[Taken from http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/R?r109:FLD001:S10218
Ensign-Byrd Amendment Senate Debate Transcription
September 20, 2005
CR Page S10218
Mr. ENSIGN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that I may offer
an amendment dealing with horse inspection and that no second-degree
amendments be in order.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection? Without objection, it is
Mr. ENSIGN. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. ENSIGN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for
the quorum call be dispensed with.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. ENSIGN. Mr. President, I withdraw my previous unanimous consent
request and I call for the regular order with respect to amendment
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The amendment is now pending.
AMENDMENT NO. 1753 TO AMENDMENT NO. 1726
Mr. ENSIGN. Mr. President, I send an amendment to the desk.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
The legislative clerk read as follows:
The Senator from Nevada [Mr. ENSIGN], for himself, Mr. Byrd, Ms.
Landrieu, Mr. Lott, Mr. Graham, Ms. Stabenow, Mr. DeMint, Mrs.
Feinstein, and Mr. Lautenberg, proposes an amendment numbered 1753 to
amendment numbered 1726.
Mr. ENSIGN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of
the amendment be dispensed with.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
The amendment is as follows:
(Purpose: To prohibit the use of appropriated funds to pay the
salaries or expenses of personnel to inspect horses under certain
authority or guidelines)
At the appropriate place, add the following:
SEC. __X. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to
pay the salaries or expenses of personnel to inspect horses under
section 3 of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 603) or under
the guidelines issued under section 903 the Federal Agriculture
Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 1901 note; Public Law
Mr. ENSIGN. Mr. President, I rise, along with my colleagues, Senators
BYRD, LANDRIEU, GRAHAM, LOTT, STABENOW, DEMINT, FEINSTEIN, and
LAUTENBERG, to submit an amendment to the 2006 Senate Agriculture
The goal of our amendment is simple: to end the slaughter of
America's horses for human consumption overseas.
I graduated from Colorado State with a degree in veterinary medicine.
I have been concerned with animal welfare since my earlier days as a
youth and pursued those interests as a practicing veterinarian.
Our Nation's history and cultural heritage is strongly associated
with horses. George Washington is pictured many places with horses.
We are reminded of the legend of Paul Revere's ride and the Pony
Express in the West. The Depression era race between Seabiscuit and
War Admiral raised the morale of our country during desperate times.
The owners who sell their horses at auction are often unaware that
those horses may be on their way to one of the three remaining horse
slaughterhouses in America. These slaughterhouses--two in Texas and
one in Illinois--are owned by French and Belgium companies. They
slaughter American horses almost exclusively for one purpose--
exporting the meat overseas for human consumption.
Workhorses, racehorses, and even pet horses--many young and healthy--
are slaughtered for human consumption in Europe and Asia, where their
meat is considered a delicacy. The profits, along with the product,
are shipped overseas. These horses are slaughtered in America and
shipped to Japan, France, Belgium, Italy, Germany for human
Last year, nearly 100,000 American horses were slaughtered for human
consumption overseas. Sixty-five thousand of these were sent to three
slaughterhouses in the United States, and more than 30,000 were
shipped across our borders to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.
Our amendment effectively stops this practice. It restricts the use
of Federal funds for the inspection of horses being sent to
slaughterhouses for human consumption. Without these inspections,
required under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, horses cannot be
slaughtered, or exported for slaughter, for human consumption
Strong support for our amendment is reflected in the House of
Representatives, where an identical measure was passed by a vote of
269 to 158 this past June.
We have several articles and editorials from around the country that
have been written in support of our amendment. Articles have appeared
in the Washington Times, the St. Petersburg Times, the Charleston
Gazette, and the Louisville Courier-Journal, just to name a few. I
ask unanimous consent to have these articles printed in the RECORD.
There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in
the RECORD, as follows:
[From the Washington Times, Sept. 15, 2005]
Save the Horses
Most Americans would sooner starve than eat fillet of horse with
cranberry chutney, or however they do it in Europe. It might then
come as a surprise that 66,000 horses were slaughtered for
consumption in the United States last year, and 20,000 more were
exported abroad for the same purposes. Even more so when one
considers that nearly none of this horse flesh ends up on American
platters--and for that we are thankful.
While cattle and poultry are bred specifically for food, horses are
not. Many of those sold to slaughterhouses are privately owned or
caught in the wild by the federal Bureau of Land Management, which
then tries to find adoptive homes. When it cannot, the horses go to
the highest bidder, in this case either to one of the three Belgian-
or French-owned plants.
Fortunately, there is growing opposition in Congress to this kind of
thing. In June, the House passed by a bipartisan majority an
[CR Page S10219 - http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/R?
amendment to the agriculture appropriations bill banning the use of
federal funds in the slaughtering of horses. The Senate is schedule
to vote on the amendment, sponsored by veterinarian Sen. John Ensign,
next week. We encourage senators to support this ban.
Certain veterinary groups, rather ironically, oppose the amendment.
They claim that it is humane to put aging or neglected horses out of
their misery. But if anyone actually saw how these noble beasts are
slaughtered--strung up by their hind legs and bled--they might think
twice before supporting such conduct. The only problem with attaching
the amendment to an appropriations bill is that it will expire next
So, Mr. Ensign has also introduced independent legislation that would
ban the slaughter of horses entirely. Some critics contend an
outright ban is an abuse of congressional power. But Cass Sunstein,
the distinguished University of Chicago law professor, conclusively
addressed those concerns a few years ago: ``A ban on commercial
slaughter of horses would be plainly within congressional authority,
if accompanied by reasonable findings that such slaughter is often or
generally a way of yielding products for interstate or international
sale, and therefore has a substantial effect on interstate or
international commerce.'' Few would argue that it doesn't.
We admit to a certain sentimentality in our appeal to ban horse
slaughter. The horse has always held a hallowed place in our national
identity, much like the bald eagle. And just as no American would
consider ordering up a bald eagle, if only out of respect, so would
none ask for a horse steak.
[From the Louisville Courier-Journal, Sept. 13, 2005]
Horse Sense in Senate
This week, the U.S. Senate may vote on an amendment to the
agriculture appropriations bill that would outlaw the slaughter of
horses for food. For most Kentuckians--in fact, for most Americans--
it's shocking that such a vote would need to be taken. In this
country, horses are raised to be companion animals. Most folks don't
know that in three foreign-owned slaughterhouses within our borders,
about 45,000 horses are killed each year.
The meat is then shipped to Japan and several European countries,
where horse is served for dinner. In the international market, the
meat of American horses is especially coveted, since most of them
have been well fed and have received superior care.
This should be an easy vote for Sens. Mitch McConnell and Jim
Bunning. Horses are central to Kentucky's culture. Our famous
Bluegrass farms breed and raise them for higher purposes than ending
up on some dinner table overseas.
And no horse is currently safe from that fate. Ferdinand, the 1986
Kentucky Derby winner, was killed in a Japanese slaughterhouse when
his stud services were no longer needed. This past spring, 41 wild
mustangs were slaughtered for food in a Texas plant after being
purchased through a program meant to give them new homes.
That's why, in June, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly
passed legislation identical to what the Senate is considering.
Kentucky's own Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-1st District, led the effort.
Now the Senate should do the same, with Kentuckians again playing a
[From the St. Petersburg Times, Sept. 13, 2005]
Bring an End to Horse Slaughter
Horse slaughter has no place in the United States. The House of
Representatives confirmed that earlier this year by passing an
amendment to the agriculture spending bill that would, in essence,
stop the practice. Now it is the Senate's turn.
Currently, horses that are no longer wanted are sold to buyers who
presumably seek them for recreation or as pets too often end up in
slaughterhouses or in the hands of exporters who send them outside
the country for slaughter. Sometimes the buyers hide their true
intentions and make a profit by selling the horses for slaughter.
Each year, nearly 100,000 horses are subjected to a cruel end to
Horse meat for human consumption hasn't been sold in the United
States for decades and isn't even used in pet food here. If a horse
is near the end of its useful life, there are more humane ways for an
owner to get rid of it. Adoption groups offer horses a peaceful
retirement, and if the horses need to be euthanized, it can be done
painlessly and humanely for a couple hundred dollars.
The Senate vote could come up in the next few days, so those opposed
to horse slaughter should contact their senators and tell them to
support the amendment, which would deny the Agriculture Department
taxpayer dollars for the inspection of horse meat. Without such
inspections, legalized horse slaughter in this country will end. And
[From the Charleston Gazette, Sept. 13, 2005]
Save Horses--Bill Would Stop Slaughter
Around 90,000 American horses are slaughtered each year for human
consumption. Foreign-owned slaughterhouses on American soil kill
about 50,000 of them; the other 20,000 are sent live to Mexico or
Canada. Some are wild horses that still wander ranges of the West;
others are unwanted, disposed of by their owners or unscrupulous
dealers who promise they will go to good homes.
Many of these creatures undergo extreme suffering en route to their
final destination. Transport law allows them to go for 24 hours
without food, water or rest, even if they are badly injured or
West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd plans an amendment to the Agriculture
appropriations bill banning horse slaughter in the United States. All
three of the state's representatives voted for a similar amendment in
the House that passed, 269-158.
There are alternatives to the slaughter of unwanted horses. The
recent auction of wild mustangs in Ronceverte resulted in new homes
for horses trucked in and sold for a nominal amount. Many horse
rescue operations work with retired racehorses, many of whom have
tragically ended at slaughterhouses--even big-time steeds, including
Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand. The rescue organizations retrain
them and find them new homes and careers. Horses that have truly come
to the end of their useful or comfortable lives can be humanely
euthanized, rather than having to endure the pain, panic and trauma
of a trip to the slaughterhouse.
The bond between horses and humans is as close as the connection
between dogs or cats and their owners. The horsemeat industry is not
a vital part of the American economy. We hope the Senate will pass
this humane amendment.
CITY OF KAUFMAN,
Kaufman, TX, September 6, 2005.
Re Support Congressional efforts to end horse slaughter.
DEAR SENATOR: As the Mayor of Kaufman, Texas, I am all too well
acquainted with an issue that has been getting plenty of attention on
Capitol Hill recently: horse slaughter.
Kaufman is ''home'' to Dallas-Crown, one of only three
slaughterhouses that continue to operate in this country (the other
plants are in Ft. Worth, TX and DeKalb, IL). Together, the plants
killed more than 65,000 of our horses last year for human consumption
abroad. All three plants, are foreign owned, and all three are out of
step with American public opinion. Seventy-eight percent of Texans
oppose horse slaughter and polls from other parts of the country
reflect this sentiment. Both of the Texas plants operating in
violation of state law which prohibits the sale of horsemeat for
human consumption. And Dallas-Crown is operating in violation of a
multitude of local laws pertaining to wastemanagement, air quality
and other environmental concerns.
When the District Attorneys in the two Texas jurisdictions moved to
prosecute under the state law, the plants filed suit and the District
Attorneys were prevented from proceeding. Horses continued to be
slaughtered while the case languished in federal court. Recently, the
judge ruled in the plants' favor. The District Attorneys are
considering an appeal.
When the city took action against the plant for releasing pollutants
into the sewer system far in excess of legally acceptable limits, we
ended up in court and are now forced to mediate on an issue that
can't be mediated. Meanwhile, our municipal sewer system is
overburdened, but we simply cannot afford to refurbish the system so
that it can tolerate overload from Dallas-Crown. Nor should we have
Residents are also fed up with the situation. Long-established
neighbors living adjacent to the plant cannot open their windows or
run their air conditioners without enduring the most horrific stench.
Children playing in their yards do so with the noise of horses being
sent to their deaths in the background. Landowners have difficulty
securing loans to develop their property. The residents have
petitioned the city council to take corrective action against the
plant. On August 15 the Kaufman City Council voted unanimously to
implement termination proceedings against the plant.
But the ultimate remedy rests with the federal government, which has
the authority--and opportunity--to close this shameful industry down.
I urge you to cosponsor the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act
when it is introduced by Senator John Ensign, and to support the
Ensign amendment to the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Bill for
Fiscal Year `06 that will prohibit the use of federal funds to
facilitate horses slaughter.
As a community leader where we are directly impacted by the horse
slaughter industry, I can assure you the economic development return
to our community is negative. The foreign-owned companies profit at
our expense--it is time for them to go. If I can provide you with
further information, please don't hesitate to contact me at 972-932-
Mayor of Kaufman, Texas.
Mr. ENSIGN. Mr. President, the Ensign-Byrd amendment also has strong
support from some of the people most familiar with the
slaughterhouses. Paula Bacon, the mayor of Kaufman, TX, which is home
to the Dallas Crown Slaughterhouse, recognized the importance of
ending this slaughter.
My city is little more than a doormat for a foreign-owned business
that drains our resources, thwarts economic development and
stigmatizes our community. There is no justification for spending
American tax dollars to support this industry.
[CR Page S10220 - http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/R?
That is Paula Bacon, mayor of Kaufman, TX, home to the Dallas Crown
horse slaughterhouse facility.
Members of the local community would like to see this slaughterhouse
closed, as well.
Concerns have been raised about what will happen if this slaughter is
ended. Many of these horses will be sold to a new owner. Some horses
will be kept longer by their original owner, others will be
euthanized humanely by a licensed veterinarian, and still others will
be cared for by the horse rescue community. Efforts are underway to
standardize practices for horse rescue organizations. Guidelines for
this ever-growing sector have been developed by the animal protection
community and embraced by sanctuaries.
Statistics do not support claims that this legislation will result in
more abuse and neglect of unwanted horses. In Illinois, the number of
abuse cases actually dropped from 2002 to 2004, when the State's only
slaughterhouse was closed due to fire. In California, there has been
no rise in neglect cases since the State passed a ban on slaughter
for human consumption in 1998.
Furthermore, it is illegal to ''turn out,'' neglect, or starve a
horse, so this amendment will not lead to more orphaned horses. If a
person attempts to turn his or her horses out, animal control agents
can enforce humane laws. These animals still can be euthanized and
disposed of by a veterinarian for about $225, a fraction of the cost
to keep a horse. That cost is not too big of a burden to bear when no
other options are available.
Our amendment is good for horses. That is why it is supported by many
animal protection groups. The Humane Society of the United States,
the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the
Doris Day Animal League, the American Humane Association, and Society
for Animal Protective Legislation--all support our legislation. We
have also received support from much of the horse industry and
veterinarians nationwide. In fact, congressional measures to end
horse slaughter are supported by Veterinarians for Equine Welfare,
the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Churchill Downs,
Incorporated, and dozens of owners and trainers of champion
racehorses, including Kentucky Derby winners.
The time to end this slaughter is now. Please join my colleagues and
me in supporting this important amendment.
I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. CONRAD. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for
the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. THOMAS). Without objection, it is so
Mr. BENNETT. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senator
be recognized to speak as in morning business. We are under the
Agriculture bill, and no one seems to be coming forward under the
Agriculture bill, so I obviously have no objection, but I think, to
be clear, it should be as in morning business; therefore, I ask
unanimous consent that the Senator be given the opportunity to do
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
Hearing none, it is so ordered.
Mr. CONRAD. Mr. President, I thank my colleague from Utah for his
graciousness, and my colleague from Wisconsin as well. I appreciate
this opportunity to speak.
(The remarks of Mr. CONRAD pertaining to the introduction of S. 1730
are printed in today's RECORD under ''Statements on Introduced Bills
and Joint Resolutions.'')
Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, Winston Churchill said, ``when you are on a
great horse, you have the best seat you will ever have.'' Indeed,
throughout the ages, the horse has carried mankind across continents,
helped forge civilizations, and has been that beloved beast of burden
that has borne the human race on its back.
In America, the horse was the primary source of transportation of our
founding fathers, the vehicle of our Revolutionary soldiers, and a
symbol of the majestic strength and character that this great country
was based upon. Our fledgling urban centers rose with the help of the
horse's brawn. Our American frontier expanded farther and farther
west, with families traveling by horse-drawn wagons across mountains
and valleys, the plains and prairies. The American cowboy, an
indelible image of the fierce and undying determination of the
American spirit, was never without his trusty four-legged companion.
But each year, 65,000 horses are slaughtered in this country for
human consumption in Europe and Asia, where horsemeat is considered a
delicacy. Another 30,000 horses are shipped every year to Canada and
Mexico to be slaughtered.
These horses often suffer unnecessarily while in transit to
slaughterhouses. Horses can be shipped for more than 24 hours without
food, water, or rest. They can be transported with broken legs,
missing eyes, or while heavily pregnant. The horses are kept in
cramped conditions, in trucks with ceilings so low that they prevent
the horses from holding their heads in a normal, upright position.
The cramped nature of their transport often results in trampling,
with some horses arriving at the slaughterhouses seriously injured or
Even more cruel than the suffering these animals endure while in
transit is their often injurious end. Improper use of stunning
equipment at the slaughterhouse can result in the animal having to
endure repeated blows to head, meaning that horses sometime remain
conscious throughout the slaughter process.
The market for horsemeat is not an American market. Horsemeat is
shipped abroad. The three slaughterhouses in the U.S. are foreign-
owned. Thus, American horses are sold to a foreign company, killed
for consumption in a foreign market, and foreign-owned companies
profit from the export of horse meat. Many Americans would be shocked
to learn that our animals suffer such a fate, all in order to satisfy
the tastes of those living in Europe and Asia. Indeed, many
individuals who sell horses to slaughterhouses do so unwittingly.
Slaughterhouses often send third parties, called ``killer buyers,''
to auction to buy horses.
Senator Ensign and I have offered an amendment to stop the slaughter
of horses for human consumption by preventing taxpayer dollars from
being used to inspect the horses intended for slaughter. Without
these inspections, which are paid for by the American taxpayer, it
would be impossible for these companies to slaughter horses in the
U.S., or to transport horses abroad for slaughter.
I ask my colleagues to support the Ensign-Byrd amendment to end the
slaughter of one of the most precious American symbols.