American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act

Congressman John Sweeney (R-NY) has again introduced federal legislation to prohibit the slaughter of horses for human consumption. Although the bill (H.R. 503) is drafted differently than the legislation introduced in the last Congress, it provides for the same result.

The bill would amend the Horse Protection Act (HPA), which was enacted in 1970 to prohibit the showing, transport or sale of horses that have been subjected to any painful process to accentuate their gait. The Animal & Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture enforces the HPA. The bill authorizes $5 million for enforcement of the Act.

The bill amends the HPA to prohibit the shipping, transporting, or sale of horses for slaughter for human consumption. Such activities would be a violation of the HPA and subject any person who knowingly violates the Act to penalties of up to $3,000 and/or one year in jail for the first offense and up to $5,000 and/or two years in jail for a second offense. An offender may also be subject to civil penalties of $2,000 for each violation.

The bill has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Last year’s legislation was referred to the House Agriculture Committee.

The bill has 70 co-sponsors.

Next week The Report will present a statement from the American Association of Equine Practitioners in opposition to H.R. 503.