Horse News

Bill Includes Language to End U.S. Horse Slaughter

Source: By Karrie Allen as published on the Chatham Courier

For 2 years, but Equine Advocates president says, ‘we are finally on the road to a permanent ban’

Equine AdvocatesCHATHAM, NY — Jan. 17 was a good day for Equine Advocates President and founder Susan Wagner and the hundreds of organizations and supporters who have lobbied to end horse slaughter in the United States. On this day, President Barack Obama signed the $1.1 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, which included language to defund horse meat inspection, thus ending horse slaughter in the United States for two years.

While grateful to Obama for signing the bill, Wagner also thanked Vice President Joseph Biden “for spearheading the effort to insert the language into the Omnibus bill.”

She also credited Florida State Sen. Joseph Abruzzo and equine advocate Victoria McCullough. “It is because of their tireless and dedicated efforts that horse slaughterhouses will be prevented from opening in the U.S.” due to passage of the bill.

The summit

In 2012, Wagner hosted the first American Equine Summit at her horse rescue and sanctuary in Chatham with two objectives: To come up with a strategy to reverse the damage done by Congress and move toward a federal ban on horse slaughter and to empower the “80 percenters” who are against horse slaughter and give them the tools to be able to effectively make their voices heard and inspire change. Among the speakers was McCullough, CEO of Chesapeake Petroleum and an accomplished international equestrian.

At this summit, McCullough announced that she would take on the challenge of ending horse slaughter in the United States, stated Wagner. “She took the lead from the experts speaking at the summit, each of whom had invaluable information and experience and helped contribute to the resolution of this hard-fought issue.”

The expert

One of the experts was John Holland, president of the Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA), who was also a speaker at the summit. McCullough used much of his research and information from published papers and studies to make her case against horse slaughter to Vice President Biden, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and others in the Executive Branch, noted Wagner.

One such case was the 2011 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that blamed falling horse prices and increased abuse and neglect on the closing of domestic slaughter plants in 2007. Texas and Illinois closed the last three plants in 2007 and that was the last time horses were slaughtered in the United States.

From 2006 through 2010, horse slaughter shifted to Canada and Mexico and exports increased from 148 to 660 percent, according to the GAO report.

“That GAO report was like a fixed race,” commented Wagner.

The EWA and Animal Law Coalition (ALC) set out to prove the report was fraudulent — and they did. “Our EWA research looked state by state at trends in abuse and neglect and at the factors that might have been responsible for the trends, such as unemployment, the rate of slaughter, the price of hay, etc.,” stated Holland in an email. “What we found was that the rate of equine neglect was largely determined by the price of hay and that the price of hay is largely determined long term by land use policies and short term by weather.”

Slaughter proponents used the results from the GAO study to push for the reinstatement of inspections funding, he added, but research by the EWA proved the study “had been completely misrepresented. This became ammunition for reversing the reinstatement.”

According to an EWA press release, funding language was passed by both the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committees in 2013, but neither budget reached the floor for a full vote. It was the key support of Vice President Biden and congressional leaders that pushed for the language in the bill.

McCullough “was the one who made this happen,” Holland stated in the press release. “It was the fact that Victoria … was spending her own fortune without regard for any personal gain that I believe gave her the credibility to accomplish this.”

He later added in his email that McCullough, who had already gained a ban in Florida, felt the information she got at the 2012 summit “showed that slaughter of horses is in no way justified.”…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story and to comment at the Chatham Courier

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11 replies »

  1. While I am heart felt for all their work and I commend VP Joe bidens work on this, I will not stop fighting for our equine friends. Why does it always take someone with a great deal of wealth to move this along? I am dismayed that the voices of many go unheard. Johns work is never ending and I believe his stats also helped us in Illinois. But fact still remains that we have equines leaving this country in record numbers to be slaughtered else where. And this must be stopped! The summits where information and stats are provided are critical. Like I said before, I never thought after our fight in Illinois, I would see someone try to resurrect this cruel and tortoreous practice. We did have a senator in Illinois try, but his attempt was defeated. I will not rest until federal legislation is passed nor should anyone else. History has shown us that money does a lot of bidding. The federal legislation should be strong and surrounding states where are equine friends depart should also be strong to avoid legal issues. Judges should be made aware that the laws should be strongly efforced. In the mean time feed lots, auctions and horse sales should be strictly monitored. No vets who are friends of the “killers” should be involved. Now that there is accurate information given to congress and the president, VP biden should be pushing for this legislation. Although we do have sufficient language in the appropriations bill, the fight should not end until final passage of the law and its enforcement is accomplished.


  2. Victoria is an amazing woman, she is just what we needed to turn things around in DC. She seems confident the SAFE Act will pass but we need to keep momentum flowing until it does pass. Maybe even emphasising US global food safety first and then the end of horse transportation across our borders into Mex & Can. We need to be prepared for the end of slaughter and the changes to come; rehoming, rescues, and humane euthanasia. All the BLM funding towards slaughter has to be re-directed and that’s gonna take new & stronger legislation.


  3. When people speak with each other with respect and honor, the horses are listened to and respected and honored. Everytime I read this account of how the bridge was finally made, I am overcome with gratitude because I know that kind respect for each other was the guiding force for the changes being made for the horses. We have to move and I hope this summit in April will be the precipice to the final door closing – President Obama fulfilling his promise to stop the slaughter of American horses.


  4. There are laws against moving horses across borders that must be in place because as long as both countries Canada and Mexico are still killing horses there will be horses from the US that kill buyers will try to sneak across as saddle horses that were bought here in the US. Right now nobody really bothers to check the identification of any horses moving across either border. I do know one thing that if this killing can be shut down here it will also close up all but one or two slaughter plants in both Canada/Mexico. Neither country have enough horses to supply 5 or 6 slaughter plants going 24-7 like they do now.


  5. There may be other reasons for Biden stepping in to help stop the horse killing. I have heard that he may be considering running for president and stopping something that 80% of voters want shut down, it would look good on his resume. Its always been the US Senate members that has refused to cosponsor any anti-horse slaughter bills except the few senators that introduced the anti-slaughter bills. I’m taking a wait and see on this also but this time I have more hope of shutting all down than before.


  6. If there is “No other alternative accomplished with our government” to do an outside , non-biased accounting of Our American Wild Mustang Horses and Wild Burros still living in the Public Ranges of the USA, I think the BLM should have to give each Wild Horse they capture a “Computer chip” that can easily be scanned and read. Its not invasive to the Wild Horses/Burros and can be done quickly. Perhaps this would end the “Mysterious Disappearances” as well as start giving an accurate count of every Wild Mustang/Wild Burro that they capture, the sex, color, area caught, state in their records if a mare was visibly pregnant at the time of capture, if the mare had a foul with her, if the mare had received a contraceptive shot and identify the band the horse came from! I’m sure they could get lots of volunteer help at each roundup to document the captures of the Wild Mustangs/Burros. Its two-fold: Volunteers would not charge the BLM to help do this and would be selected from horse advocates who are qualified to handle horses and the BLM would be conforming to the requests they receive to make the roundups public. If a Killbuyer does try and send truck loads of horses to a Horse Meat Slaughter Plant outside of the US, a patrol officer can easily scan several horses to see who owned it. How hard would it be to have an online directory identifying horses/ponies/burros/mules as to sale dates and type of horse???


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