Horse slaughter banned in US

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Everyone has a ‘sacred cow’

NEW YORK: Everyone has a ‘sacred cow’. Even the American who ridicules the Indian’s opposition to cow slaughter. Here, the American’s ‘sacred cow’ is the horse.

Horse slaughter is effective banned in the US through a convoluted budget tactic while two bills are pending before the US Congress to make it permanent.

While the bill for an outright ban works its way through Congress, the present backdoor horse slaughter ban works like this: The budget that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama last year prohibited the agriculture department from spending money on inspecting horse slaughter houses. Without inspections, the slaughter houses cannot operate legally and that effectively banned horse slaughter.

Twenty Republican and 50 Democratic Representatives jointly introduced a bill in the lower house in April for an outright ban on horse slaughter and its export for butchering. Two senators from each of the two parties followed suit the next month and the bills are pending in Congress.

Several organisations like the Humane Society and Equine Advocates have been lobbying for ending the killing of horses for food.

Cultural reasons that verge on religious fervour in this predominantly Christian nation are the main motivators for banning horse slaughter. In its mobilisation efforts Equine Advocates uses a quote that elevates horses to the level of a national icon and invokes the nation’s cultural heritage.

“Our forefathers honoured The Horse as a ‘favoured’ animal like dogs and cats when this country was founded,” Cathleen Doyle, who led the efforts to ban horse slaughter in California, is quoted as saying. “Dog, cat and horse slaughter are not part of our culture or heritage. We should no more be slaughtering our horses for export than we should slaughter our dogs or cats for export to countries where their meat is eaten.”

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