Equine Rescue

Federal Legislation Introduced to Prohibit Slaughter of American Equines

Source: Multiple

“This bipartisan bill seeks to prevent and end the inhumane and dangerous process of transporting thousands of horses a year for food.”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

On April 22nd, 2015, federal lawmakers introduced legislation to prevent the establishment of horse slaughter operations within the U.S., end the current export of American horses and donkeys for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat. The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R. 1942, was introduced by Reps. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.).

Last year, more than 140,000 American horses, donkeys and mules were slaughtered for human consumption in foreign countries. The animals often suffer long journeys to slaughter plants in Canada and Mexico without adequate food, water or rest. At the slaughterhouse, horses are  brutally forced into a “kill box” and shot in the head with a captive bolt gun in an attempt to stun them before slaughter—a process that can be inaccurate due to the biology and nature of equines and result in animals sustaining repeated blows or remaining conscious during the kill process.

For centuries, horses have embodied the spirit of American freedom and pride,” said Rep. Guinta. “To that end, horses are not raised for food – permitting their transportation for the purposes of being slaughtered for human consumption is not consistent with our values and results in a dangerously toxic product.  This bipartisan bill seeks to prevent and end the inhumane and dangerous process of transporting thousands of horses a year for food.”

Horses sent to slaughter are often subject to appalling, brutal treatment,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “We must fight those practices. The SAFE Act of 2015 will ensure that these majestic animals are treated with the respect they deserve.”

“The slaughter of horses for human consumption is an absolute travesty that must be stopped,” said Rep. Buchanan.  “This bipartisan measure will finally put an end to this barbaric practice.”

Horse slaughter is an inhumane practice that causes great pain and distress to the animals, and poses numerous environmental and food safety concerns,” said Rep. Lujan Grisham. “The vast majority of my constituents oppose horse slaughter. I’m proud to support the SAFE Act to ban this cruelty once and for all.”

The SAFE Act would also protect consumers from dangerous American equine meat, which can be toxic to humans due to the unregulated administration of drugs to horses. Because horses and donkeys are not raised for food, they are routinely given hundreds of toxic drugs and chemical treatments over their lifetimes that are prohibited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in animals intended for human consumption. Those drugs, although safe for horses, are potentially toxic to humans if consumed. In December 2014, the European Union announced its suspension of imports of horse meat from Mexico after a scathing audit of EU-certified Mexican horse slaughter plants, which kill tens of thousands of American horses each year. Additionally, the discovery of horse meat in beef products in Europe shocked consumers and raised concerns about the potential impact on American food industries.

The concerned American public is encouraged to contact their U.S. representatives and urge them to cosponsor the SAFE Act in order to protect America’s horses and overall consumer health from horse slaughter.

26 replies »

    • V, introduction is often a long ways from a vote (many introduced bills die in committee)… so it’s important we all keep our elected congresspeople aware and motivated to see this legislation reach a legitimate vote.


  1. Urge. Because they need to pass this to Save Our Industry and stop this Barbaric practice. When it does pass please remember the forewarned JUMP AND DUMP. This is a plan that is Illegal to drive wherever which is the JUMP and DUMP the kill buy horses and horses that auctions do not get filtered to slaughter before closing. This is to make it appear were in a desperate situation. Please watch and help identify any JUMP AND DUMPERS This has been a well known plan that was devised when the plantbin Dekalb closed. After closure killer buyers will No longer have no longer have protection from the laws or Good ol boys to prevent them from cruelty prosecution. So any animals in their possession will considered Not meat animals but horses in cruel abusive settings period. They will use plants closing as their excuse. This time if the SAFE ACT passes they will be surely charged with crimes. We want these people to turn their horses over to the authorities instead of dumping them. Please keep your eyes peeled and ears open for any rumors that there may be activity.


    • I had sent John Holland an email recently regarding the economic upswing in the Individual States Horse Industries showing the upward trend without a plant within the US. He apparently didnt understand the reason I wanted them to conduct a new study was to show that the Horse Industry within each State is rebounding Regardless of what Slaughter does. The closure of the borders will Not affect the Horse Industry Individual State Economies however it will affect the number of prosecutable cases of abuse and neglect. In other words…it will then include cases that would have been covered up by horse slaughter and not figured into abuse/neglect figures. The only economic impact it will have at closure is the rescues will recover and pay for the horses the abusers have either abandoned or abused. I think we need to consider that non compliance of restitution should be enforced to recover any monies possible. I wanted to utilize the States economic trend upwards to show the horse industry still has cash flow and upward financial trends. The USDA is going to conduct a snapshot study of the industry which I worry will conflict with the actual industry. Using only a handful of states and ones with lower animal cruelty emforcement I believe will not represent our progress.


  2. The bipartisanship looks promising. I’m going to hope and pray that this goes through. It is delightful to see Democrats and Republicans working together to support something that’s morally upright! This country needs much more of that and the horses certainly depend on our voices. Way to go America!


  3. Good to hear, however, one clarification. 3 out of 4 of the major horse slaughter plants in Canada use the .22 rifle but this is still grossly inhumane as the shooter is usually several feet away from the horse which can have disasterous results.


  4. According to my Senator (NY) he is a co-sponsor of the SAFE Act. Which makes me feel good – I just hope by some miracle this time it is passed. Cross our fingers & pray!


  5. The last bill that died in committee had enough cosponsors in the House to pass it IF they had the same number in the Senate. Most of the senate were the congressmen/women that introduced the bill they never gained enough cosponsors to be able to move the bill to the floor for a vote. The lobbyists will be descending on congress to lobby to not cosponsor the new bill that is what happened last time so I’m not holding my breath. The racing industry hires high paid lobbyist to prowl the halls of congress talking to any reps or senators that will listen to their BS. The same goes for pretty much all of the horse breeders such as the Quarter horse breeders. The breeders need to keep the slaughter industry going to dump their brood mares for one and any horses that don’t meet their qualifications. I have said this before that its the senate that refuses to cosponsor any bill that stops this cruelty.
    The lobbyists dump hundreds of thousands of dollars into the reelection campaigns of these senators not to mention the wining and dining not so much the reps most of these bills have to have both parties on board to pass it. The only thing that might help its passage is the fact Harry Reid will be leaving when his term is up. That man refused to allow a huge number of bills to pass when they reached his desk since he has lost that power in this last election. That’s one crook that needed to be kicked out of office years ago.


  6. Barbara Griffin said it quite well. The racing industry is far too glamorized and hides the fact that may thoroughbreds and racing quarter horses go to slaughter simply because the don’t win. And many horse owners in the general public sell horses to people for such low prices and have no clue that their loyal mount is not heading for a new home but is instantly put in the kill pens. Fraud is illegal and many buyers are looking for those victims–both horses and humans.


  7. This is not right. Too many getting slaughtered for no reason. Transport is horrid conditions. Foals taken from their mother’s. It has gone way too far, it needs to stop! Their meat has tons of drugs in them, not fit for humane consumption!! Our horses in the U.S deserve better!!!


  8. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE STOP this cruel and unnessecary process ! This is horrific and it makes us worse as a society .


  9. I am worried about a possible loophole. This law prohibits killing horses for human consumption but that leaves the door open for killing horses for pet food, doesn’t it?!


  10. Please help these horses and stop horse slaughter they are our heritage they need our help this is bad for them to suffer


  11. Where do we sign to support Safe Act 2015. Many have tried to get a petition signed, only to be shot down! I hope this gets through!


  12. Please ban all horse slaughtering, and kill auctions. It is a disgusting practice. Anyone involved in the slaughtering of any HORSE should be charged with cruelty to animals. Stop exporting HORSES to mexico, Canada, and any other country that practices such barbaric acts.


  13. Mr Fitch
    I did want to let you know that Doran Ayache and Teri Vincent were given a choice of serving months in jail or a 5000 dollar fine
    Both chose to admit guilt and pay the fine.
    All that means is it will be business as usual in Tn shipping horses to slaughter.


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