Kentucky lawmakers consider ban on horse slaughter - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Kentucky lawmakers consider ban on horse slaughter

(FRANKFORT, Ky.) -- Hungry enough to eat a horse? Don't try it in Kentucky, home to the world's best known horse race.

Legislation pending in the General Assembly would make it illegal for horses to be slaughtered in the state or to be transported elsewhere to be cut into steaks.

"We're not going to tolerate this in the horse capital of the world," said state Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville.

Buford said he decided to take up the fight after a similar initiative, pushed by U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., failed in Washington last year. And advocates for protecting horses are heralding the move in Kentucky, where there are an estimated 320,000 horses.

"It's making a statement, a very powerful statement," said Jerry Finch, president of the Texas-based Habitat for Horses, which will be part of a coalition that will push again for the federal law this year.

Finch said if Kentucky lawmakers approve the measure, the state would join California in offering such protection to horses. The earliest the measure could be considered is February.

Defenders of horse slaughter said it offers a cheap and humane
way to end a horse's life when the animal no longer is useful. They
say many owners cannot afford to care for an unproductive horse.
      Within the United States, horses are slaughtered at three
foreign-owned plants - two in Texas and one in Illinois. In all,
about 88,000 horses, mules and other equines were slaughtered last
year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
      "We don't want people to eat horses," said Dave Stefanic,
national director of the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse
Association. "You're talking to a horse lover here. I don't see
any reason to do this to a horse. There are other sources of
food."
      The measure, as written, could prevent Kentucky horses from
being shipped out of state for slaughter.
      "It just seems so unlike Kentucky to still treat horses that
way," Buford said Wednesday.
      Chris Heyde, deputy legislative director for the Society for
Animal Protective Legislation in Washington, said a federal ban on
horse slaughter is necessary to eliminate the practice. However,
Heyde said moves by legislators in states like Kentucky to ban
horse slaughter supports the national cause.
      "It sends a great message," Heyde said. "It says Kentuckians
want this done."
      ---
      The legislation is Senate Bill 6.
     
      (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)
     
AP-NY-01-03-07 1703EST

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