Bill would ban slaughter of horses for food

Bill would ban slaughter of horses for food
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House lawmakers are trying to save horses from being slaughtered for food. 

Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), Frank Guinta, (R-N.H.), Jan Schakowsky, (D-Ill.) and Michelle Lujan Grisham, (D-N.M.,) have introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act to ban the killing of horses for human consumption in American.

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The bill, unveiled Wednesday, also bans the export of live horses to Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses where the animals are killed and shipped overseas.

Buchanan’s office noted that last year that more than 150,000 American horses were butchered in Canada and Mexico and then transported overseas for consumption in Japan, Italy and other countries. His office said more than 90 percent of these horses were healthy and in good condition.

Though the U.S. already has a ban on the sale of horse meat for human consumption, the prohibition is subject to annual congressional review. Buchanan’s office said there is currently no federal law prohibiting the transport of horses across American borders for slaughter.

During transports, Buchanan said, the horses go long period of time without food and water in overcrowded trailers. Once at the slaughterhouse, they are forced into boxes where they are shot with a bolt gun.

He added that horses often survive the blow, leaving them alive during dismemberment.

"The slaughter of horses for human consumption is an absolute travesty that must be stopped," Buchanan said in a news release. "This bipartisan measure will help put an end to this barbaric practice once and for all."