WASHINGTON - A bill to restore federal protections for wild horses and burros from the sale and subsequent slaughter for human consumption overseas overwhelmingly passed the U.S. House of Representatives today by a vote of 277 to 137. In considering the bill, the House also defeated two "poison pill" amendments by Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) which were designed to kill the legislation.
Sponsored by U.S. Representatives Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) and Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), H.R. 249 restores a decades-old ban on the commercial sale and slaughter first enacted under the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. The longstanding protections were removed by a controversial rider slipped into an omnibus spending bill in late 2004 by former U.S. Senator Conrad Burns, who was defeated in the 2006 elections.
Also in Congress this week, a similar bill that would permanently ban the slaughter of all American horses passed the Senate Commerce Committee by a vote of 15-7. That bill, S. 311, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, was authored by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.). The House companion bill, H.R. 503, is co-sponsored by Reps. Rahall and Whitfield, along with Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.).
(Post includes passages from a press release by the Humane Society of the United States)