Charges filed against a Chester County woman for posing as a rescuer of horses while sending them to slaughter have prompted a new round of calls in Congress to end the killing of horses for meat in the United States.
U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan (R., Pa.) on Thursday urged his colleagues in the House and Senate to pass legislation to halt horse slaughter after reading a report in The Inquirer that Kelsey Lefever of Honeybrook was allegedly selling animals for slaughter in Canada under false pretenses.
“This is a tragic example of why we need federal law to prohibit the transportation and sale of horses for slaughter in the first place,” said Meehan, one of 150 cosponsors of anti-slaughter legislation in the House. “Horses are not raised for human consumption, and their slaughter for sale overseas is a cruel and inhumane practice that is not consistent with our values here in Pennsylvania.”
In November, state police charged Lefever, a 24-year-old horse trainer, with multiple counts of fraud connected to an alleged scheme involving ex-race horses.
Lefever duped thoroughbred owners at a central Pennsylvania racetrack into believing she would find homes for their retired racehorses and instead sold them to kill-buyers at a Lancaster auction, according to charging documents.
Horse slaughter effectively ended in the United States in 2008, when the last plant closed after federal funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors was withdrawn. Since then, an estimated 140,000 U.S. horses have been transported to abattoirs in Canada and Mexico.
With funding for USDA inspectors restored in a budget bill President Obama signed late last year, slaughter plants could again legally operate in the United States.