The National Pork Producers Council officials are disappointment with Congress' vote to ban horse slaughter for food consumption. Last week, the U.S. House approved by a 263 to 146 vote H.R. 503, which would prohibit the shipping, transporting or selling of horses for humane slaughter for human consumption.

“The bill sets a dangerous precedent by banning a livestock product for reasons other than food safety or public health,” says NPPC President Joy Philippi, a pork producer from Bruning, Neb. “We are very disappointed by this vote, which clearly was based on emotion, not science.”

In several letters sent to all 435 House members, NPPC pointed out that if H.R. 503 were based on science, environmental issues such as the safe disposal of nearly 80,000 horse carcasses annually and disease management for humans and animals would have been addressed in the bill. NPPC also raised concerns about federal intervention in the private-property rights of individuals and their decision to manage the disposal of their property.

Lawmakers approved the bill despite a recommendation from the House Agriculture Committee that no action be taken on it and despite the Energy and Commerce Committee discharging the measure without a recommendation.

NPPC supported a bipartisan amendment to H.R. 503 offered by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) that would have ensured sufficient certified sanctuaries to care for abandoned and neglected horses before a ban on processing them could take effect. The amendment failed on a 177 to 229 vote.

If the legislation becomes law, it would shut down the three remaining equine processing plants in the United States, leaving thousands of American horses to be placed in unregulated horse adoption facilities or abandoned. A study conducted for the Animal Welfare Council estimated a cost of $220 million for the care of unwanted horses. About 1 percent of the 9.2 million U.S. horse population is marketed annually for processing for human consumption, most of the resulting product is sent overseas.

Source: National Pork Producers Council