Text: H.R.857 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (02/13/2003)


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[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 857 Introduced in House (IH)]






108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 857

 To prevent the slaughter of horses in and from the United States for 
  human consumption by prohibiting the slaughter of horses for human 
 consumption and by prohibiting the trade and transport of horseflesh 
and live horses intended for human consumption, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                           February 13, 2003

Mr. Sweeney (for himself, Mr. Spratt, Mr. Shays, Mr. Ford, Mr. Smith of 
   New Jersey, Mr. Moran of Virginia, Mr. Costello, Mr. Isakson, Mr. 
 Vitter, Mr. Calvert, Mr. Gallegly, and Mr. Greenwood) introduced the 
following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Agriculture, and 
 in addition to the Committees on International Relations and Ways and 
 Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in 
   each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the 
                jurisdiction of the committee concerned

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To prevent the slaughter of horses in and from the United States for 
  human consumption by prohibiting the slaughter of horses for human 
 consumption and by prohibiting the trade and transport of horseflesh 
and live horses intended for human consumption, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

     This Act may be cited as ``The American Horse Slaughter Prevention 
Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

     Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) Horses have played a significant role in the history 
        and culture of the United States.
            (2) Horses in the United States are not raised for food or 
        fiber.
            (3) As a non-food and recreational animal, horses should be 
        protected from slaughter.
            (4) The foreign-owned horse slaughter industry has 
        slaughtered and exported for human consumption over 3 million 
        American horses in the last 2 decades.
            (5) Approximately 55,000 American horses are slaughtered 
        for human consumption annually in the United States by foreign-
        owned slaughterhouses. Tens of thousands of live horses are 
        exported from the United States annually for slaughter.
            (6) Horses slaughtered in these foreign-owned plants in the 
        United States have often been hauled several thousand miles 
        over several days, contrary to acceptable non-slaughter 
        standards for water, food, and rest.
            (7) Many horses shipped to slaughter are young, healthy 
        animals. Others are old, sick, blind, crippled and in otherwise 
        poor condition and are unfit to withstand the rigors of long 
        travel. Horses sent to be slaughtered are often shipped on 
        crowded double deck trucks designed for shorter necked species 
        such as pigs, cattle and sheep, and are forced to travel in a 
        bent position which can result in suffering, injury and death.
            (8) Killing of horses by foreign-owned slaughterhouses in 
        the United States contrasts with the preferable method of 
        killing by chemical euthanasia.
            (9) Horses endure repeated blows to the head with stunning 
        equipment that often does not render the animals unconscious. 
        Some horses proceed still conscious through the remaining 
        stages of slaughter being bled out and dismembered.
            (10) Because horses in America are not food animals, 
        veterinarians commonly prescribe and treat horses with potent 
        drugs that may reside in the horseflesh and be dangerous when 
        consumed by humans.
            (11) Because of the lack of disclosure on the part of the 
        agents and dealers for the slaughter plants people's horses are 
        many times acquired and slaughtered through fraud and 
        misrepresentation. Slaughter also provides a quick and 
        evidence-free outlet for stolen horses.
            (12) The imposition of a ban on the sale of horseflesh for 
        human consumption, regardless of its source, is consistent with 
        the international obligations of the United States because it 
        applies equally to domestic and foreign producers and avoids 
        any discrimination among foreign sources of competing products. 
        Such a ban is also consistent with provisions of international 
        agreements to which the United States is a party that expressly 
        allow for measures designed to protect the health and welfare 
        of animals and to enjoin the use of deceptive trade practices 
        in international or domestic commerce.

SEC. 3. PURPOSE.

     The purpose of this Act is --
            (1) to prohibit the slaughter of horses for human 
        consumption;
            (2) to prohibit the sale, possession, and trade of 
        horseflesh for human consumption;
            (3) to prohibit the sale, possession, and trade of live 
        horses for slaughter for human consumption.

SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.

     For the purposes of this Act, the following definitions apply:
            (1) Euthanasia.--The term ``euthanasia'' means to kill an 
        animal humanely by means that immediately renders the animal 
        unconscious, with this state remaining until the animal's swift 
        death.
            (2) Export.--The term ``export'' means to take from any 
        place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to a 
        place not subject to such jurisdiction, whether or not the 
        taking constitutes an exportation within the meaning of the 
        customs laws of the United States.
            (3) Horse.--The term ``horse'' means all members of the 
        equid family, including horses, ponies, donkeys, mules, asses, 
        and burros.
            (4) Horseflesh.--The term ``horseflesh'' means the flesh of 
        a dead horse, including the animal's viscera, skin, hair, hide, 
        hooves, and bones.
            (5) Human consumption.--The term ``human consumption'' 
        means ingestion by people as a source of food.
            (6) Import.--The term ``import'' means to bring into any 
        place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States from a 
        place not subject to such jurisdiction, whether or not the 
        bringing constitutes an importation within the meaning of the 
        customs laws of the United States.
            (7) Person.--The term ``person'' means--
                    (A) an individual, corporation, partnership, trust, 
                association, or other private entity;
                    (B) an officer, employee, agent, department, or 
                instrumentality of--
                            (i) the Federal Government; or
                            (ii) any State, municipality, or political 
                        subdivision of State; or
                    (C) any other entity subject to the jurisdiction of 
                the United States.
            (8) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
        of Agriculture.
            (9) Slaughter.--The term ``slaughter'' means the commercial 
        slaughter of one or more horses with the intent to sell, 
        barter, or trade the flesh for human consumption.
            (10) State.--The term ``State'' means the several States, 
        the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the 
        Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana 
        Islands, American Samoa, and any other territory, or possession 
        of the United States.
            (11) Transport.--The term ``transport'' means to move by 
        any means, or to receive or load onto a vehicle for the purpose 
        of movement.
            (12) United states.--The term ``United States'' means the 
        customs territory of the United States, as defined in general 
        note 2 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.

SEC. 5. PROHIBITED ACTS.

    (a) In General.--A person shall not--
            (1) slaughter a horse for human consumption;
            (2) import into, or export from, the United States 
        horseflesh for human consumption or live horses intended for 
        slaughter for human consumption;
            (3) sell or barter, offer to sell or barter, purchase, 
        possess, transport, deliver, or receive horseflesh for human 
        consumption or live horses intended for slaughter for human 
        consumption; or
            (4) solicit, request, or otherwise knowingly cause any act 
        prohibited under paragraph (1), (2), or (3).

SEC. 6. PENALTIES AND ENFORCEMENT.

    (a) Criminal Penalties.--A person who violates section 5 shall be 
fined under title 18, United States Code, imprisoned for not more than 
1 year, or both.
    (b) Civil Penalties.--
            (1) In general.--Any person who violates any provision of 
        section 5 shall, in addition to any other civil or criminal 
        penalty that may be imposed under title 18, United States Code, 
        or any other provision of law, be assessed, by the Secretary, a 
        civil penalty of not more than $5,000 but not less than $2,500, 
        and shall have confiscated all horses in that person's physical 
        or legal possession at the time of arrest, if said horses are 
        intended for slaughter.
            (2) Debarment.--The Secretary shall prohibit a person from 
        importing, exporting, transporting, trading, or selling horses 
        in the United States, if the Secretary finds that the person 
        has engaged in a pattern or practice of actions that has 
        resulted in a final judicial or administrative determination 
        with respect to the assessment of criminal or civil penalties 
        for violations of any provision of this Act
    (c) Notice; Hearing.--No monetary penalty may be assessed under 
this subsection against a person unless the person is given notice and 
opportunity for a hearing with respect to such violation in accordance 
with section 554 of title 5, United States Code.
    (d) Enforcement.--
            (1) Use of personnel.--The Secretary shall enforce this 
        Act, and may use, by agreement, the personnel, services, and 
        facilities of any other Federal, State, or local agency for the 
        purposes of enforcing this Act. For good cause shown, the 
        Secretary may remit or mitigate any civil penalty.
            (2) Execution of process; arrest; search; seizure.--Any 
        person authorized by the Secretary to enforce this Act may 
        execute any warrant or process issued by any officer or court 
        of competent jurisdiction to enforce this Act. Such a person so 
        authorized may, in addition to any other authority conferred by 
        law--
                    (A) with or without warrant or other process, 
                arrest any person committing in his presence or view a 
                violation of this Act or the regulations issued 
                thereunder;
                    (B) seize the cargo of any truck or other 
                conveyance used or employed to violate this Act or the 
                regulations issued hereunder or which reasonably 
                appears to have been so used or employed; and
                    (C) seize, whenever and wherever found, all horses 
                and horseflesh possessed in violation of this Act or 
                the regulations issued thereunder and dispose of them, 
                in accordance with this section and regulations 
                prescribed by the Secretary.
            (3) Placement of confiscated horses.--
                    (A) Temporary placement.--After confiscation of a 
                live horse pursuant to this Act, the arresting 
                authorities shall work with animal welfare societies 
                and animal control departments to ensure the temporary 
                placement of the horse with an animal rescue facility 
                that is an organization described in section 501(c)(3) 
                of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and is exempt from 
                taxation under section 501(a) of such Code, while the 
                person charged with violating this Act is prosecuted. 
                If placement at such a facility is not possible, the 
                arresting authorities shall work with animal welfare 
                societies and animal control departments to temporarily 
                place the horse with a facility that has as its primary 
                purpose the humane treatment of animals, or another 
                suitable location.
                    (B) Bonds.--
                            (i) Posting of bond.--The owner of a horse 
                        confiscated pursuant to this Act may prevent 
                        permanent placement of the horse by the 
                        facility that has temporary custody of the 
                        horse by posting a bond with the court in an 
                        amount the court determines is sufficient to 
                        provide for the necessary care and keeping of 
                        the horse for at least 60 days, including the 
                        day on which the horse was taken into custody. 
                        Such bond shall be filed with the court within 
                        10 days after the horse is confiscated. If a 
                        bond is not so posted, the custodial facility 
                        shall determine permanent placement of the 
                        horse in accordance with reasonable practices 
                        for the humane treatment of animals. If the 
                        animal has not yet been returned to the owner 
                        at the end of the time for which expenses are 
                        covered by the bond, and if the owner desires 
                        to prevent permanent placement of the animal by 
                        the custodial facility, the owner shall post a 
                        new bond with the court within ten days 
                        following the prior bond's expiration. If a new 
                        bond is not so posted, the custodial facility 
                        shall determine permanent placement of the 
                        horse in accordance with reasonable practices 
                        for the humane treatment of animals.
                            (ii) Costs for providing care for horse 
                        deducted from bond.--If a bond has been posted 
                        in accordance with clause (i), the custodial 
                        facility may draw from the bond the actual 
                        reasonable costs incurred by the facility in 
                        providing the necessary care and keeping of the 
                        confiscated horse from the date of the initial 
                        confiscation to the date of final disposition 
                        of the horse in the criminal action charging a 
                        violation of this Act.
                    (C) Permanent placement.--Any horse confiscated 
                pursuant to this Act and not returned to the owner 
                thereafter (except where otherwise provided in 
                paragraph (4)) shall be placed permanently with an 
                animal rescue facility or other suitable facility as 
                described in this section upon--
                            (i) the conviction of the horse's owner 
                        pursuant to this Act;
                            (ii) the owner's surrender of the horse;
                            (iii) the failure of the horse's owner to 
                        post a bond as required in accordance with 
                        subparagraph (B); or
                            (iv) the Secretary's inability to identify 
                        the owner.
            (4) Euthanasia of horses.--
                    (A) Emergency circumstances.--The Secretary or any 
                law enforcement individual charged with enforcing this 
                Act may order or perform the immediate euthanasia of 
                any horse in the field when such horse is injured 
                beyond recovery and suffering irreversibly. Methods 
                used shall be in accordance with the most recent Report 
                of the American Veterinary Medical Association's Panel 
                on Euthanasia (2000) and State and local laws and may 
                include gunshot, but shall not include electrocution or 
                penetrating captive bolt.
                    (B) Horses beyond recovery and unplaceable.--The 
                Secretary or any individual charged with enforcing this 
                Act may order the euthanasia of any confiscated horse 
                when injured, disabled, or diseased beyond recovery or 
                when placement at an animal rescue facility or other 
                suitable facility, as described in this section, is not 
                possible within 90 days of any circumstance as 
                described in section 6(d)(3)(C). An equine or large-
                animal veterinarian shall perform the euthanasia rated 
                ``Acceptable'' for horses in the most recent Report of 
                the American Veterinary Medical Association's Panel on 
                Euthanasia (2000), but shall not include penetrating 
                captive bolt, electrocution, gunshot, or other non-
                chemical means.
    (e) Funding of Animal Rescue Facilities.--
            (1) Grants.--To the extent that funds are made available 
        for this purpose by Acts of appropriation, the Secretary shall 
        make grants to animal rescue facilities described in this 
        section that have given adequate assurances to the Secretary 
        that they are willing to accept horses confiscated pursuant to 
        this Act.
            (2) Penalties, fines, and forfeited property.--Amounts 
        received as penalties, fines, or forfeited property under this 
        Act shall be used for the care of any live horses seized from 
        violators of this Act and taken into the possession of the 
        United States or placed with an animal rescue facility as 
        described in this section.
    (f) Calculation of Violations.--For purposes of this section, a 
separate offense shall be calculated as follows:
            (1) Each live horse transported, traded, slaughtered, or 
        possessed in violation of this Act shall constitute a separate 
        offense.
            (2) Every four hundred pounds or less of confiscated 
        horseflesh shall constitute a separate offense.

SEC. 7. REPORT ON ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS.

     Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this 
Act, and on an annual basis thereafter, the Secretary shall submit a 
report to Congress on the efforts of the United States Government to 
enforce the provisions of this Act and the adequacy of the resources to 
do so.

SEC. 8. EXEMPTIONS.

    (a) In General.--Except as provided in section 5, nothing in this 
Act shall be construed to affect the regulation by any State of its 
horse population.
    (b) Exception for Designated Law Enforcement Official Purposes.--A 
person described in section 4(7)(B) may engage in activities described 
in paragraphs (2), (3), and (4) of section 5 solely for purposes of 
enforcing this Act.

SEC. 9. DATE OF ENFORCEMENT.

     This Act shall take effect one year after the date of the 
enactment of this Act.
                                 <all>