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Horse Slaughter Bill, LD 1075

Published: 3/24/2011
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By Maddy Butcher Gray

"An Act to Prohibit Horse Slaughter for Human Consumption"

There was a public hearing for LD 1075 at the committee level on May 3, 2011. At that time, members voted that the bill "Ought Not To Pass" according to Megan Jackman, committee clerk for Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry.

In colloquial terms, this action pretty much kills the bill.

There was a misleading report by the Bangor Daily News about bill sponsor Representative Gary Knight withdrawing LD 1075. Turns out it's really not as simple as the BDN reports. It remains to be seen if we will see another version of the horse slaughter bill in future sessions.

Click here for Bangor Daily News article.

The title is sure to gain some attention. It's the name of LD 1075, introduced by Representative Gary Knight of Livermore Falls and supported by Maine Friends of Animals.
CLICK HERE for LD 1075

From a quick review, the bill seems ill-conceived, impractical, and unenforceable. While any efforts to protect horses are welcome here, we think addressing it through increased funding for education, limits on backyard breeding, better enforcement of Maine's already strong equine cruelty laws, more severe punishment for offenders, and other measures would be far more effective than terms set forth in this bill.

As we know, horse slaughter is already banned by federal law. But this bill seeks to punish those who export horses for slaughter. That's cool, but how?
The bill also moves equines out of the livestock category and under the same legal  and fiscal umbrella as cats and dogs. That might be helpful from the standpoint of prosecuting horse cruelty offenders, but it will also take away that nice sales-tax exemption. As it stands now, we are not taxed for feed, hay, and bedding for our horses.
LD 1075 would eliminate that exemption.
But it's early in the game. We'll see whether it'll have any legislative legs as the year progresses.

Click here to view WCSH's Bill Greene's video of the issue

Click here for amended horse slaughter bill info and more Maine legislature bills involving horse owners

View Reader Comments:

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3/26/2011 Judi Medlin
I think that it is an attempt to generate a revenue stream for government bureaucracy on the heartstrings of an emotional issue (horse slaughter). I am adamantly opposed to a horse registry and taxation on horse feed. Maine has always been an agriculture friendly state. We need to preserve that tradition. Not everyone's horse is a pet.
3/27/2011 Pam
I agree. Does anyone remember the days of the "hay tax" legislation and the effort it took to resolve it many years ago? Here we go again. There are already far too many horses with owners who are having difficulty affording them in these tough times. There are not enough safety nets for horses already in need of assistance. More will surely follow if feed and bedding become even more expensive. Will this force more off to slaughter or left to slowly starve? Just a thought that bears some research. Just see how difficult it will become to get good hay at an affordable price (if at all) when farmers have to keep separate accounts and take the time to figure and collect and pay tax to the state on hay sold to horse owners. Many farmers back then just stated they would not sell hay to horse owners because it was too much work and who can blame them. This was a bad idea before and is a bad idea now.
3/30/2011 Elaine
Just to make it clearer on this bill. Your horse will end up being a pet like your cat and dog. Therefore, a license will be required for each horse. Then...a rabies and distemper will be asked of you before licensing your horse. You can kiss your stables goodbye because they are struggling to make ends meet already. Let's see, licensing 20 horses @ $25= $500 extra -- for what? Tax on feed. Oh! And the penalty for having a late license. Boy, the ACOs will have more work to do. There goes more agriculture out the window.
3/30/2011 Joy
L.D. 1075 ?An Act to Prohibit Horse Slaughter for Human Consumption? Written by Robert Fisk Wednesday, 30 March 2011 March 29, 2011 To Whom It Concern: RE: L.D. 1075 ?An Act to Prohibit Horse Slaughter for Human Consumption? L.D. 1075 had some unintended language that was understandably troublesome to many in the horse community. All objectionable language has been removed: registration of horse for export, a registry of ownership for purposes of export, the penalty of $5,000 for failing to register, and the reclassification of horses from ?livestock? to ?companion? animal. We are aware of what the unintended hardships would be on horse owners, and although those sections were meant as some accountability and enforcement, we are satisfied the penalty provision will be a sufficient deterrent. An amended bill reflecting those deleted sections will be presented by the sponsor Rep. Knight who has admirably withstood the displeasure coming from the bill?s original language. We apologize for creating an unnecessary angst among horse owners. The bill?s original intent, as it is now, was to address the slaughter of horses. No animal that has served mankind so long, so well, so nobly in so many capacities as the horse deserves such a fate. To most horse owners in Maine horses are pets or beloved companions. And unlike cows, goats and chickens, horses are not bred for human consumption. It is a supreme injustice for a horse to have to endure being slaughtered. The entire process, including the slaughter auction, the method of transportation, the feedlots, the slaughter --- everything up to and including their death -- is inhumane. Unbeknownst to most in the state, Maine has a business that transports 1,000 to 1,500 horses each year, most that are adoptable, to two slaughter houses in Quebec, Canada. A concern has been what to you do with the horses that are saved from slaughter, particularly those that are being severely neglected. We believe effort should be made to assist rescues, help owners in caring for their horses, and to in general increase the ability to re-home unwanted horses. If all else fails and/or the animal is in poor condition then euthanasia should be used. To that end we are proposing a euthanasia clinic for horses and an increase in composting of the carcasses. We have a group of veterinarians currently working on a model. And given the many veterinarians supporting this (amended) bill, they feel there is no reason why such a clinic cannot be created. In conjunction, the goal is also to reduce the number of unwanted horses. A portion of the horses that go to slaughter are transported into Maine thus the legislation in itself will reduce the 1,000+ annual slaughter number. And although most are already full, we have a good network of horse rescues in Maine. Furthermore, we now have the recent formation of the Maine Equine Welfare Alliance, a group dedicated to helping horse owners struggling to provide for their animals and saving as many as possible from abuse, abandonment and neglect. We believe all these factors can decrease the number of unwanted horses while we also provide greater accessibility to humane euthanasia. With the amended bill removing all the onerous portions for horse owners, we have a broad coalition who will now support the ?only? intent of this legislation --- to end Maine?s complicity in the practice of slaughtering horses.
3/31/2011 Judi Medlin
The proposed bill has been revised, removing the change from livestock to pet, some other onerous things, and pared down to penalties for transporting horses out of state for slaughter and restrictions on selling to kill buyers. I don't have it in front of me now, but the author has listened to a lot of horse owners since the first proposal was distributed, and rewrote it. Good for everyone that spoke up!
4/4/2011 Jan
Apparently the writers of this bill went overboard when they were putting it together. The fact that they have 'listened' to the people who took the time and effort to contact them is encouraging. BUT, these people have left a huge open gap in the bill ... Horses that are going to slaughter for purposes other than 'human consumption' ... There are places that process horses for purposes other than the table ... Hello people!!! Also, Bill Green will be doing a segment on horse slaughter tonight (Monday Apr 4) at 6PM. This could be very interesting and open even more cans of worms ....
4/5/2011 Sarah
I'm all for licensing horses or at least registering barns. When are horse owners going to be accountable for their animals, just like dog owners? Where is the harm? If you don't like being accountable then maybe you shouldn't have horses in the first place.
4/6/2011 vicki
There is no federal law banning horse slaughter. What is banned is the commercial sale of horse meat. If horse slaughter continues, ALL horse owners will be forced into a passport system. EU regulations require a passport system for US horses within 3 years and we are heading into year 2. A passport system ensures horses have been raised from birth as food animals and are safe for human consumption. If you want to avoid state laws and tracking forced on all owners, get behind the federal legislation to ban horse slaughter. The new bills for the 112th session should be introduced soon. In the meantime, Maine should be applauded for stepping up and recognizing that US horses are not food animals but bred and raised for other purposes. You would be hard pressed to find a horse in the US that hasn?t received bute and yet, they are still going to slaughter. Bute is banned in all food producing animals by the FDA and the EU. A common wormer, Ivermectin is also banned in horses intended for food. There are dozens of horse medications that are banned in horses intended for food as well as countless bute compounds available on the internet. Note to Sarah ? well said!
4/16/2011 Diana
Lets remember a animal is a animal, I love my horse and would never allow my horse to be loaded onto a truck heading to Canada for slauter. I would put him in the ground before that. That being said it's my animal and what decision I make I live with. But this whole bill that this man is trying to pass looks to me more like the state of Maine trying to yet again tax the hell out of the little guy, This would mean our board will go up, hay, grain and bedding taxed, when my farrier comes he will charge more because of,tax,tax, to register the horse there will be a cost. Will I have to pay a tax to ride on the trails? The whole bill is trying to put our hearts on our sleeves about slaughtering....I believe it's a way for the little guy to yet again pay more taxes. If this bill passes only the wealthy will have horses. Horse owners that can't afford this will give, sell, or put horses down . We need to really look into this before passing this bill and educate the between the lines or open up your almost empty tax wallet.

"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." - Winston Churchill