[House Report 110-901]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]






110th Congress                                            Rept. 110-901
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                      Part 1

======================================================================



 
                PREVENTION OF EQUINE CRUELTY ACT OF 2008

                                _______
                                

 September 28, 2008.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Conyers, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                             MINORITY VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 6598]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 6598) to amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit 
certain conduct relating to the use of horses for human 
consumption, having considered the same, report favorably 
thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill as 
amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
The Amendment....................................................     2
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     2
Hearings.........................................................     5
Committee Consideration..........................................     6
Committee Votes..................................................     6
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     8
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     9
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     9
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................    10
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................    10
Advisory on Earmarks.............................................    10
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................    10
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............    11
Minority Views...................................................    12

                             The Amendment

  The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 
2008''.

SEC. 2. SLAUGHTER OF HORSES FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.

  (a) In General.--Chapter 3 of title 18, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end the following:

``Sec. 50. Slaughter of horses for human consumption

  ``(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), whoever knowingly--
          ``(1) possesses, ships, transports, purchases, sells, 
        delivers, or receives, in or affecting interstate commerce or 
        foreign commerce, any horse with the intent that it is to be 
        slaughtered for human consumption; or
          ``(2) possesses, ships, transports, purchases, sells, 
        delivers, or receives, in or affecting interstate commerce or 
        foreign commerce, any horse flesh or carcass or part of a 
        carcass, with the intent that it is to be used for human 
        consumption;
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years 
or both.
  ``(b) If--
          ``(1) the defendant engages in conduct that would otherwise 
        constitute an offense under subsection (a);
          ``(2) the defendant has no prior conviction under this 
        section; and
          ``(3) the conduct involves less than five horses or less than 
        2000 pounds of horse flesh or carcass or part of a carcass;
the defendant shall, instead of being punished under that subsection, 
be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or 
both.
  ``(c) The Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of 
Agriculture, shall provide for the humane placement or other humane 
disposition of any horse seized in connection with an offense under 
this section.
  ``(d) As used in this section, the term `horse' means any member of 
the family Equidae.''.
  (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections for chapter 3 of title 
18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following 
new item:

``50. Slaughter of horses for human consumption.''.

                          Purpose and Summary

    This bill makes it illegal to possess, ship, transport, 
purchase, sell, deliver, or receive any horse with the intent 
that itbe slaughtered for human consumption. The bill also 
makes it illegal to engage in the above conduct with respect to 
horse flesh or carcass with the intent that it be used for 
human consumption. The crime is punishable as either a 
misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances of the 
offense.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

                               BACKGROUND

    In 2007, the last three horse slaughter houses\1\ in the 
United States were closed as a result of State laws. In January 
2007, the Fifth Circuit upheld a 1949 Texas State law that had 
prohibited the possession, sale, or transfer of horsemeat for 
human consumption. Empacadora de Carnes de Fresnillo, S.A. de 
C.V. v. Durry, 476 F.3d 326 (5th Cir. 2007). As a result of 
this ruling, the two remaining horse slaughter houses in Texas 
were closed. The State of Illinois, on May 24, 2007, passed the 
Illinois Horse Meat Act, making it unlawful to slaughter a 
horse knowing that the meat will be used for human consumption. 
The Seventh Circuit upheld the legality of this State law, and 
the last remaining horse slaughter plant in the United States 
closed its doors. Cavel International, Inc. v. Madigan, 500 
F.3d 551 (7th Cir. 2007).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Horse ``slaughter'' is a term used to refer to the process of 
killing a horse for the purpose of human consumption. The horses are 
alive when they arrive at the slaughterhouse. Horse ``rendering'' 
plants accept deceased horses, which are then processed for purposes 
other than human consumption. Horse rendering plants are legal and are 
not at issue here.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In spite of these plant closures, the practice of horse 
slaughter for human consumption has not gone away. Horses from 
the United States are now being shipped to plants in Mexico or 
Canada, where horses are slaughtered for human consumption. The 
horse meat is then shipped to Europe and Asia, where horse meat 
is considered a delicacy. The Humane Society of the United 
States reports that in 2007, over 100,000 horses were 
slaughtered for human consumption or exported for slaughter for 
human consumption. Of this total, about 78,000 horses were 
exported to Canada or Mexico for slaughter for human 
consumption.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\Humane Society Equine Slaughter Table, 9/24/2008, compiling data 
from the USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) ``FAS Agricultural 
Import Aggregations and HS-10 Digit Import Commities'' Commodity Codes 
0101901010 & 0101190010 (Live Horses for Immediate Slaughter), weekly 
Year to Date data from USDA APHIS, ``Canadian Live Animal Imports into 
the U.S. by Destination,'' weekly reports listed at http://
www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/wa_ls637.txt; Annual Data from USDA NASS, 
``Equine Slaughter,'' query conducted at http://www.nass.usda.gov:8080/
QuickStats/index2.jsp; Statistics Canada, Canadian International 
Merchandise Trade, Commodity Code 0101190010 & 0101900011 (Horses for 
slaughter), query conducted at http://www.statcan.ca/trade/scripts7/
trade_search.cgi; and USDA Market News Service, ``US to Mexico Weekly 
Livestock Export Summary,'' weekly reports listed at http://
www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/al_s635.txt
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The process of slaughtering horses generally starts with 
the purchase of horses at a horse auction by a bidder commonly 
referred to as a ``killer-buyer,'' who is in the business of 
buying horses for transport to the slaughterhouses in Mexico 
and Canada. These killer-buyers are often able to out-bid other 
bidders. Horse owners selling their horses at such auctions 
often have no idea that their horses are being purchased for 
slaughter, and are devastated when they discover that their 
horse was slaughtered.
    The transportation and slaughter process is often brutal. 
The horses may travel more than 24 hours to the slaughterhouse, 
during which time they typically are not provided water, food 
or rest. Procedures at the slaughterhouses vary. According to 
an investigative report by the San Antonio Express News, the 
``puntilla'' method of slaughter is the standard method at 
older Mexican slaughterhouses.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\Lisa Sandberg, Horse Slaughters Taking Place on the Border, 
posted October 2, 2007, http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/
MYSA093007_01A_horseslaughter_3496288_html860.ht ml (with San Antonio 
Express News).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The ``puntilla'' method begins with placement of the horse 
in a narrow chute, where the horse is stabbed with a puntilla 
knife in the back in order to paralyze it. The horse then is 
hoisted up by one of its legs and slashed in the neck until it 
bleeds to death. Reporters from the San Antonio Express 
witnessed and filmed this process at a horse slaughterhouse in 
Juarez, Mexico.\4\ On the day of one news visit, it took the 
slaughterhouse worker 13 stabs in the horse's back before the 
horse collapsed.\5\ According to Temple Grandin, a professor of 
animal science at Colorado State University, repeated jabs to 
the spinal cord would not immediately kill the horse, and the 
``horse would likely experience being hoisted up and it's 
probably going to experience being bled.''\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Lisa Sandberg & Jerry Lara, Scent of Death, http://
www.mysanantonio.com/news/
MYSA093007_03B_EN_richtercol_11bea10bf_html4619.html
    \5\Sandberg, supra note 3.
    \6\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                        DESCRIPTION OF H.R. 6598

    H.R. 6598 amends Chapter 3 of Title 18, which covers 
``Animals, Birds, Fish, and Plants.'' It criminalizes the 
possession, shipment, transport, purchase, sale, delivery, or 
receipt of any horse with the intent that it be slaughtered for 
human consumption. The bill also criminalizes the same conduct 
with respect to horse carcasses or flesh when intended to be 
used for human consumption. The law provides for both 
misdemeanor and felony offenses. A first time offender whose 
conduct involves less than five horses or 2000 pounds of horse 
flesh would be guilty of a misdemeanor. A repeat offender, or 
someone whose crime involves more than five horses or 2000 
pounds flesh, faces a felony conviction, with a statutory 
maximum sentence of 3 years prison.
    The bill has a high mens rea, requiring that a person 
knowingly engage in the prohibited conduct with the intent that 
the horse be slaughtered for human consumption. A person who 
does not knowingly engage in conduct with such intent, such as 
a farmer who sells his horse and later discovers that the buyer 
intended to slaughter the horse for human consumption, would 
not be guilty under this bill.
    It is hoped that the existence of this bill will 
effectively deter the majority of conduct prohibited by the 
bill. To the extent that people do not comply with the bill and 
the Department of Justice is required to seize horses, it is 
anticipated that they will work with local rescue groups and 
animal shelters for the humane placement or other disposition 
of the horses.

                         ARGUMENTS BY OPPONENTS

    Opponents of this bill have argued that horse slaughter is 
a necessary evil, and that without it, the horses that would 
have been slaughtered will be abandoned or neglected, leading 
to another and worse form of cruelty to horses. The available 
evidence, however, does not support this assertion. Between 
1990 and 1995, the number of horses slaughtered in the United 
States decreased from 345,700 to 109, 225. By 2001, the number 
of horses slaughtered in the United States or exported for 
slaughter had dropped to only 79, 734.\7\ During this time, 
there was no reported epidemic of unwanted horses resulting 
from the decreased number of horses being slaughtered.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\Humane Society Equine Slaughter Table, supra note 2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    According to a 2002 United States Department of Agriculture 
report, 92.3% of the horses arriving at two Texas slaughter 
plants arrived in good condition.\8\ They were not the 
``unwanted'' sick, old, or starving horses. This statistic 
comports with common sense: healthy animals maximize the amount 
of meat processed per horse and help insure that the meat will 
be of good quality and safe for human consumption. Thus, the 
proportion of currently slaughtered horses that fall into the 
category of ``unwanted'' sick or old horses would appear to be 
small.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\R. Timothy Cordes, D.V.M. and Betsy J. Stillers, Technical 
Coordinators, U.S.D.A. Guidebook for USDA's Slaughter Horse Transport 
Program, January 2002, at 5.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The corollary of the opponents' argument regarding unwanted 
horses is that horse slaughter for human consumption is a 
humane form of euthanasia. Again, the available evidence does 
not support this claim. The previously described ``puntilla'' 
slaughter method used at many slaughterhouses in Mexico could 
never be considered humane. As described by Dr. Dodman, 
Director of Animal Behavior Department of Clinical Sciences at 
Tufts' Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, ``No ethical 
veterinarian, faced with a client who has a horse that is old, 
sick, or otherwise no longer wanted, would suggest that the 
horse in question should be put on a truck and hauled thousands 
of miles to slaughter. Instead, the veterinarian would most 
likely suggest truly humane euthanasia via chemical injection, 
after which the carcass can be composted, buried, incinerated, 
sent to landfill or rendered.''\9\ The shot could be performed 
by any veterinarian at the farm, ranch, or racetrack.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\Written testimony of Dr. Dodman at 2, submitted for the Crime, 
Terrorism, and Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on July 31, 2008.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee received many letters from horse rescue 
organizations across the country, repeatedly telling the same 
experience of attempting to buy horses at auctions and getting 
out-bid by ``killer-buyers'' from the horse slaughterhouses. 
Based on these and other letters, testimony received at our 
hearing, and countless phone calls and conversations with other 
interested stakeholders, it appears to the Committee that there 
is a strongly committed community of horse rescue and sanctuary 
organizations, farmers, horse owners, and other entities and 
persons that are willing and able to assist with any 
``unwanted'' horses that may result from this legislation. 
Large organizations such as the National Black Farmers 
Association, Animal Welfare Institute, and the Humane Society 
of the United States also have pledged to work with their 
members to find homes for any ``unwanted horses.''
    Horse slaughter for human consumption is a business. It is 
motivated by economic forces, not altruistic ones. In the 
Committee's opinion, the equities balance in favor of this 
legislation. We know for certain that if we do nothing, 
hundreds of thousands of horses will meet cruel and inhumane 
deaths at foreign slaughterhouses; if we pass this legislation, 
we save horses from suffering this same fate in the future. 
There may be unintended adverse consequences for a small 
percentage of these horses; but we are confident that the 
supporters of this bill--which are many and varied--are sincere 
about their commitment to the welfare of all horses.

                                Hearings

    The Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and 
Homeland Security held 1 day of hearings on H.R. 6598, on July 
31, 2008. Testimony was received from Liz Ross, Federal Policy 
Advisor, Animal Welfare Institute; the Honorable Charles W. 
Stenholm, Former Member of Congress and Senior Policy Advisor 
at Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Bode Matz PC; Dr. John Boyd, Jr., 
President, National Black Farmers Association; Dr. Douglas G. 
Corey, DVM and Past President of the American Association of 
Equine Practitioners; Dr. Nicholas Dodman, DVM and Professor, 
Section Head and Program Director, Animal Behavior Department 
of Clinical Sciences Tufts' Cummings School of Veterinary 
Medicine and founding member of Veterinarians for Equine 
Welfare; and Wayne Pacelle, President and Chief Executive 
Officer of the Humane Society of the United States, with 
additional material submitted by the Animal Welfare Institute.

                        Committee Consideration

    The Committee met in open session to consider H.R. 6598 on 
September 10, 2008, September 17, 2008, and September 23, 2008. 
On September 23, 2008, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered the bill H.R. 6598 favorably reported with an 
amendment, by voice vote, a quorum being present.

                            Committee Votes

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the 
following rollcall votes occurred during the Committee's 
consideration of H.R. 6598.
    1. An amendment by Mr. Goodlatte substituting the Secretary 
of Agriculture for the Attorney General as the entity 
responsible for providing for the humane placement or other 
disposition of any horse seized in connection with an offense 
under this section. Defeated 9 to 13.

                                                 ROLLCALL NO. 1
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       Ayes            Nays           Present
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Conyers, Jr., Chairman......................................                              X
Mr. Berman......................................................
Mr. Boucher.....................................................
Mr. Nadler......................................................                              X
Mr. Scott.......................................................                              X
Mr. Watt........................................................
Ms. Lofgren.....................................................                              X
Ms. Jackson Lee.................................................
Ms. Waters......................................................
Mr. Delahunt....................................................
Mr. Wexler......................................................                              X
Ms. Sanchez.....................................................                              X
Mr. Cohen.......................................................                              X
Mr. Johnson.....................................................
Ms. Sutton......................................................                              X
Mr. Gutierrez...................................................
Mr. Sherman.....................................................                              X
Ms. Baldwin.....................................................                              X
Mr. Weiner......................................................
Mr. Schiff......................................................
Mr. Davis.......................................................
Ms. Wasserman Schultz...........................................                              X
Mr. Ellison.....................................................
Mr. Smith, Ranking Member.......................................              X
Mr. Sensenbrenner, Jr...........................................              X
Mr. Coble.......................................................              X
Mr. Gallegly....................................................                              X
Mr. Goodlatte...................................................              X
Mr. Chabot......................................................
Mr. Lungren.....................................................
Mr. Cannon......................................................              X
Mr. Keller......................................................                              X
Mr. Issa........................................................
Mr. Pence.......................................................
Mr. Forbes......................................................              X
Mr. King........................................................              X
Mr. Feeney......................................................              X
Mr. Franks......................................................
Mr. Gohmert.....................................................
Mr. Jordan......................................................              X
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................              9              13
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    2. An amendment by Mr. King requiring the Attorney General 
to reimburse State and local governments for costs incurred 
caring for stray or abandoned horses and to compensate horse 
owners for disposal of horses other than through sale. Defeated 
7 to 14.

                                                 ROLLCALL NO. 2
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       Ayes            Nays           Present
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Conyers, Jr., Chairman......................................                              X
Mr. Berman......................................................                              X
Mr. Boucher.....................................................
Mr. Nadler......................................................                              X
Mr. Scott.......................................................                              X
Mr. Watt........................................................
Ms. Lofgren.....................................................                              X
Ms. Jackson Lee.................................................
Ms. Waters......................................................
Mr. Delahunt....................................................
Mr. Wexler......................................................                              X
Ms. Sanchez.....................................................                              X
Mr. Cohen.......................................................                              X
Mr. Johnson.....................................................
Ms. Sutton......................................................                              X
Mr. Gutierrez...................................................
Mr. Sherman.....................................................
Ms. Baldwin.....................................................                              X
Mr. Weiner......................................................                              X
Mr. Schiff......................................................
Mr. Davis.......................................................
Ms. Wasserman Schultz...........................................                              X
Mr. Ellison.....................................................
Mr. Smith, Ranking Member.......................................              X
Mr. Sensenbrenner, Jr...........................................              X
Mr. Coble.......................................................              X
Mr. Gallegly....................................................                              X
Mr. Goodlatte...................................................              X
Mr. Chabot......................................................
Mr. Lungren.....................................................
Mr. Cannon......................................................              X
Mr. Keller......................................................                              X
Mr. Issa........................................................
Mr. Pence.......................................................
Mr. Forbes......................................................
Mr. King........................................................              X
Mr. Feeney......................................................
Mr. Franks......................................................
Mr. Gohmert.....................................................
Mr. Jordan......................................................              X
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................              7              14
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    3. An amendment by Mr. Steve King (IA 5) providing that 
conduct that would otherwise constitute an offense under this 
Act would not be an offense during a ``calendar year'' unless 
the Department of Justice certifies in advance that, for that 
year, space is available at United States rescue facilities to 
provide unwanted horses with shelter. Defeated 7 to 20.

                                                 ROLLCALL NO. 3
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       Ayes            Nays           Present
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Conyers, Jr., Chairman......................................                              X
Mr. Berman......................................................                              X
Mr. Boucher.....................................................
Mr. Nadler......................................................                              X
Mr. Scott.......................................................                              X
Mr. Watt........................................................                              X
Ms. Lofgren.....................................................                              X
Ms. Jackson Lee.................................................                              X
Ms. Waters......................................................                              X
Mr. Delahunt....................................................                              X
Mr. Wexler......................................................
Ms. Sanchez.....................................................                              X
Mr. Cohen.......................................................                              X
Mr. Johnson.....................................................                              X
Ms. Sutton......................................................                              X
Mr. Gutierrez...................................................
Mr. Sherman.....................................................                              X
Ms. Baldwin.....................................................                              X
Mr. Weiner......................................................                              X
Mr. Schiff......................................................
Mr. Davis.......................................................
Ms. Wasserman Schultz...........................................                              X
Mr. Ellison.....................................................
Mr. Smith, Ranking Member.......................................              X
Mr. Sensenbrenner, Jr...........................................
Mr. Coble.......................................................              X
Mr. Gallegly....................................................                              X
Mr. Goodlatte...................................................              X
Mr. Chabot......................................................                              X
Mr. Lungren.....................................................
Mr. Cannon......................................................              X
Mr. Keller......................................................                              X
Mr. Issa........................................................
Mr. Pence.......................................................
Mr. Forbes......................................................              X
Mr. King........................................................              X
Mr. Feeney......................................................
Mr. Franks......................................................
Mr. Gohmert.....................................................
Mr. Jordan......................................................              X
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................              7              20
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is inapplicable because this legislation does 
not provide new budgetary authority or increased tax 
expenditures.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth, with 
respect to the bill, H.R. 6598, the following estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                Washington, DC, September 25, 2008.
Hon. John Conyers, Jr., Chairman,
Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 6598, the 
Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Mark 
Grabowicz, who can be reached at 226-2860.
            Sincerely,
                                           Peter R. Orszag,
                                                  Director.

Enclosure

cc:
        Honorable Lamar S. Smith.
        Ranking Member
H.R. 6598--Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008.
    As ordered reported by the House Committee on the Judiciary 
on September 23, 2008
    CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 6598 would have no 
significant cost to the Federal Government. Enacting the bill 
could affect direct spending and revenues, but CBO estimates 
that any such effects would not be significant.
    H.R. 6598 would impose a private-sector and 
intergovernmental mandate as defined in the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act (UMRA). It would prohibit possessing, shipping, 
transporting, purchasing, selling, delivering, or receiving any 
horse in interstate or foreign commerce that is to be 
slaughtered for human consumption. The cost of the mandate to 
the private sector would be the loss of income to persons that 
transport horses for slaughter and the cost to horse owners to 
dispose of horses that otherwise would have been slaughtered 
for human consumption. Based on information from the Department 
of Agriculture, CBO expects that those costs would fall below 
the annual threshold established by UMRA for private-sector 
mandates ($136 million in 2008, adjusted annually for 
inflation).
    This mandate also would affect State, local, and tribal 
governments to the extent that they would be responsible for 
unwanted horses that otherwise would have been sold and 
slaughtered. Because most unwanted horses remain in the hands 
of private individuals or organizations, CBO estimates that 
this cost would not be large, and would be well below the 
threshold established in UMRA for intergovernmental mandates 
($68 million in 2008, adjusted annually for inflation).
    H.R. 6598 would establish a new Federal crime relating to 
the slaughter of horses for human consumption. If the bill is 
enacted, the government might be able to pursue cases that it 
otherwise would not be able to prosecute. However, we expect 
that H.R. 6598 would apply to a relatively small number of 
offenders, so any increase in costs for law enforcement, court 
proceedings, or prison operations would not be significant. Any 
such costs would be subject to the availability of appropriated 
funds.
    Because those prosecuted and convicted under H.R. 6598 
could be subject to criminal fines, the Federal Government 
might collect additional fines if the legislation is enacted. 
Criminal fines are recorded as revenues, then deposited in the 
Crime Victims Fund, and later spent. Thus, enacting H.R. 6598 
could increase revenues and direct spending; however, CBO 
expects that any such impact would not be significant.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Mark Grabowicz 
(for Federal costs), who can be reached at 226-2860, Amy Petz 
(for the private-sector impact), who can be reached at 226-
2940, and Elizabeth Cove (for the State and local impact), who 
can be reached at 225-3220. This estimate was approved by Peter 
H. Fontaine, Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The Committee states that pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, H.R. 
6598 will make it a crime to possess, ship, transport, 
purchase, sell, deliver or receive, in or affecting interstate 
or foreign commerce, any horse, horse flesh or horse carcass 
with the intent that it be slaughtered or used for human 
consumption.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds the authority for 
this legislation in article I, section 8, clause 3 of the 
Constitution.

                          Advisory on Earmarks

    In accordance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, H.R. 6598 does not contain any 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(d), 9(e), or 9(f) of Rule XXI.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    The following discussion describes the bill as reported by 
the Committee.
    Sec. 1. Short title. Section 1 sets forth the short title 
of the bill as the ``Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 
2008.''
    Sec. 2. Slaughter of Horses for Human Consumption. Section 
2 amends Chapter 3 of Title 18 by adding a new criminal code 
section, ``Slaughter of horses for human consumption.'' It 
provides that anyone who knowingly (1) possesses, ships, 
transports, purchases, sells, delivers, or receives, in or 
affecting interstate commerce or foreign commerce, any horse 
with the intent that it be slaughtered for human consumption; 
or (2) possesses, ships, transports, purchases, sells, 
delivers, or receives, in or affecting interstate commerce or 
foreign commerce, any horse flesh or carcass with the intent 
that it be used for human consumption, shall be fined or 
imprisoned not more than 3 years, or both. A defendant who 
engages in the above conduct, but has no prior conviction under 
this section and whose conduct involves less than five horses 
or 2000 pounds of horse flesh, shall be fined or imprisoned not 
more than 1 year or both.
    Section 2 provides that the Attorney General, in 
consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, shall provide 
for the humane placement or other humane disposition of any 
horse seized in connection with this offense. In prior criminal 
cases where dogs were seized in criminal prosecutions for 
illegal dog fighting, the Department of Justice worked with 
local animal rescue organizations and animal shelters to 
humanely place the seized dogs. The Committee expects that the 
Department of Justice would use similar procedures with horses 
seized under this Act. The word ``horse'' is defined as any 
member of the family Equidae. Section 2 also amends the table 
of sections.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italics and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

TITLE 18, UNITED STATES CODE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


              CHAPTER 3--ANIMALS, BIRDS, FISH, AND PLANTS

Sec.
41.  Hunting, fishing, trapping; disturbance or injury on wildlife 
          refuges.
     * * * * * * *
50.  Slaughter of horses for human consumption.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 50. Slaughter of horses for human consumption

  (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), whoever knowingly--
          (1) possesses, ships, transports, purchases, sells, 
        delivers, or receives, in or affecting interstate 
        commerce or foreign commerce, any horse with the intent 
        that it is to be slaughtered for human consumption; or
          (2) possesses, ships, transports, purchases, sells, 
        delivers, or receives, in or affecting interstate 
        commerce or foreign commerce, any horse flesh or 
        carcass or part of a carcass, with the intent that it 
        is to be used for human consumption;
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 
three years or both.
  (b) If--
          (1) the defendant engages in conduct that would 
        otherwise constitute an offense under subsection (a);
          (2) the defendant has no prior conviction under this 
        section; and
          (3) the conduct involves less than five horses or 
        less than 2000 pounds of horse flesh or carcass or part 
        of a carcass;
the defendant shall, instead of being punished under that 
subsection, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more 
than one year, or both.
  (c) The Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary 
of Agriculture, shall provide for the humane placement or other 
humane disposition of any horse seized in connection with an 
offense under this section.
  (d) As used in this section, the term ``horse'' means any 
member of the family Equidae.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                             Minority Views

    We depart from the Majority and oppose H.R. 6598, the 
Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008. H.R. 6598 creates a 
federal crime for the transport, purchase, or sale in 
interstate or foreign commerce of a horse that is intended to 
be slaughtered for human consumption. A person convicted of 
this offense will face from one to three years in prison.
    As an initial matter, we do not believe that the Committee 
on the Judiciary has jurisdiction over the housing, care, or 
transportation of horses. Federal law regulating the care and 
transportation of horses, particularly the transportation of 
horses to slaughter, is within the exclusive jurisdiction of 
the Committee on Agriculture.\1\ The Committee on Judiciary 
certainly has jurisdiction over laws pertaining to criminal 
conduct. However, we do not believe that the transport, 
purchase, or sale of a horse that is intended to be slaughtered 
is conduct that should be criminalized. Further, the Department 
of Justice, the agency that the Committee on the Judiciary 
oversees and that this bill creates new duties for, does not 
play a role in the regulation of horses or other livestock nor 
is it suited for such a responsibility.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\P.L. 104-127, sec. 901-905 (1996).
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    We believe that this bill came to our Committee as the 
result of forum shopping for a friendly venue by its 
proponents. Previous iterations of this bill were considered in 
the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Agriculture 
Committee (H.R. 503 in the 109th Congress). We are concerned 
that the favorable reporting out of this bill will encourage 
other interest groups to repeat this untoward practice in the 
future.
    On the merits, we believe that this bill unwisely expands 
the federal criminal code. There are no horse-slaughter plants 
operating within the U.S. today. The three remaining plants 
were closed just in the last few years. What this bill actually 
does is penalize the sale of horses by Americans in a not so 
veiled attempt to prohibit human consumption of horses in 
foreign countries by way of the criminal code.
    Proponents of this bill are allegedly motivated by their 
desire for the humane treatment of horses. According to 
industry experts, there are as many as 100,000 unwanted horses 
in this country every year. Yet this legislation makes no 
provision for the housing, care, or disposal of unwanted horses 
or horses whose owners can no longer afford to care for them. 
It simply prohibits the sale of horses for slaughter. We fear 
that the conduct criminalized by H.R. 6598 will expose horse-
owners across the country to unwarranted prosecution.
    The impact of this bill will be far-reaching. Many horses 
will be abandoned or neglected by their owners. Rather than 
criminalizing the sale of horses to foreign countries, the 
Committee's efforts would be better focused on addressing the 
insufficient number of shelters and other rescue facilities 
across the country to provide care to abandoned and unwanted 
horses. To date, no proposed state or federal law has addressed 
funding of care for unwanted horses, long-term placement of 
affected horses or established guidelines for standards of care 
at retirement and rescue facilities. Failing to address these 
core issues adversely affects the welfare of horses.
    Advocates of H.R. 6598 argue that owners of unwanted horses 
can move them to ``adoption'' facilities across the country. 
While there are a number of facilities in the U.S. providing 
homes for old and unwanted horses, the capacity of these 
individual facilities is usually limited to 30 horses or less. 
According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners, 
horse adoption facilities are having to turn away horses and 
are pleading for financial assistance. The infrastructure to 
care for so many unwanted horses is simply not yet in place.
    Advocates of this bill also argue that owners who cannot 
find housing for their unwanted horses should euthanize the 
animals rather than abandon or neglect them. However, the 
process to euthanize a horse and dispose of its carcass can be 
very expensive, costing over $1000 in some states. Imposing 
these costs on farmers and ranchers is unfair when other 
options for the disposal of horses, such as slaughter, exist.
    In sum, this bill will lead to unnecessary prosecutions, 
exacerbate the problem of unwanted and abandoned horses, and 
will place a significant burden on America's ranchers and 
farmers. We oppose this bill and urge our colleagues to oppose 
its adoption on the House floor.

                                   Lamar Smith.
                                   Bob Goodlatte.
                                   Steve King.
                                   Jim Jordan.