Double-Decker Horse Transport Bill Introduced

Story By Pat Raia as published in TheHorse

Introduced March 24, S 850 would amend Title 49 of the U.S. Code to “prohibit the transportation of horses in interstate transportation in a motor vehicle containing two or more levels, stacked one on top of one another.”

Picture courtesy of AWIonline.org

Picture courtesy of AWIonline.org

A bill that would outlaw the transport of horses in double-decker trailers has been reintroduced into the U.S. Senate by Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk. The bill stems from a 2007 incident involving the crash of a double-decker trailer carrying Belgian Draft horses crashed near Wadsworth, Illinois.

In October 2007, a semi-truck hauling 59 Belgians in a double-decker trailer from Indiana to Minnesota overturned, resulting in 17 horses’ deaths. The surviving 42 horses were placed in the care of the Hooved Animal Rescue and Protection Society (HARPS), in Barrington, Illinois, and later in adoptive homes.

Subsequently, a dozen states either banned the use of double-decker trailers for horse transport or took steps to further regulate double-decker trailer use. In 2007, the USDA banned the use of double-deck trailers to transport horses to slaughter. However, no federal legislation banning the use of double-deck trailers for general horse transport has been passed.

Introduced March 24, S 850 would amend Title 49 of the U.S. Code to “prohibit the transportation of horses in interstate transportation in a motor vehicle containing two or more levels, stacked one on top of one another.”

Under the proposed legislation, violators could face civil penalties of at least $100, but not more than $500 for each violation. The legislation also contains a separate violation for each horse that in transported or caused to be transported in a double-deck trailer as described.

Kirk sponsored similar legislation in previous congresses, including S 1281 in 2011.

Meanwhile, S 850 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for review. The legislation remains pending.

12 comments on “Double-Decker Horse Transport Bill Introduced

  1. When will our humanity evolve instead of devolving, our technology has advance by giant leaps and bounds, yet the cruelty continues, what does that say about us a a human race, we can’t even come close to understanding the way’s of Politics but we know how Horses want to live their lives, free. Why don’t all the Hollywood supposed animal rights activists give them their voice, the Country Music industry rally for the Horses, maybe some do, but it’s not enough, how much pain and suffering is enough for the richest of the rich open their hearts and pocketbooks, what’s a few million when you have billions, you live in 30 to 100 million dollar homes, why how many bathrooms and bedrooms do you need while so much suffering continues, if you have that power and money then put it where it will save our History, without these amazing animals we would be walking two days to go 20 miles, but with a Horse it would be less than an hour. How can we forget they fought in battle just like other soldiers, they carried medicine to the sick they carried the mail and they carried people to settle in different parts of the U.S. and this is how we honor their heritage. We carry the badge of shame as a nation we’ve let them down in their hour of need but they never let us down, what at sad comment but also true. If we can put a man on the Moon they why the Hell can’t we stop the Cruelty of the BLM.

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  2. We already know that the PCRA will oppose the bill and their counterparts in big Ag, the cattlemen , will be behind them. I hope that common sense and history will carry some weight in this. Those damned rodeo cowboys don’t give a shit about the rodeo stock,.the bucking horses s has been shown so many times. Hope for the best but expect the worst.. We know that kill buyers will hate it. There have been more accidents in Indiana and Illinois than just the one mentioned and that hooves animals rescue owner is pro slaughter,.ask Gail about her.. Because of Gail and others, Illinois is a no slaughter state thank God.

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  3. Nothing is perfect and I so totally agree with you. This isn’t the answer. But its a start. When speaking with your legislators address the issue of slaughter and tell them why you don’t support it. In my research on this subject, I am finding that the Killer Buyers and auction houses as we know, are not held to the standards as other horse people. Horses are picked up taken from state to state without health certs or negative coggins. This could jeopardize other herds and horses. If the avg. person gets stopped hauling a horse in the right equipment, you better have your cert and coggins paperwork. These Slimballs pick up and haul all over There are so many kind souls around the country trying out bid and buy these horses before they arrive at the feedlots. It is terrible! They also need to be held to standards with humane care given. This is not happening and horses are suffering. Its totally disgusting. Our fight in Illinois to rid ourselves of that Chamber of Horror was worth the fight. Some said it would never close. However, we never gave up the fight to send those damn Europeans backing. They left our state owing thousands in violations. Today I am going to my Representatives office packed with info from the Wild Horses and Burros to slaughter and transportation. I don’t what the outcome will be, but I do know that I must try to make a difference. Back up all those Horse Warriors out there fighting for the Wild Horses and Burros. Let’s all work together to stop US horses from leaving the US. They say there is an abundance of horses, but all the horses that survived the crash in Illinois found homes. Its time for us to send the Europeans a strong message: YOUR NOT TAKING ANY MORE US HORSES!!!

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    • The Hooved Animal in Barrington used to have a supposed deal worked out where they were to recieve a donation from the kill buyers for every horse slaughtered but . It really never happened to work out. That was a deceitful agreement in the first place. Then Harps who Donna Ewing from Hooved Animals created in Indiana when she was booted from Hooved ran slaughter propaganda there for awhile. I finally got tired of it and personally said a few things that needed said. Your either a rescuer or not. Illinois had several outta the side of their mouth talkers and they ran to other states when the plant closed. Seems when their proslaughter lies were exposed they didnt want to face them. Illinois has been filled with hardworking horse owners for decades who wanted rid of the horror show at Dekalb. To be honest…closure changed all of Illinois.

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  4. This is a step in the right direction but why does it cover only interstate transportation? Why aren’t these double deckers banned outright for the use of equids – is there ever a case when they are appropriate?

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  5. ILLINOIS LOVES HORSES! ILLINOIS works hard to improve welfare for animals all the time. THANKS TO SENATOR MARK KIRK AND ANYONE WHO SUPPORTS THIS BILL! WE LOVE ILLINOIS HIGH STANDARDS!

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  6. Signed – thanks – but I thought this was already a law but apparently just in some states? I am also curious if anyone has experience with crossing state lines with horses and do you think the inspectors look at the animals in the trailers? Would they know if it was a double-decker horse trailer? Would they know if any horses were down in the trailer?
    I crossed a state line with two adopted wild horses, handed all the paperwork to the inspector who paid no attention to it and never even glanced back at the horses trailer. We could have had lions and tigers and bears in that trailer for all she cared.

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    • Most do Not care. However if theres a USDA OR CDC issued reason they will. We often remind Illinois State Police to watch for horse trailers that might attempt transport to slaughter which is illegal in Illinois. No transport through…Illinois to slaughter. Many times trailer and horse checks are left up to horse shows alone. The system breaks down over time which is .what allowed proslaughter to operate disfunctionally. IDOT was required to check trailers for safety and horse papers on kill horses and the man who was questioned why it didnt occur simply resigned/retired when questions were asked then plant was closed and issue was gone. Illinois State Police still have watched backroads and questions it. Our state needs to stay viligant. Many people dont know you have to have a properly rated license just pulling a gooseneck and dually so most folks would find out the hard way if they . Were checking everyone.

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  7. I’m already scared for this as it’s going to the Commerce, Science and Transportation committee which is chaired by John Thune. I fear, like many other good bills, it has gone their to die. Pressure must be applied.

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  8. Grandmagregg, from querying friends who transport horses what you experienced is the norm. I’m trying to think of the site where you can go to post a comment on proposed federal legislation. I can see it–it’s in orange and you can just vote yes or no and/or leave a comment. I would like to leave a comment there but I am brain dead on the name of the site. Anyone know which site this is?

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    • MorganG – try govtrack.us. I put in S 850-title 49 for key words & the bill came up. It gives a 4% (!) chance of being enacted! Nothing done since 3/24.

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