Defunding Horse Slaughter

We in New Jersey love horses. Horses are our loyal companions, and they stand by us as our partners in work and sport. They are symbols of our spirit and freedom. We recognize that we owe it to horses to respect and protect them, and that’s why in 2012, our state banned slaughtering horses for human consumption. The people of New Jersey strongly oppose this vile industry.Yet, there are some looking to make a profit by condemning these loyal companions to a gruesome death in a slaughter plant. The predatory slaughter industry gathers up these faithful companions only to turn them into meat exports for profit. Horses unlucky enough to end up in the hands of kill buyers suffer terribly from the auction to the slaughter process itself. When horse slaughter plants operated in the U.S., it proved to be no better – the USDA documented horrific injuries and cruelty.

Not only is slaughtering horses cruel, but it is an abhorrent waste of taxpayer dollars. The budget of the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service is already stretched thin, and President Trump’s budget for next year calls for a 21% reduction in the USDA budget. Taxpayers should not support funding a program to slaughter horses to produce a product that neither Americans nor their pets consume.

For the last several years, Congress has rightfully included language that prevented the wasteful use of tax dollars for USDA horse slaughter inspections, effectively preventing horse slaughter plants from operating here. Without this key language, horse slaughter plants can open. It is critical for Congress to maintain the current ban until federal legislation – the Safeguard American Food Exports Act – is passed to permanently end the needless slaughter of American horses.

This year, the House Appropriations Committee will vote once again on whether to allow horse slaughter in the U.S., and it has a new chairman: New Jersey’s own Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, from District 11. He is in a powerful position with the opportunity to protect our horses. I urge Congressman Frelinghuysen’s constituents to call his district or Washington office to ask him to protect our state animal and reflect the values of New Jersey taxpayers by voting to support the ban on domestic horse slaughter in the upcoming committee vote. Horse slaughter is the ultimate betrayal of our values, and it simply has no place in the U.S. 

Brian R. Hackett is the New Jersey State Director of the Humane Society of the United States

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