Ending horse slaughter: a glimmer of hope on Capitol Hill
These are strange times in our nation’s capital, with looming discussions of government shutdowns and tax giveaways for the wealthy. In this era, Congressional victories may seem difficult to come by.
Yet I wanted to tell you about one glimmer of hope that I saw today on Capitol Hill. Just a few hours ago, the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, which I co-chair, held a briefing to highlight the issue of horse slaughter, the horrific killing and processing of horses for human consumption. The Caucus, a bipartisan group of over 120 lawmakers committed to passing legislation that promotes animal welfare, was formed to highlight important issues affecting animals and to educate members and their staff on the need for sensible animal protection legislation.
While it may sound foreign, horse slaughter is still prevalent in the United States. Each year, over 100,000 horses are purchased in the U.S. and shipped to slaughterhouses across our borders in crowded trucks, without food, water, or rest, only to be slaughtered using often gruesome methods. In order to educate my fellow Representatives on this issue, I invited experts from all over the country to testify on the need to end horse slaughter now. The panel that testified included animal welfare experts, as well as celebrities like “Pretty Little Liars” star Huw Collins and sportscaster Bonnie-Jill Laflin. The room was packed, and the presentation was powerful, personal, and highly effective in conveying the horrors of horse slaughter.
Today’s event showed that people are paying attention, and something can be done. On the very first day of this Congress, with my colleague Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL), I introduced legislation to bring an end to this abysmal practice of horse slaughter. H.R. 113, the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, now has 97 bipartisan co-sponsors. The momentum from our briefing represents a critical step in helping to usher this common-sense and humane legislation through Congress. I am committed to putting the resources of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus behind the bill until it becomes law.
Whether it’s fighting to strengthen existing laws, or working to push forward new ones, we must continue to fight for policies that protect animals in the United States and abroad. Today’s briefing was a small, but significant step in this Congress, and I am proud to have worked to provide a glimmer of light amidst this strange and unusual time.
Member of Congress