Bipartisan bill introduced in Congress to end slaughter of American equines

By on January 30, 2019 with 42 Comments

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson

The last horse slaughter plants in the United States closed years ago, and Congress has consistently voted to prohibit funding for horse slaughter inspections within U.S borders. Unfortunately, this does not prevent the inhumane transport of American equines to other countries. Each year, tens of thousands of our horses and burros are transported under terrible conditions to Canada and Mexico, where they meet a cruel end because there is no federal law stopping such transport across our borders.

The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R 961, introduced today by Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., would change all that. Their measure proposes to end the transport of American horses, burros and other equines abroad to be slaughtered for human consumption, and it would also ensure that horse slaughter plants on U.S. soil remain shuttered.

Horse slaughter is fundamentally cruel, from the way the animals are transported to the methods used to kill them. The horses and burros are shipped in overcrowded trucks for many hours, even days, without food, water or rest. The animals are extremely stressed and they are frequently injured, or even killed, in transit.

Once at the slaughterhouse, they are shot with a captive bolt gun or rifle in an attempt to stun them before slaughter. Because of their skittishness and “fight or flight” response, it often takes repeated blows to render the horses unconscious and some are still awake during slaughter.

The suffering of the animals, while enough of a reason to stop this industry, is not the only problem. Horse meat is not safe for human consumption because American horses are not raised for food and are routinely given hundreds of drugs throughout their lives that can be toxic to humans. Some of these drugs are prohibited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in animals intended for human consumption.

We thank Reps. Schakowsky and Buchanan for championing the SAFE Act, and urge other members of Congress to act promptly to ensure the bill is swiftly passed. We already know that this legislation enjoys wide support in the U.S. House of Representatives: the SAFE Act, H.R. 113, introduced in the last Congress with the same language as the bill introduced today, received broad bipartisan cosponsorship by 219 Representatives – a majority of the chamber.

Please call your Representatives and tell them to cosponsor the SAFE Act, H.R. 961. American equines are iconic animals and beloved companions, and protecting them from the horrors of transport, starvation and slaughter is a responsibility we all share.

Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund

Equine, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Debbra Watts says:

    All the wildlife leave them alone you kill off all the wildlife and then the humans will not survive God gave us something beautiful don’t waste it

    • Brenda Berry says:

      Dnt teach the next generation cruelty, whn thy grow up thy will kno humanity. The next generation IS r FUTURE!

      • Donna R Taylor says:

        R u you kidding Brenda? I’m seeing so many things kid are doing to animals, it’s scary…I dont think parents r teaching their children compassion…and what is wright and whats wrong…..Ohh the classrooms its horrific…I know a school teacher she didnt want to but she will retire early because…she can’t teach children, act up terribly…she says she is a baby sitter….

    • Deb P says:

      We need to push hard for action to be taken on this bill instead of having it passed around from one committee to the next for months or years to come!

  2. Diane Ryan says:

    We need to help wildlife, horses and all.

  3. Gail Wiot says:

    This is a long time in coming! We are ready to get this done. My Arabian Kill Pen group has been saving these horses for several years. We are working on a plan that the so called.Unwanted horses will be rehomed. The contaminated and toxic meat will not be consumed. As every hirse taken to those pens suffer advanced firms of repiratory disease or some form of Strangles! Nor will Americas horses and other equines suffer horrifically and terrified! The outlet for dumping horseshorses will be gone! I think this will resume the value of horses as companions and recreational partners!
    Thank you,

    • Michel Sevick says:

      You go girl!

    • Sarah says:

      Thank you for your diligent work. I am in Indiana where arabian horse isn’t well liked or misunderstood. I have recently found a large herd of feral half arabs. I am starting with the stallions and colts getting them halter trained so they can be gelded and then saddle trained. I am on a race against the clock as the mares will be having their babies soon! So far I have 2 gelded and 5 more to go. I’d like to one day turn this into a rescue business of training at risk horses so they aren’t sold for meat.

  4. Sam Doxsey says:

    Please stop slaughtering horses!..This cruel practice is wrong on every level and must stop..please protect Beautifull Horses.

  5. Sue Stefaniuk says:

    I commend on on your courage for taking a stand onthis matter,Horses were put on earth to be our compansions equine family working side by side and not discarded like garbage.I helped close a slaughterhouse that was within half an hour of my farm here in Ontario Canada,Un fortunately years later another one opened up in a differnet location a s to its being in business still I do not know.No matter the country we must all take a stand to stop this horrific butchery.Regards

    • Donna R Taylor says:

      American horses will NOT be going to Canada nor Mexico…..Praise the Lord…it has been a long time coming….

  6. Tanja hamilton says:

    Enough is enough STOP THIS ABUSE .The horse community is stretched trying to save our horses .I have 5 everyone I ride horses with has rescues.We are maxed out .The goverment needs to step up .Stop SLAUGHTER NOW.

  7. Victoria Foster says:

    Transportation to slaughter has got to stop, the SAFE ACT will do that. Then we need to address the overbreeding of QH, TB, SB and others. Make euthanasia and disposal affordable for people. Education is the key, much to be done.

  8. Barbara says:

    Hurrah! But there should also be a law against this kind, and other kinds, of cruelty to innocent animals. I always find it really hard to read these blogs. But, as long as I can respond to them, I will continue to receive them.

    • Donna Taylor says:

      I understand Barbara it is horrific….this is great news no more transportation to the end….Ive been working on this for decades….
      Work is not done until BLM is destroyed their liars thieves of TAX payers money…and of course horse murders….very evil and self serving….

  9. Marcia Lythgoe says:

    Please stop allowing the shipping and cruel slaughter of America’s horses, burros, and donkeys to Mexico, Canada and other countries.

  10. Sherry Curry says:

    Stopping the transportation of our horses to slaughter will eventually cut the number of horses being bred.
    Breeders will not be able to afford to breed as many because they will not have kill buyers to sell to. The number of horse thefts will greatly decreased.
    Please, let’s get the Safe Act H.R. 875 passed this time!!!!!!

  11. Sherrie Hendren says:

    We really need this done the Safe Act has to come into effect the brutal way that the horses are killed is unbelievable and people that are doing this should be held accountable it’s called animal abuse please our beloved horses are being rounded up gathered up and there are legends the Mustangs or thoroughbreds should I go on they’re the most loving animals on the Earth and they have feelings and they also should always have rights and by God I will stand up for them with every last breath because this is something that we need to do is barbaric we don’t eat horses we should not ship our horses anywhere where they would eat them people that do this should be held accountable and put in prison so please let’s make sure this passes this year this cannot go on

  12. Angela Hilburn says:

    This has to stop!! Humanity Put this into place to make this inhumane cruelty
    Stop Slaughtering NOW!!!

  13. Rebecca says:

    Horses,domestic and wild should not be put threw the cruelty that the kill buyers and any one else evolved in slaughter of horses ! Do they not understand the magic ,that these majestic beautiful beings have ,that they have stood by man since the beginning of time,threwtransportation,pull our logs to build homes ,companionship,wars,plowed our fields ,and the magic that happens between a special child a sick elder ,depressed people ect ..I could go on forever about the good power of the equines, please help them,they should be worshiped,the most beautiful,magestic,noble and magical being on this earth !!!

  14. Shirralee McPherson says:

    Hi live in the uk ,I learnt of horse slaughter a few years back to my shock I could not believe how the barbaric treatment of these beautiful intelligent creatures was aloud to grow out of control it’s time for this cruel industry to fall to it’s knees and all the corruption with it I can’t say much as I’m British but I have a voice and I’m by your side fighting back for all the equines they are not food ,they deserve better I hope finally the bill will break through and the future will be better for these magnificent creatures who have walked by our side for many years

  15. Marissa Aishe says:

    What are wild horses? They are a symbol of freedom, nobility, and beauty of the wilderness. They roamed our lands long before we settled here so why take it from them? Why slaughter these magnificent animals for no reason and tear these herds apart from each other? Horses are are intelligent and have feelings too just like us. People say they are nothing more than an animal or a tool to use, then when your finished using it throw it away. NO that’s not the answer, to destroy something you no longer want or need but Maybe we need to simply look at it this way they breathe and have life like we do. Please help end the torture, starvation and abuse as well as slaughter to these loving trusting animals we all love!!

  16. Marion Hefner says:

    We really need this done the Safe Act has to come into effect the brutal way that the horses are killed is unbelievable and people that are doing this should be held accountable it’s called animal abuse please our beloved horses are being rounded up gathered up and there are legends the Mustangs or thoroughbreds should I go on they’re the most loving animals on the Earth and they have feelings and they also should always have rights and by God I will stand up for them with every last breath because this is something that we need to do is barbaric we don’t eat horses we should not ship our horses anywhere where they would eat them people that do this should be held accountable and put in prison so please let’s make sure this passes this year this cannot go on

  17. SK says:

    While it is a noble endeavor, starving is equally as bad. Currently theres about 55 thousand wild horses in permanent holding pens, and more pouring in daily.
    I’m not for slaughter, I am definately against Mexico/Canada slaughter, however Im not quite understanding where the actual herd management part of this bill is . Did I miss something? We need MANAGEMENT techniques or birth control to stabilize or minimize the numbers.

  18. Becky Dunn says:

    PLEASE stop sending our precious horses for slaughter. God didn’t create them for that. They’re beautiful creations and a precious gift from God. PLEASE NO MORE SLAUGHTERING OF OUR PRECIOUS HORSES.

  19. Vicki Henderson says:

    To regulate and not let stolen riding horses be sent.. would be a plus, all kill pens and auctions as well need open internet page where all horses are listed with pictures as they book in, to where owners could look for their stolen animals before they disappear.. locations, sellers, buyers info. All recorded

    • Kelly says:

      That would require regulation. Something a large part of the country is vehemently against. As in all regulations are bad. This is a very good example that some regulations are for greater good and necessary for quality life, ie animals, clean water and air, food rights at work etc.

  20. Nancy Gregg Pasiecznik says:

    I hope that every U.S. representative and senator who is not knowledgeable about horses or is inclined not to pass this bill will educate himself or herself, change their mind, and vote to pass this bill. I echo the aforementioned comments. Horses are one of the most important gifts to mankind. They pulled our armament in wartime, transported humans over rivers, creeks, plains and mountains to help settle this country, are still used in farming and forestry today, have assisted in uprighting overturned tractor-trailers, provide pleasure and companionship to farm animals, pets, and humans, and today are invaluable in providing therapy to people who have a handicap, are disabled physically, and/or who have anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses. The way they are transported en mass and slaughtered is extremely cruel and must be stopped.

  21. Lisa lewis says:

    This is not true. Horses are still slaughtered in at least 5 states in the US just not for human consumption. Montana alone has 2 processing plants. Also I have heard of a rich rancher who imports horses from South America to be slaughtered in the US not for human consumption. So slaughter does still happen here but if it has to at least less severe transport and humanely killed and monitored. I don’t believe in slaughter I believe in stricter policies and laws making owners breeders and the throw away industries like racing rodeo and the Amish held more accountable and be forced to humanely rwhomed or euthanize their unwanted equine. Breeders need to SLOW DOWN and train not just breed and sell. Blm contracts need to be tighter and not expire as blm horses in droves go to slaughter soon as contracts expire.pure madness.

  22. Lynn M Hummer says:

    Bravo!! Let’s get this done. I have been pulling pregnant mares out of the slaughter pipeline and scooping up the orphaned foals left behind for 13 years! It’s time for the hell to end!!!
    Lynn Hummer
    The Pregnant Mare Rescue Foundation

  23. Angela Grammatico says:

    Please God let it pass !!

  24. Cheryl Sundet says:

    I’m so glad to hear there is a bill introduced to congress to help alleviate
    this problem. Once we closed our American slaughter houses, they still
    found a way by shipping them to other countries. Bad idea. Caused needless suffering of our equines. The practice is so terrible I lack the words to describe it. We overbreed here to get that one super horse on the track &
    many of the rest end up eventually with kill buyers. How can you sleep at
    night? Doesn’t this suffering haunt you? It should. How would you like to
    Be in a kill buyers truck, starving & without water? Then get to auction, sold
    again & be carted off on another long trip in the back of a truck, overheated, starving & weak to another country that has Terrible inhumane ways to kill
    you. Could you take this? Probably not! Think on this. There are better ways to make money. Please stop. Hopefully congress will soon stop this
    practice & take a step further to limit the excessive breeding of race horses
    to help alleviate the pressure. And there needs to be oversite on drugging
    horses to make the run. Many, many die on the track. So very sad and
    very avoidable. Thank you for hearing me. Respectfully, Cheryl Sundet

  25. Janeen W Heidorn says:

    Besides a bill being signed to stop horse slaughter all horse auction houses and killpens or feedlots need to be closed down plus horse owners that do not want them anymore a law needs to be in place that prohibits this permanently that if they try very strict penalties though the law be applied can Congress pass a bill for that.

  26. Catherine Sprague says:

    The bill was signed into law. I understand it will take effect Oct 1. I have been trying to find out who will enforce this new law? It should be enforced the minute a kill buyer walks into an auction

  27. Barbara says:

    You really want to know what’s going on in the horse slaughter business, follow the animal rescue mission (ARM) site. Apparently they are stealing pets out of barns and butchering them near by. Also there are illegal slaughter operations. All so the Cubans can have their black market horse meat! Dade co. Florida.

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