September 07, 2006 at 15:18 PM EDT
The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act Passes U.S. House of Representatives
T. Boone Pickens Applauds U.S. Reps for Protecting Horses, Urges Senate to do the Same

DALLAS, Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by T. Boone Pickens:

The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 503), a bipartisan bill to end the slaughter of horses for human consumption, has just passed the U.S. House of Representatives with a final vote of 263 to 146. It now moves on to the Senate, where Senator and veterinarian John Ensign (R-NV) and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) have reintroduced an identical measure (S. 1915).

"I applaud every U.S. Representative who voted in favor of H.R. 503. Thank you for standing up for America, for our ideals, and for our horses," said T. Boone Pickens, legendary oilman and philanthropist, who along with his wife, Madeleine, is an outspoken opponent of horse slaughter. "I urge the Senate to pass the Senate version of this bill quickly, and with no amendments."

Life-long animal lovers, T. Boone and Madeleine Pickens have joined forces with key horse organizations, including The National Horse Protection Coalition, in a campaign to support The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. Together, they have run a series of full-page ads in newspapers across the country, asking the public to contact their lawmaker and urge them to vote "Yes" on H.R. 503. The Pickens plan on continuing the campaign through the Senate vote.

"We are well on our way towards ending this despicable practice," said Pickens. "But the fight is not over. We will continue our efforts through the Senate vote, until every American horse is safe from the threat of being served as 'Sunday's Special' in a French restaurant."

A recent national poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies shows that nearly 70% of Americans strongly oppose killing horses for people to eat. Republican and Democrat, young and old, east coast to west coast, poll findings show that Americans overwhelmingly oppose horse slaughter.

The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act has the support of 202 co- sponsors and is championed by more than 500 organizations, including such industry groups as the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Churchill Downs.

Background

Although the slaughter of horses for human consumption is illegal in many states, foreign-owned companies who process horsemeat here are using federal loopholes to continue killing horses, sending 39.5 million pounds of horsemeat to France, Belgium and Japan in 2005.

Every day three horse slaughterhouses in the U.S., - Dallas Crown in Kaufman, Texas, Beltex Corporation in Fort Worth, Texas and Cavel International in DeKalb, Illinois, ship out thousands of pounds of fresh horsemeat abroad. Bragging, "from the stable to table in four days," these foreign-owned plants slaughtered nearly 100,000 American horses last year alone.

The process begins when owners across the country take their horses to a legitimate sale, never suspecting that within days their horse could end up on a plate in a high-end restaurant overseas. Three years ago, 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand ended up in a slaughterhouse in Japan. And because of the quick kill and export, these slaughter plants have become a convenient dumping ground for stolen horses. In fact, horse theft in California dropped 34 percent after that state instituted a ban on horse slaughter in 1998.

Horse slaughterhouses receive USDA oversight that costs taxpayers millions of dollars - all for horsemeat that is sold and consumed as a delicacy in high-dollar markets and restaurants in France, Italy and Japan. Moreover, these slaughterhouses use accounting loopholes to pay little or no taxes - shipping 100% of the horsemeat and the profits abroad.

The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, a bill to end the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the United States and the export of live horses for the same purpose, was reintroduced in the House of Representatives by Congressional Horse Caucus Co-Chair John Sweeney (R-NY), Representative John Spratt (D-SC), Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Representative Nick Rahall (D-WV).

Source: T. Boone Pickens

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