09/26/2006 11:00PM

Senate unlikely to vote on slaughter bill


A bill that seeks to ban horse slaughter in the United States is unlikely to be voted on in the Senate this year, a spokesman for the bill's chief supporter, Sen. John Ensign, said Wednesday.

"Unfortunately, it doesn't look promising to get it done this year," said Jack Finn, the communications director for Ensign, a Republican from Nevada who is the co-sponsor of the Senate version of the legislation.

The bill, which would outlaw the slaughter of horses for human consumption, passed the House of Representatives earlier this month. The legislation was supported by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and several animal-welfare groups, but a number of horse organizations opposed the legislation.

Congress is expected to recess at the end of this week so that legislators can return to their home districts to campaign. A lame-duck session is scheduled for October, but Finn said the legislation is a longshot to be put on the Senate's schedule at any time this year.

"It's very difficult to tell, and we'll keep pushing it, but that decision is up to the leadership," Finn said.

A spokesman for Rep. Ed Whitfield, a Republican from Kentucky who was one of the chief supporters of the House version of the bill, said Wednesday that Whitfield continues to work with senators in the hopes of convincing leadership to put the bill on the Senate agenda.

"Time is running short, but we're still hopeful it will be voted on this year," said the spokesman, Brent Dolen.