Update March 18, 2008: The legislatureÂ has adjourned. SCR 15 passed the Senate but not the House.
Update February 27, 2008: Unable to pass a law allowing the use of public funds to build a horse slaughtering facility in South Dakota, state Sen. Frank KloucekÂ has spearheaded an effort to pass a resolution encouraging the construction in the state of what are called "USDA-inspected horse processing" plants.Â
Yes, "processing", as if horses are simply goods to be processed and sold.Â The resolution, H.C.R. 1007, has now passed both the House and Senate. Click here for a copy.Â
The resolution claims because of the closing of the U.S. horse slaughter houses, there will be 60,000-90,000 unwanted horses each year "that would be exposed to potential abandonment and neglect". The resolution insists horse slaughter in the U.S. is humane. The resolution cites to the Horse Welfare Coalition in support of these "facts". The Horse Welfare Coalition is a well known pro slaughter group.
Second, there is simply no basis for the claim there will be 60,000-90,000 horses facing abandonment and neglect each year. Horse slaughter is not a program for unwanted or neglected horses. It is a multi million dollar a year business driven not by numbers ofÂ abandoned or starving horses but by demand for horse meat. According to the USDA,Â 90% of horses sent for slaughter are healthy. It makes no sense to say the numbers of horses slaughtered in the U.S. each year will be the number "potentially" abandoned or neglectedÂ upon the closing of the slaughter facilities.Â
The closing of the horse slaughter facilities in the U.S. limits the businesses ofÂ stealing or buying and selling horses for slaughter. With those closings and with the passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act that will shut the borders to the transport of American horses for slaughter in other countries,Â there is little or no incentive toÂ steal or buy and sell horses for slaughter.Â There is no support historically thatÂ slaughter facilities eliminate abandoned and neglected horses.Â For more information, read John Holland’s report here.Â Â Â
Sen. Kloucek and his cohorts are also supporting aÂ second resolution, S.C.R. 15, which calls on Congress to oppose efforts to stop horse slaughter and support the "harvest" of horses by re-establishingÂ "processing" facilities in the U.S.Â More of the same.
Both resolutions contend U.S. zoos rely on horse meat which is just not the case.Â Zoos are moving away from horsemeat and very few use it anyway. Horse meat is primarily consumed as a delicacy in other countries.
Update January 29, 2008: Thanks to your emails and calls, S.B. 170, a plan to use public funds to build aÂ horse slaughtering facility in South Dakota has been killed in Committee. There was an effort to change the language of the bill to say "horse processing" instead of slaughter, but that didn’t work. Â
This bill points up the need to pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act in Congress.
Click here for information about and how you can use your power to help pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, now pending in Congress, to shut down the sale and transport of horses to other countries for slaughter.
Original report: Several state senators introduced a bill in the South Dakota legislature last week that would make a state-funded loan of up to $1 million available to anyone wishing to construct and open a horse slaughtering facility in the state.
The bill, S.B. 170, is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee at 10 a.m. MST on January 29, 2008 (Tuesday morning).
Horse slaughter in the U.S. was shut down in 2007. As Animal Welfare Institute, AWI, http://www.awionline.org/, points out, "The opening of a plant in South Dakota would be a huge step backwards for American horses and would have a tremendously negative impact on the state."
What You Can Do
Click here to email members of the South Dakota Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee to let them know that you oppose S.B. 170.
Or click on their names below to email them.
Duenwald, Jay, Chair
Garnos, Cooper (cosponsor)
Hansen, Tom, Vice Chair
Hanson, Gary (cosponsor)
Kloucek, Frank (cosponsor)
Sutton, Dan (cosponsor)
You can also call each one by calling the Capitol operator at 605-773-3821.
If you live in South Dakota, tell them and also click here to find and write or call your South Dakota legislators to let them know you vote and you oppose public funding of a horse slaughter facility in this state.
If you are not from South Dakota, you can still write or call committee members. If this bill, S.B. 170 passes, it will affect horses everywhere.
Don’t wait. Write or call now!
In addition to your own feelings on horse slaughter, here are some points to raise in your emails or calls:
- Americans overwhelmingly oppose horse slaughter and this has resulted in the closure of the remaining foreign-owned domestic plants. South Dakota would be out of step with public sentiment if the state legislature passes S.B. 170 into law and this will reflect unfavorably on the state.
- The overwhelming majority of horses they would slaughter come from other states, including stolen horses and horses sold under false pretenses.
- Given that the federal American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act is anticipated to move in 2008, the loan made available via S.B. 170 would be fool hardy. The state risks pumping scarce taxpayer dollars into an industry that is likely to be shut down under federal law.
- The FY 2008 Omnibus Appropriations bill (which funds the federal government) currently before Congress includes a provision that prohibits the use of federal tax dollars for the inspection of horses going to slaughter – without which the animals cannot legally be slaughtered. It is anticipated that like measures will be included in future spending bills, too. South Dakota could find itself with a slaughterhouse that cannot operate due to federal funding restrictions.
- The REDI fund, through which the loan would be made, is designed to promote job growth in South Dakota. The fact is that a horse slaughter plant would employ only a handful of low-paid, unskilled workers who are more likely to be a drain on the economy than a bonus.
- The establishment of a plant in South Dakota would have a negative environmental and economic impact on the hosting jurisdiction. Disposal of blood, tissue and other waste associated with operating a plant would likely stress pre-existing sewer systems and could even require significant public expenditure to fortify the infrastructure.
Click here for information about and how you can help pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, now pending in Congress, to shut down the sale and transport of horses to other countries for slaughter.