06/26/2006 12:00AM

Slaughter vote said near

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Supporters of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act expect that the bill will move out of committee and be put to a vote in the House of Representatives before Congress adjourns on June 30 for the Independence Day holiday.

Brent Dolan, press secretary for Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, would not put a time frame on a possible vote but said, "Voting schedules can and do change, but our intent is to get this to the floor during this session of Congress and to work to get this bill passed."

The bill, HR 503, would ban equine slaughter and sales for slaughter in the United States. It now has 191 co-sponsors, including Whitfield and fellow Kentucky representative Ron Lewis.

Among those opposing the bill in its current form is the American Association of Equine Practitioners, which has issued a position paper on the bill. The paper cites the association's concerns that the bill does not adequately address alternative care for the estimated 80,000 horses slaughtered annually and that its wording is unclear.