U.S. Senators John Ensign (R-NV) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) in April introduce a bill that would ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the United States.
The bill, S. 2352, is almost identical to a House version of the legislation, H.R. 857, which has almost 200 cosponsors according to the National Horse Protection Council.
In a press release, the National Horse Protection Council quoted Sen. Ensign as saying,
A series of recent polls show that Americans overwhelmingly support a ban on the slaughter of horses for human consumption. This should come as no surprise because horses in the United States are not raised for food. Despite state laws barring this barbaric practice, the slaughter of horses for human consumption continues because of an absence of a strong federal law to prohibit it. The time for such a law is now.
Similarly, Sen. Landrieu is quoted as saying,
Horses hold a special place in American history and culture, be it through farm work racing, trail riding, companionship or a host of other activities. Americans don’t consume horsemeat, so most are shocked to find out this takes place at all. In fact, surveys from around the country showed that Americans overwhelmingly want this brutal practice to end.
Those are pretty lousy arguments in favor of banning horse slaughter. The claim that many Americans don’t approve of it is the lamest form of an appeal to authority.
The claim that it is barbaric is, of course, also leveled against all animal agriculture, but neither Landrieu nor Ensign seem willing to propose a ban on animal agriculture itself. If there are barbaric practices that are cruel in horse slaughter, the obvious legislation that would needed would be requirements that the USDA study the matter and issue regulations to ensure that horses are slaughtered humanely.
Senate version of American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act Introduced. Press Release, The National Horse Protection Coalition, April 28, 2004.