The “Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008” Would Ban Horse Meat for Humans

When the U.S. Congress reconvenes in 2009, it may consider H.R. 6598, “The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008,” a bill sponsored by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., chairman of Judiciary, and Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., that would make it a crime punishable by up to three years in prison to possess or transport horse meat for human consumption or horses intended to be slaughtered for human meals.  

The bill was last considered in October, 2008 by the House of Representatives Agriculture Committee that granted an “extension for further consideration to end not later than January 3, 2009”  

The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act would

Amend the federal criminal code to impose a fine and/or prison term of up to three years for possessing, shipping, transporting, purchasing, selling, delivering, or receiving: (1) any horse (i.e., member of the family Equidae) with the intent that it be slaughtered for human consumption; or (2) any horse flesh or carcass with the intent that it be used for human consumption.

Reduce the prison term to one year if the offense involves less than five horses or less than 2,000 pounds of horse flesh or carcass and the offender has no prior conviction for this offense.

Require the Attorney General to provide for the humane placement or disposition of any horse seized in connection with an offense under this Act.

The bill is supported by the Humane Society of the United States and the Animal Welfare Institute.

The bill is opposed by The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).

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