Breaking news: Key Senate committee says ‘neigh’ to reopening U.S. horse slaughter plants

By on July 20, 2017 with 49 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

Today, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee – whose members constitute nearly a third of the entire chamber – voted with nary a controversy in favor of an amendment to bar any horse slaughter plants from opening in the United States. Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., led the bipartisan effort, with fellow committee members Sens. Christopher Coons, D-Del., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., cosponsoring the amendment in a great display of strength for the anti-slaughter stance.

This vote comes just a week after a closely divided House committee voted in favor of horse slaughter. The House and Senate committees are now in disagreement, and key lawmakers will have to settle this item among others in dispute.

But we’ll have a leg up in those negotiations because today’s vote in the Senate was an emphatic statement against horse slaughter for human consumption. Given the overwhelming support we have among Republicans and Democrats, and the intensity of opposition to horse slaughter among so many Senators, it puts us in a stronger position to prevail.

As U.S. Senator Tom Udall stated, “Most Americans find the idea of slaughtering horses for human consumption repulsive, and there is no reason the federal government should contribute to it in any way. This amendment is a strong step forward, and I will keep fighting to prohibit horse slaughter in the United States.”

The idea of slaughtering horses for human consumption will never gain traction here in the United States. Americans have an abiding appreciation for horses, honor their presence as pets and companions in our lives, and owe them a debt for their service. Those values will triumph over the selfish notion advanced by a relative handful of people who size them up, cut them up, and offer them up by the pound for a diminishing base of foreign consumers.

What’s more, what kind of businessperson would invest in an enterprise with this sort of regulatory overhang on it? If the worst happened and Congress gave a one-year nod to open horse slaughter plants, why would any savvy businessperson invest major capital in an enterprise that could be nixed in a flash. The vote in the House Committee was the first time the pro-slaughter people have prevailed in any Congressional setting in a long time, and I think it was a fluke. Remember, there is major support for a broader anti-slaughter bill – the SAFE Act – to ban any horse slaughter for human consumption in the United States and the export of live American horses to Canada or Mexico for that purpose.

A businessperson investing in horse slaughter is like someone opening a dog meat restaurant or a cockfighting arena. The mere presence of it would stir the public to act and cause lawmakers and advocates to work to shut down such an operation with speed and authority.

We don’t round up dogs and cats for slaughter, and it should be unthinkable to do that to a species that helped us settle the nation. Our humane position is grounded on the notion that people who breed and own horses should act responsibly and provide lifetime care or transfer horses to someone who can. It’s a remarkable betrayal for people to enjoy and benefit from the physical and behavioral attributes of horses and then sell them off to a kill buyer when they’re done with them.

No one disputes that there are some homeless horses. But unlike the horse slaughter crowd that treats homelessness as an economic opportunity rather than a moral responsibility, we’re doing something about it. With the other members of the Homes for Horses Coalition, The HSUS works to actively promote the welfare and protection of horses and other equines. We provide care and homes to horses in need, advance the highest operating standards for equine rescue and retirement homes, and promote responsible horse ownership. We provide training for equine rescues through our Forever Foundation program, to provide rescued horses with skills that will help them find new homes. To help reduce overbreeding, we formed the Responsible Horse Breeders Council, comprised of horse breeders who work to decrease the number of surplus horses in the United States. More than 1,200 breeders have signed our Responsible Horse Breeder’s Pledge to help protect horses from neglect, starvation, and slaughter, by reducing the number of surplus horses in the United States.

The U.S. Senate sided with animal welfare, fiscal responsibility, and common sense today – and we applaud this decision. It’s a reminder that on the fights we engage, we must work as hard as we can and also put trust in good people to do the right thing.

Equine, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. Why Do Republicans Want to Kill Horses? | August 6, 2017
  1. Patrick says:

    great news and a nice write up. thanks!

  2. Lynn Errickson says:

    Thank God human compassion prevailed with this issue. Horses are not for human consumption. Owners and breeders need to think first before letting the horse population explode with nary a thought on what to do with them when they out grow their usefulness. There is only one humane death for a horse and that’s aided by veterinarians.

  3. Maryheaven says:

    You have to stop this !!!

  4. Susan Vertrees says:

    Thank you!

  5. Terissa says:

    You guys should have to own horses and be forced tobsee what actually happened to the horse market when the slaughterhouse shut down. Non-livestock people should not get to make decisions about what happens to livestock, and you should not vote with your emotions but common sense.

    • Nicole Sullivan says:

      Thank you!

    • BMB says:

      Enlighten us then.

    • Patti c says:

      I am a horse owner for 41 years. I am totally against slaughtering equines. There is no humane way to do so. The captive bolt way of stunning them, doesn’t work. They are naturally head shy.

    • Janet Mary Lee says:

      Terissa, I have owned two beautiful horses. One lived till he was over 30, and one I had to make the difficult decision to put him down before his time due to twisted bowel, probably the resulting long term damage from an owner who should have known better. They were put down humanely when no other solution was possible. I am happy to say the people I know are responsible owners, and my money will be used to help the horses I can, and to change people’s minds about being responsible. Common sense is not eating harmful food, or killing and slaughtering in absolute pain and fear..

    • Cameron Wolfe says:


    • Hope nichols says:

      Toobad for the horsemeat people! They’ll have to hoofit elsewhere n get a real job.

  6. Laurel McCrink says:

    I THANK GOD for the Senate’s vote. Those House (and Senate) members who voted for slaughter SHOULD BE PUBLICLY SHAMED. Their votes speak blatantly of their personal lack of any integrity and character, whatsoever. I’m extremely angry at those people and deeply saddened, however, over the fate of the wild horses.

  7. Mary says:

    Yay to Neigh!

  8. Dianna Finan says:

    To the Senate committee
    I believe that all of the cattle ranchers should invest and install Solar panels or wind mills to produce water to water their own land. This would illuminate the use of public land that is for all wild life . With today’s Technology there is no reason for the cattle to be on public land. Ranchers need to use the resources available in todays World to produce A better grazing land for their cattle on their own land. If they have more cattle than what their own land can handle, then they should reduce the size of their cattle herd.
    This scenario should relinquish BLM from having to round up and shoot or kill or slaughter our beautiful wild Mustangs. The BLM and the ranchers just want to line their pockets’s at the expanse of doing away with the wild horses. It does not matter how you look at it but if you kill in any way shape or form it is slaughter of the wild horses. It is a shame that humans try to play God. All wild creatures big and small have a right to live as God created them man should not eliminate them.
    If you allow anyone to do away with any wildlife from the range or rangers it is a crime and they should be prosecuted for eliminating God’s creatures. If man would leave the wild animals where they are in the public lands there should be no reason to illuminate them. If you remove all the wild horses it will cause are there wild creatures to hunt on private land that would be a shame it is only survival.
    The overpopulation is in the human race, known as mankind the cruelest of all mammals alive. Man is cruel and humans are the only ones that kill for fun.
    I am asking you please do not let anyone shoot any horses or send them to slaughter. Please say no to anything that will and the life of any of the wild horses
    Please return the wild horses to the open public land where they belong they were not starving
    Thank you and please do not kill our wild horses

    • Terissa says:

      1) are you going to pay for these solar panels oe windmills to be installed on all the cattle ranches?

      2)the reason mustangs are being rounded up is because of the overpopulation and the fact that they are destroying the natural resources of the land-whether on farm property or the BLM. This goes for the other wild animals too-they are wild and therefor end up private property disrupting those land systems

      3)I PROMISE the ranchers are in no way lining their pockets by getting rid of the mustangs.

      4) you keep mentioning God, therefore I assume you have a Christian faith of some sort. The Bible states
      “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” (Genesis 9:3)

      5) Again, the horses were being left on Public lands, then began trespassing on properly owned grazing land because they were overpopulated (believe it or not wild horses mate naturally without the help of human intervention) and were destroying both government and ranch land which is why they decided a roundup occur.
      6) Please tell me what we are supposed to do with all the wild round-up horses? We set them free, we are still looking at the wild overpopulation. Also, many of them have been corralled and taken care of by humans long enough (upwards of 2+ years, more for most) they could no longer survive in the wild.
      7)this doesnt even bring into account domesticated horses that are starving to deathor not recieving proper care because people cant afford them, or being turned loose to fend for themselves.
      8) there is NOT enough rescues or public land to control the horse population
      9)yes, breeding should be more controlled, but it wont be. Its like cats and dogs. ALSO, we are not over here breeding wild horses.
      10)please, please, please do your research and see what happened to so many horses and the horse market after the slaughterhouses shut down the first time. You may just change your minds then.
      11) we are only prolonging the inevitable, if they arent being slaughtered here they are being crammed on trailers too close together with no water and limited airflow for who knows how long being sent to mexico and canada to be slaughtered with little to no regulations on how things are done.
      12) until you actually live in this (the horse) world, own or deal with horses for longer than two minutes and see what its like when there is no place for all the unwanted horses to go then you do not get to say what is best for the horses.

      • Rose says:

        When ever there is a problem with animals, be they domestic or wildlife, human beings are 99.9 % the cause. We need to focus and address the cause instead of the effect. Every living being wants to live.

        • Hope nichols says:

          Your actually 100% on the point of fact.overpopulation ! We re taking too much, & not giving back enough..

      • Sharon says:

        Teresa. Your entire presentation is repugnant and mean spirited

      • Anne says:

        1. Why should we have to pay? We aren’t the ones wanting to slaughter
        these beautiful animals.
        2, Please explain what natural resources they are destroying that the
        cattle are not. Also, please prove your claims.
        3, Please show PROOF the ranchers are not lining their pockets
        from slaughtering the horses.

        4. Another place in the bible says God gave us the animal;s to
        enrich our lives. They certainly have enriched my life.
        5. Show us photos of where the horses have decimated anybody’s
        6. Over-population is a lie. Easy solution – YES – SET THEM FREE
        7. No need to respond to this one.
        8. This can’t happen if they aren’t rounded up in the first place.
        9. They aren’t even using contraceptives so how can they control
        10. Do you honestly believe that slaughtering the horses is what is
        BEST for them?

        I like the way you presented your ideas because you seemed to think all your thoughts through. I just hope some day you havae your own horses. My first horse was a mustang mare whose tongue was almost cut off. She was th best of all my 40 years of being in the horse business.

        Keep thinking and maybe you will join those of us who want to enjoy these phenomenal creatures. God bless!

    • Patti c says:


    • stewart says:

      You are right on target. Thanks for the comment. Mankind is animal enemy number 1.

    • Becky knox says:

      Well said, Dianna.

    • James Ferg says:

      My family has been it the cattle and horse business for over 100 years and you have no clue what it takes to stay viable. People who do not know should keep their mouths shut,

  9. Freda Mann Falk says:

    There is not too much I can add to these great comments, other than, Thank God we have some people in our government that actually listens to the People and who truly care about our fight in protecting these honorable, amazing and beautiful animals. I will sleep real good tonight!

  10. Mary Ann Ficek says:

    The wild horses & burros should have the National Park Lands as their lands for grazing & good water supply and not be fenced out by the ranchers, many of these ranchers are really big businesses who do not care for the animals except as a profit. They lease the Park Lands for less than is paid for land owned by ranchers & receive profits from lands supported by the US taxpayer. These cattle & sheep should be on land owned by the ranchers & the wild animals free to live on the National Park Lands. We also need a good management for these Park Lands that is open to the taxpayers who want to camp in clean camp grounds thatp do not have cow pies every where. They need to work on a safe birth control that will keep the herds healthy & ensure the wild genes are passed on to the mustangs & other wild breeds of horses & the very unique burros. The BLM has failed to manage these herds for far too many years and the un- fair leasing of the Park Lands. There are far more cattle & sheep on the good grazing & water lands than there are horses & burros. The BLM has not been a good Stewart of the National Park Lands, we need fresh faces in that department of the government. Thank You.

  11. Cathy Flynn says:

    Excellent choice, Spirit speaks! I saved horses with American friends for some time, so this is very important to me as well. If only we can get Canada and Mexico to see it this way! A round of Applause to everyone who helped bring this decision about!

  12. Rebecca says:

    Thank you – This article says it all

  13. Me says:

    Awesome. So instead horses continue to starve or be shipped to slaughter in Mexico and Canada where it’s legal for them to be stabbed to death.

    • Janet Mary Lee says:

      Nope ME, We need to fix that, too!

    • stewart says:

      We have to double think our elected officials even when they state that the U.S
      will not open up slaughterhouses for horses and donkeys.The statement does not include whether or not they will be shipped to foreign places to die brutally instead of on American soil. How decent of them.

  14. s enandez says:

    No horse slaughter

  15. Kathleen Fennessy says:

    Thank you to all of the U.S. Senators who supported this Amendment and voted to prevent horse slaughter houses from re-opening…horse slaughter should never be permitted in America…the wild horses belong to America and to all Americans…they should be protected now and forever!

  16. lbrown says:

    Now Something must be done to stop the shipments to Mexico and Canada. People who own horses and breeders need to be educated to stop over breeding. I have had horses all my life. They are a lifetime responsibility. No horse deserves the horrors of an over packed transport to slaughter. They are not fed, watered or given rest. Then their torture us not over when they are subjected to the monsters at the slaughter house.

    • stewart says:

      I recently read where they are also shipping our beautiful icons to Japan.

    • stewart says:

      Boy you are right about those mercenary monsters who are put in charge of slaughtering these wonderful icons. I wish that all elected officials were made to watch the horrors of those frightened animals being slaughtered.

  17. Debbie says:

    By no means am I for slaughterhouses but did you know that these beautiful creatures are having to make the trek to Mexico or Canada to be slaughtered? At least if we had slaughterhouses in the US there would be some sort of regulation.

    • Kristine says:

      Debbie, even when slaughter was done here, horses were exported, and still would be. There is no humane way to transport, and slaughter horses for food, even within our borders, they are fight or flight animals, and the ENTIRE ordeal from auction, to hauling, to slaughter is INCREDIBLY STRESSFUL & CRUEL!! Horses are not eaten here in the US, and should not EVER be treated, or viewed any differently than our cats & dogs, they are ALL COMPANION animals here in the US, having hooves does not make them livestock, we cannot ever, ever allow slaughter to come back, it’s beyond vile, cruel, and a DESPICABLE BETRAYAL of horses we raise to trust us humans as we lead them from place to place, and they willingly go foolishly trusting!!!

  18. Andii says:

    Do you have an actual legit news link to your statements on a major media website like CNN or FOX?

    Because all the major news media pages state that it did pass. So heres your stuff, and I googled all over and heck if you arent the only guy on the internet with this story.

    PS: We need slaughter, sadly. Unless someone has a better alternative to the tons of unwanted horses. Alternatives do not include responsible horse ownership or controlling breeding. Nobody can get dogs and cat populations under control So the same resounding cry for the ownership of something considered to be livestock and not a pet is not the answer to saving the polled unicorns.

    And while you may not like my statement, and you may replay with your passionate wah wahh answer, unless you give a REAL solution, YOU are part of the problem and the reason why horses suffer in the first place.

  19. Anne says:

    It looks like the majority of the people who wrote comments are not in favor of slaughtering the horses. I thought majority rules!!!!!!!!!!

    Did the bill about slaughtering the wild horses pass in the Senate or not? I’m getting conflicting stories.

    • Marian Prato says:

      Senate voted to not allow reopening horse slaughter plants in U.S. They are still open and allowed to slaughter horses in Mexico & Canada.

  20. mattie goodwin says:

    thanks to these senators! for their anti-slaughter votes! it seems their are still decent people in the government! thanks again for saving the horses!

  21. Lisa says:

    The sad truth is that horses are going to be slaughtered.
    Now ask yourself…would you rather have local plants where the horses don’t have to travel for days before hand?
    Would you rather have US Gov’t supervision to be sure that the horses are being slaughtered as humanely as possible?
    Because that is what was just voted against.
    So now the horses have a long trailer ride either to Canada or to Mexico, with whatever humane methods that are allowed in those countries. And, you can imagine just how humane the kill pens and slaughter plants in Mexico are. At least Canada has an agency that oversees the slaughter of horses.
    Considering horse slaughter is not stopping, I think this was a really bad decision and not in the animals best interests.

  22. Dd says:

    Sorry folks horses are not dogs and cats they are livestock animals and subject to the same fate as pigs and cows and for that matter goats and chickens etc. horse meat is actually healthy and flavorful and there will most likely come a time that food will become scarce and many people will be happy and thankful to have a mouthful of meat regardless of the species.

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