By a vote of 35-4, a bill prohibiting the slaughter of horses for human consumption passed the New Jersey Senate on June 25. It is now up to New Jersey governor Chris Christie to approve it.
Someone might want to listen to who wants him to do the right thing.
20-year-old Jessica Springsteen (yes, daughter of that Springsteen and an accomplished equestrian) is among the signees of a letter urging Christie to sign the anti-horse slaughter bill, says the Asbury Park Press. Said Jessica Springsteen in the letter, which was released via the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:
“I have spent my life with horses and they are our partners and companions. I believe that horses deserve to be treated with respect, and their lives should not end with the horrors of a slaughterhouse.”
The State Assembly has already passed an identical bill, A2023, by a vote of 75-3.
Both bills would not only ban the slaughtering of horses and selling it for human consumption in New Jersey, but also prohibit transporting horses who are to be slaughtered through the state. Under the bill, anyone who “knowingly slaughters, sells or barters a horse for human consumption” would face a disorderly persons offense and risk being fined up to $100 and receive 30 days imprisonment, plus civil fees of between $500-$1,000 for each horse slaughtered or for each carcass sold for human consumption.
As the Asbury Park Press notes, there are no horse slaughterhouses now in the U.S. after Congress eliminated funding for Department of Agriculture inspectors in 2006. In the 1980s, there were about a dozen horse slaughterhouses in the U.S.
Supporters of the bill point out New Jersey is currently a “major artery” for sending horses to Canada to their deaths; horses are also sent to slaughterhouses in Mexico.
In the Asbury Park Press, New Jersey Farm Bureau research associate Ed Wengryn opposes the bill, contending that one of the “unintended consequences” of shutting down slaughterhouses is that “older, unwanted horses are being abandoned and that uncomfortable lives for some horses are being prolonged.” But Kathleen Schatzmann, state director of the Humane Society, emphasizes that, after California passed a horse slaughter ban in 1998, there was no increase in cruelty cases. Indeed, New Jersey has “cruelty statutes that protect our horses, so they can’t starve them, they can’t abandon them,” Schatzmann said.
Christie, who has not indicated if he might sign the bill, has until September 24 to decide.
After the bill passed the Senate, Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, a Democrat, told NJ.com that he was “proud” that New Jersey is “becoming the humane capital of the world.” It’s up to Christie (provided he can take time out of his busy schedule campaigning for Mitt Romney) now to prove this.
As the Asbury Park Press quips, while the governor “can’t seem to make his musical hero Bruce Springsteen happy,” he now has the “chance to impress” the Boss’s daughter. But will he?
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