From his perch as cochairman of the Animal Protection Caucus, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., urged U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to keep the ban on horse slaughtering in place.
Buchanan rounded up 20 fellow members of Congress to urge Ryan and U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-NJ, the chairman of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, to urge they keep the ban in effect as the House and Senate try to reach a final agreement on spending. Currently, extending the ban is included as part of the Senate’s legislation but not the House’s.
“Horse slaughter threatens public health, is strongly opposed by the vast majority of Americans, has no American market and benefits foreign interests,” the representatives wrote. “Our American values support the protection of these animals; our federal policies should continue to reflect that.”
“Although the slaughter of horses for human consumption is currently not allowed in the United States, the prohibition is temporary and subject to annual congressional review,” Buchanan’s office noted on Thursday. “A national poll conducted on behalf of the ASPCA found that 80 percent of Americans favor a ban on horse slaughter and want to protect these animals from abuse.”
U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., was the only member of the Florida delegation to sign the letter besides Buchanan though some Republicans who hold key posts in the House, including U.S. Reps. Steve Chabot of Ohio, Peter King of New York, Ed Royce of California, and Chris Smith of New Jersey, signed the letter.
In recent years, Buchanan, who sits on both the U.S. House Budget and Ways and Means Committees, has been active on animal welfare issues, including calling on the Trump administration to keep bans of African lion and elephant trophies. Last year, he teamed up with U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-NM, to urge the Interior Department to end plans to exterminate or sell more than 45,000 wild horses. Buchanan has also been leading the charge on Capitol Hill to stop slaughtering horses for human consumption.
The Bradenton congressman has also been active in trying to keep manatees covered under the Endangered Species Act. Earlier this year, Buchanan protested the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to downgrade manatees from “endangered” to “threatened.” Buchanan also teamed up with U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., bringing out the “Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act,” a proposal banning the slaughter of cats and dogs for human consumption. Buchanan was named legislator of the year by the Humane Society of the United States in 2016.
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