Conyers Introduces Equine Cruelty Bill


House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) has introduced H.R. 503, the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009, to prohibit certain conduct relating to the use of horses for human consumption. The legislation was referred to the House Judiciary Committee, and AFBF sent a letter to all members of the House strongly opposing the bill.

 H.R. 503 makes it a federal criminal offense to knowingly move, sell, purchase or transport a horse for human consumption. Unlike similar legislation introduced in previous sessions of Congress to strictly ban equine processing for human consumption, this legislation establishes a precedent for criminal prosecution for slaughtering a livestock animal.

 The bill requires the U.S. attorney general to care for horses confiscated as a result of this legislation. H.R. 503 will not improve horse welfare, but it will punish horse owners, further restrict property rights, and, perhaps most importantly, set a dangerous precedent for criminal prosecution of livestock processing, according to AFBF.

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