever reason, was unwilling to take the time to make the necessary amendments, therefore rendering the bill as drafted unsupportable. It was, however, EPN who provided and picked up the expenses on all the "experts" who testified during the subsequent committee hearings.
Then, if possible, the bill went from bad to worse. Representative Lynch accepted hostile amendments from the House Agriculture Committee that totally eviscerated the bill's purpose and intent.
It was EPN and Equine Advocates who did the right thing and ultimately killed the bill.
So it is this "gutted and killed" version, HB1139, introduced by EPN, which is today successfully working its way through the Pennsylvania Legislature without opposition and hopefully into law.
Where were PLAN, ASPCA and Federated Humane when EPN was trying to get the much-needed amendments? When the bill needed to be killed? As Antoinette Fitch reporter from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, stated, I interviewed those groups regarding this horrible debacle of a bill, and they would say, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water." What's wrong with these groups? There is no baby!
It was EPN who fought the good fight and would not compromise or abandon its principles for the sake of political expediency. Hats off to EPN for being able to create meaningful new laws without accepting harmful and counterproductive amendments in the process.
EPN I thank you. The horses thank you.Respectfully,