Press Release
June 2, 2000
Equine Placement Network, Inc.
Press Releases

PA Legislators Endorse Cruelty to Horses
PA House Judiciary Committee Says
"Yes" to Shipping 3 Legged Horses

Harrisburg, PA - The PA House Judiciary Committee has given the thumbs up to pending legislation that would legalize the shipment of horses on three legs to slaughter in Texas, Canada, and Nebraska for human consumption overseas. The Judiciary Committee also endorsed the shipment of pregnant mares and foals to slaughter. Montgomery County Representative Raymond Bunt, Jr. offered the amendments to PA HB 590. Rep Bunt is also chairman of the PA House Agricultural & Rural Affairs Committee.

It is apparent that the PA Legislature, spurred on by the agricultural interests and pro horse slaughter groups is attempting to put an end to the stepped up enforcement of the current PA cruelty law at PA horse auctions. PA is taking a huge step backwards into the Dark Ages on the issue of animal cruelty as other states move forward in their efforts to raise the punishment for cruelty to animals. Even the flawed federal legislation, The Commercial Transportation of Horses To Slaughter Act's proposed regulations state that horses should bear weight on four legs. Results from polls taken both in New York, California and across the nation indicate overwhelmingly that Americans are opposed to the slaughter of horses.

The issue is about money and greed. Instead of euthanising an injured horse, irresponsible owners choose to ship their horses to auctions where the horses are purchased by dealers who then resell the horses at other auctions to dealers known in the horse industry as, "killer buyers". In the horse slaughter industry this is known as the "collection process". It can last several days, even weeks before an injured horse finally arrives at the slaughterhouse. Often these horses go down on the trailer and are dragged off the trailer at the slaughterhouse.

All national and local equine and animal protection organizations that oppose horse slaughter and PMU ranching are opposed to this bill.

The Equine Placement Network, EPN, is opposing PA HB 590, the horse transport bill, introduced by Representative Jim Lynch, Warren County.

The EPN has been working for passage of legislation in PA that will insure the safe and humane transport of horses to slaughter since 1996. The EPN is calling for an outright ban of double deck cattle trailers for the transport of horses and other safety standards for trailers used to transport horses to slaughter for human consumption overseas. The EPN has also called for a ban of the shipment of pregnant mares, foals and sick and injured horses to slaughter.

As currently drafted the EPN strongly believes HB 590 will legalize the cruel and barbaric treatment of horses.

This bill must be withdrawn immediately! The goal is to outlaw the use of double deck cattle trailers for the transport of horses, and all other equines, no matter what their final destination. New York outlawed these torture trailers 20 years ago. Recent stepped up enforcement of New York law has resulted in fines approaching $20,000 levied against the same three haulers who attend PA horse auctions. These haulers are not residents of PA.

Pennsylvania is home to the largest weekly horse auction east of the Mississippi averaging 200 to 250 horses per week with a large number of horses purchased by agents for foreign owned horse slaughterhouses located in Canada, Texas and Illinois. The horses are slaughtered for human consumption overseas in Europe and Japan. Horses purchased for slaughter are often transported to slaughter in trailers designed to transport cattle and hogs and which 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 or the very old. Being that enforcement of this legislation is best accomplished at the point of loading, it is imperative that Pennsylvania enact legislation that will ensure that all horses, no matter what their final destination, are transported using vehicles and methods that meet equine industry standards. Blind, sick, and injured horses should not be forced to endure more suffering so their owner can put a few dollars in their pocket. Irresponsible breeders should not profit from their lack of responsibility by sending a pregnant mare, or foal to slaughter.

Members of the Equine Placement Network have testified at hearings on this legislation and have also spoken at Equitana on the issue of the transportation of horses to slaughter. The Equine Placement Network looks forward to supporting effective legislation that will insure the safe and humane transportation of all horses, no matter what their final destination.

The Equine Placement Network is asking that you send in your letters, or phone calls of opposition to your PA State legislators.

Obviously the PA agricultural community will stop at nothing in their effort to legalize this barbaric treatment of horses. It is not unheard of in the legislature to add amendments at the last minute or in the middle of the night. The PA Legislature needs to hear the message loud and clear that the public wants this cruel and inhumane treatment of horses to end.


Call Rep Jim Lynch & urge that HB 590 be withdrawn.

Contrary to statements made by Rep. Lynch, the EPN understands this issue very well.


Related Stories

PA Cruelty Law
The Commercial Transportation of Horses To Slaughter Act of 1996
Downed Horse Dies At New Holland
NY Humane Transport Law
NY Does PA's Dirty Work
PA Convicts NY Shipper of Cruelty to Horses