Horse rescued from slaughter raises awareness for legislation

AIRVILLE, Pa. (WHTM) — Members of The Humane Society of the United States and local leaders who contributed to help fund a horse’s rescue met him for the first time Sunday.

The horse, Penn, was named after one of the founders of our commonwealth. He was saved by Omega Horse Rescue in York. Before that, he was a race horse who won a lot of money, then a buggy horse in Lancaster County until he was dumped and sold for slaughter

“Our district leaders and our state council members all contributed money to save his life, and if it weren’t them, probably by now he’d already be dead,” said Valerie Pringle, an equine protection specialist for The Humane Society of the United States.

But now, Penn is the mascot for horse protection in Pennsylvania.

“He represents so many horses that go to slaughter, who are discarded when people feel they are of no value, and we are here to say they have value,” said Kelly Smith, director of Omega Horse Rescue.

Senate Bill 294, known as Cordelia’s Law, raises the penalty for animal cruelty against a horse in Pennsylvania. As it stands, cruelty toward horses is only a summary offense.

“Cordelia’s Law would add protection for horses by allowing the option for a misdemeanor level charge,” said Kristen Tullo, Pennsylvania state director for The Humane Society of the United States.

But the protection doesn’t end there. A federal bill, known as the Safeguard American Food Exports Act, would prevent horses from being exported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter, and it would prevent any horse slaughter facilities from being set up in the United States.

“There’s a lot of incentive to overbreed. If slaughter was not available, then [someone] would have to find homes for those horses and take care of them,” Pringle said.

“We’re very close. We just have to get this across the finish line,” Tullo said.

Cordelia’s Law was already passed in the Senate. It goes to the House Judiciary Committee for a vote on Tuesday.

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