Progress on Capitol Hill for America's Horses


April 19, 2016 ...  Today was a big day on Capitol Hill for America's horses, with victories on two important issues.

Farr-Dent Amendment Narrowly Passed By U.S. House Appropriations Committee

On Tuesday morning, the House Appropriations Committee voted 25-23 to adopt the Farr-Dent Amendment to prohibit the use of tax dollars for horse slaughter. This amendment will prohibit the expenditure of federal funds on USDA inspections of horse meat at slaughter plants. Without such inspections, horse slaughter plants cannot operate in the U.S., so the amendment effectively continues the de facto ban on horse slaughter in our nation. 

Members who voted YES on the amendment to protect horses: 

Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Charlie Dent (R-PA), Sam Farr (D-CA), Michael Honda (D-CA),  Steve Israel (D-NY), David Jolly (R-FL), David Joyce (R-OH), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), David Price (D-NC), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Tom Rooney (R-FL), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Peter Visclosky (D-IN), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Kevin Yoder (R-KS).

Members who voted NO on the amendment: 

Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Mark Amodei (R-NV), Ken Calvert (R-CA), John Carter (R-TX), Tom Cole (R-OK), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ),  Kay Granger (R-TX), Tom Graves (R-GA), Andy Harris (R-MD), Jaime Herrera Buetler (R-WA), Evan Jenkins (R-WV), Steven Palazzo (R-MS), Scott Rigell (R-VA), Martha Roby (R-AL), Hal Rogers (R-KY), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Chris Stewart (R-UT), David Valadao (R-CA), Steve Womack (R-AR), David Young (R-IA).

Not voting: 

Henry Cuellar (D-TX), John Culberson (R-TX), Chaka Fattah (D-PA).

Burr-Tillis Amendment Adopted by U.S. Senate

Later Tuesday on a voice vote, the U.S. Senate adopted the Burr-Tillis Amendment to the Energy Policy Modernization Act to protect the historic Corolla wild horses on North Carolina's Outer Banks. Many Democratic Senators, along with Defenders of Wildlife and other pro-hunting groups opposed the amendment, maintaining, absurdly, that it would force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to manage a "non-native" species. However, FWS lands comprise less than a third of the Corolla horses' range, and the FWS routinely manages non-native species for cultural/historic significance and, more commonly, for hunting purposes. Apparently, the FWS and the Defenders of Wildlife have no issue managing non-native species for hunters, but seek the eradication of a population of rare colonial Spanish mustangs that has lived in North Carolina for over 500 years and are overwhelmingly valued by the general public

Thanks to strong constituent outreach for the Corolla horses (“Thank you” to all AWHPC supporters who made their calls!), the Senate reached a compromise on the amendment. While not including everything we wanted for the horses, the amendment does require the FWS to allow for the introduction of new horses into the Corolla herd to secure the genetic viability of the population, which is currently suffering from inbreeding and its resulting birth defects. It's an important step on the road to securing the future for the beautiful Corolla wild horses who are important to the state and the nation, and are enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Outer Banks each year. Kudos to our coalition partner the Corolla Wild Horse Fund for all their hard work to pass this legislation, and special thanks to the legislation's sponsors Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, and Representative Walter Jones.

For a chuckle, watch the Senators voting on the amendment with all “Ayes” and one "neigh."