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Nick Zito and Bo Derek Lead National Coalition's Efforts Urging Americans to Stop Horse Slaughter in America.

ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Very few Americans know that thousands of our horses are slaughtered each year for human consumption or that such an industry even exists in this country. The industry is fed by middlemen, known in the industry as "kill buyers," who travel across the country purchasing horses from auctions, often under false pretenses, and subjecting them to cruel and inhumane treatment.

"This has been going on for years, and most Americans just don't know about it. It is inconceivable that this is allowed to happen to animals that have such a noble spirit and that hold such a special place in our lives, our history, our culture and our hearts. Horses are different from other animals," says Bo Derek, spokesperson for the National Horse Protection Coalition.

Last year Congressman John Sweeney of New York introduced a bill to ban horse slaughter in America and to close the last three slaughterhouses operating in the United States, all foreign-owned. It garnered enough support to pass in the House but was prevented from making it to the floor for a vote.

This year, a new bill has been introduced by Sweeney.

"While there are powerful groups opposed to ending horse slaughter in America, the most powerful group, the American people, can defeat them," said Derek. "We are committed to getting HR 503, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, passed in the Congress this year. I ask all Americans to contact their Congressmen to urge them to help us end this gruesome practice once and for all."

Two-time Kentucky Derby winning horse trainer Nick Zito echoes Derek's sentiments. "The American people were shocked to learn that Ferdinand, winner of the 1986 Kentucky Derby, was sent to a slaughterhouse in Japan last year after he failed as a stud horse for his owners. People would be even more shocked if they knew just how many young, healthy horses also meet this fate in our own country," said Zito. "And while the actual act of slaughtering a horse is beyond most Americans' comprehension, the process that occurs prior is equally cruel and inhumane."

Added Zito, "Sadly, these horses are transported, many times without food or water for up to 28 hours, to one of the three remaining United States slaughter facilities. Once they arrive, poorly trained workers have been seen beating horses indiscriminately with thick fiberglass rods. And many suffer horribly from the improper use of a 'captive bolt gun,' a device that is often used repeatedly to render horses insensitive to pain before they're slaughtered."

A diverse collection of individuals and organizations from inside the horse industry and without has banned together to form the National Horse Protection Coalition. Its sole aim is to get the Federal legislation passed that will put an end to the brutal horse slaughter industry in the U.S. The NHPC is asking all Americans to contact their state representative and urge him or her to support H.R.503.

For additional information on what you can do to stop this inhumane practice, log onto http://www.horse-protection.org/ .
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 May 3, 2005 - 14:00 - 14:15ET, IA6/C5
 May 5, 2005 - 14:30 - 14:45ET, IA6/C15



CONTACT: Liane Adduci, for National Horse Protection Coalition, +1-312-994-2451

Web site: http://www.horse-protection.org/
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Date:May 5, 2005
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