Marchione introduces bill in State Senate to Protect Horses From Slaughter

 

For Immediate Release: April 18, 2013


Contact: Josh Fitzpatrick, 518-455-2381 (Marchione), fitzpatr@nysenate.gov


                       Marchione, Tedisco, Saratoga Horse Owners and Racing Leaders: “Protect NYS Horses from Slaughter”


Legislators tour “Old Friends at Cabin Creek” race horse retirement home in Greenfield; Marchione introduces bill in Senate to prevent horses from being trucked through NYS for slaughter and for food consumption which is dangerous for humans 


With this year marking the 150th anniversary of horse racing in Saratoga, and the opening this week of the Oklahoma training track at the Saratoga Race Course, Senator Kathleen A. Marchione (R,C-Halfmoon) and Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville) today joined thoroughbred industry professionals and equine advocates to tour “Old Friends at Cabin Creek” race horse retirement ranch in Greenfield and announced a major new effort to protect New York State horses from being sent to slaughterhouses and shipped overseas for food consumption. 


Marchione and Tedisco are championing legislation to prohibit the slaughter of horses for human consumption and to prevent horses from being transported across state lines in New York for slaughter. The legislation (Senate Bill S.4615/Assembly Bill A.3905) was introduced in the Senate by Marchione and is co-sponsored by Tedisco, and prime-sponsored by Assemblywoman Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan), in the Assembly. 


            “In 2010, 137,984 horses were exported to Canada to be slaughtered, the vast majority of which were intended for human consumption abroad, primarily in Europe and Japan. Horses at slaughterhouses are treated with cruel indifference and subjected to unimaginable pain and suffering. Currently, it is against the law to slaughter horses specifically for dog and cat food – so why would we ever allow New York State horses to be slaughtered for human consumption, especially when many horses have received medications that are banned by the FDA for use at any time during the life of livestock animals? The slaughtering of horses for food is unconscionable, inhumane and needs to end, which is the goal of the bill I am championing in the Senate. With a horse meat plant in New Mexico reportedly nearing approval, there isn’t a moment to lose for New York State to enact a tough new law that will better protect horses that are so beloved here in Saratoga County and such a vital part of our local economy and proud agricultural heritage,” Senator Marchione said. 


“Horses are majestic animals that are intrinsically tied to the rich history and culture of New York State and our entire nation.  Not only are horses athletes and companions that provide therapeutic services to children, people with disabilities and to our veterans but they are just too beautiful too kill.  Let’s end horse slaughter in New York,” said Tedisco, who was the driving force behind New York’s landmark animal cruelty felony Buster’s Law. “This is more than just protecting horses from being slaughtered; it’s a public safety issue as horses are routinely given medications that could be harmful to humans if ingested.” 


The measure will be a focus of the 2013 American Equine Summit held in Chatham, NY on April 27th where Tedisco will be the keynote speaker and one of the legislative priorities for NYS Animal Advocacy Day on June 4th in Albany, NY. 


“The bill banning horse slaughter for human consumption is important considering how critical horses have been to our country.  From assisting in the building of our country to the recreational value they serve now.  Recent stories of horse meat having infiltrated the food supply raise questions about the process used to retire horses from active life.  I very much hope we can pass this bill this year,” said Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick. 


“Old Friends at Cabin Creek” is home to 12 retired thoroughbred race horses including two winners of the Travers Stakes: Thunder Rumble (1989) and Will’s Way (1996). The thoroughbred horse retirement home is located in Greenfield which is in both the 112th Assembly District represented by Tedisco and the 43rd State Senate District represented by Marchione. 


Each year tens of thousands of horses in our country are transported across state lines to Canada or Mexico for slaughter and sent overseas for food consumption.  The 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand was sent to Japan in 2002 where he was slaughtered and became either pet food or steaks for human consumption. Europe has been rocked by recent scandals over horsemeat sold as beef that contained veterinary medicine that’s prohibited from human consumption. 


“Horses have stood by people all throughout history doing whatever we’ve asked of them. Now we need to stand up for them and end the barbaric slaughter of these magnificent animals,” said Joanne Pepper, owner of Old Friends at Cabin Creek in Greenfield, NY. 


“As the owner of a Kentucky Derby-winning horse, the realities of horse slaughter sound very real when one considers the fate of another Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand, whose ultimate fate was in the slaughter house. I believe any horse owner should support any effort on the state or federal level to prevent horse slaughter in our country,” said Jack Knowlton, Operating Manager of Sackatoga Stable, racing manager for 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Winner Funny Cide. 


“We applaud Assemblyman Jim Tedisco and Senator Kathy Marchione for their sponsorship of legislation which would ban the slaughter of New York equines for human consumption. Horses are sporting, recreational and companion animals. Like dogs and cats, they deserve to be humanely euthanized at the end of their lives, not sent to the slaughterhouse. Horses are not bred for consumption and should be removed from the food chain entirely. We feel strongly that New York should follow California, Illinois, Texas and New Jersey in banning horse slaughter as we progress toward the ultimate goal to prohibit the slaughter of any wild or domestic equine from the United States,” said Susan Wagner, President, Equine Advocates in Chatham, NY. 


“Saratoga War Horse is committed to saving horses from slaughter by repurposing them to teach veterans to connect with horses, a process called ‘join-up,’ to work through the emotional scars of warfare. Our therapeutic program for veterans demonstrates every day that these horses have a lot they can give even after their racing days are over,” said Bob Nevins, Founder of Saratoga WarHorse.  


“This year, our community will celebrate the 150th year of the Saratoga Race Course, the oldest sporting venue in the U.S. As we look to the future of Thoroughbred Horse Racing, it’s imperative that we thank organizations like Old Friends of Cabin Creek for the great work they do to care for the retired Thoroughbred Horses, many of whom have raced at Saratoga. We also need to get behind our local legislators who are leading the charge to ban the slaughter of these horses for food as part of our overall commitment to the care and well-being of these horses. This will be a great year in Saratoga and it would be even better if this legislation were to pass as we look forward to the next 150 years of racing in Saratoga,” said Todd Shimkus, President of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce.


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