U.S. Senate Committee Votes to Prohibit Horse Slaughter on American Soil

Souce: ASPCA

“Taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund the inspection of facilities that contribute to the brutal slaughter of our horses,”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation
photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

During yesterday’s markup of the 2016 agriculture spending bill, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved the anti-horse slaughter amendment offered by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) and co-sponsored by Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Chris Coons (D-DE). The Udall-Kirk Amendment would prevent the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from using taxpayer dollars to inspect horse slaughter facilities; without such inspections, the horse slaughter industry cannot resume in the United States.

“Horses are a symbol of the West, and they are an important part of our nation’s history and our way of life today,” said Senator Udall. “Not only is the idea of horse slaughter for human consumption abhorrent to most Americans, but USDA is already stretched too thin and doesn’t have the resources to properly oversee the industry. The practice is unnecessarily cruel and has a record of gruesome pollution and terrible conditions. New Mexicans write to me regularly to say that horse slaughter has no place in the United States. I agree and was pleased to offer this bipartisan amendment on their behalf.”

“Taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund the inspection of facilities that contribute to the brutal slaughter of our horses,” added Senator Kirk. “Illinois banned the practice of horse slaughter in 2007, and this amendment ensures that these inhumane facilities are not opened again on U.S. soil.”

Horse slaughter is inherently cruel, environmentally and economically devastating to local communities and unsafe for foreign consumers. The ASPCA thanks the Senate Appropriations Committee for recognizing that it is irresponsible and wasteful to use taxpayer dollars to fund this brutal practice. The House Appropriations Committee vote, one week ago, was a tie and did not allow the language to be inserted into the larger legislation, so having the Senate take this action is particularly encouraging.

In addition to banning funds for horse slaughter inspections, the Committee also approved a provision to improve the animal welfare policy at U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) and other federally operated agricultural research centers. Following a similar measure in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Committee’s report requires USDA to ensure that the agency’s research is adhering to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), including the necessary inspection and reporting requirements.


  1. Thank you for protecting our horses. Now can we please work on not shipping them out of the country to Canada and Mexico to slaughter facilities. This is definitely a step but there are many more steps that need to be taken to ensure all of their safety.


  2. Does this now pass to a conference committee or is it law? If this is headed to a committee now, how can we find out who is on it and contact them?


    • It’s not over yet folks… the tail end of the ASPCA article referenced above mentions this:

      “The 2016 appropriations bill now moves to the Senate Floor. The ASPCA will work steadfastly to make sure this language is retained in the final version of the bill passed by Congress.”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You may wish to take a moment and email the Senators listed above. I just emailed my Senator who was on the co-sponsor list and also emailed Tom Udall and thanked them. The next time this issue raises its nasty head, these Senators will remember if they got a lot of support about this issue.

    Doing this and other similar actions sometimes seems like such a small drop in the bucket but you may remember that Velma Johnston (Wild Horse Annie) made a GIGANTIC difference for wild horses and wild burros … one step and one letter and one drop in the bucket at a time.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am glad the U.S, Senate Committee made this decision as Michele Marty said I hope they don’t get sent to Canada or Mexico. I might not come from the U.S.A but I have always follow what happens to horses does not matter what country


  5. Thank you for doing what is right for the preservation of Americas wild Horses and Burros. After all, they were here FIRST.


  6. Please Everyone, let’s thank these Senators. We want them to know how many people were watching and appreciating what they have done. We want them on board for the next go round.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you! I will be sending my “thank you” to theses Senators. It is an incredible feeling when you work so hard and you receive a “thank you”. Today’s society seems to lack “appreciation for a job well done”. I got two in one week for a change!


  8. I send my heartfelt thanks to the Senators who made it possible for our horses and burros to NOT be slaughtered in the US. Now, we need the SAFE Act passed to end the holding, transport and slaughter in ANY foreign country. Mexico, in particular, has a truly horrific method of slaughter. Our horses and burros do not deserve to die like this, I thank you again and will note your names for notice of direct appreciation,

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks to all those that worked so hard on this but yes there is more to be done no more shipping them out! I am not being unapreciative but this also needs to stop!


  10. It might be a good idea to contact both of these senators and ask what they think about bringing the bills S.1214 and H.R. 1492 The Safe Act out of committee to the floor for a voice vote as long as there is momentum to stop horse slaughter. If they could get their counterparts in the House to agree I think it would be worth a shot. Because these two bills will just sit in committee until they die. I am not in either man’s state but I am calling both Monday and explain to them I am one of the 80% of US citizens that want horse slaughter stopped and how important moving these bills forward is toward stopping horse slaughter. One of the reasons is the fact that the Quarter Horse Association is working around the clock telling their members to contact their congressmen to block any bill or amendment. I believe that is what caused the congressman that was the tie breaker to change his mind from not supporting funding to supporting funding for the inspections.


    • Barbara, while I am sure some AQHA members support slaughter I am not aware of any members I know being contacted in the way you describe. Registrations have plummeted in this and other registries in such numbers the only support for slaughter would come from those wanting to raise more horses than they can sell now… but it costs far more to raise a horse than can be gained by selling for slaughter so that argument seems weak. Heres’ some interesting figures published by Juli Thorson a year ago:


      In a trend that reverses 50 years of growth, ever since registered horses became en vogue after World War II, their number is in decline. Last year’s registration total from the top 12 breeds was 144K, a drop of 56 percent from the 323K recorded a decade earlier.

      Concurrently, memberships in breed associations plunged from 610K in 2003, to 372K in 2013.Jennifer Paulson
      Credit: Jennifer Paulson
      Fewer foals are being registered—or even born—compared to 10 years ago.

      The figures revealing this decade of change are from AQHA Executive Vice President Don Treadway’s speech at the 2014 AQHA Convention.

      In the same presentation, Treadway noted the decline in his breed alone: From a high of almost 161K registrations in 2003, AQHA issued 74K new registrations in ’13.

      Here’s a scenario to put that in perspective: Let’s say you’re in the market today for a 10- or 11-year-old Quarter Horse gelding suitable for your kids. He’ll be from that high-mark foal-crop era around 2003. Make that same search 10 years from now, and fewer than half as many such horses will exist as possible choices.

      Meanwhile, there was something about that 144K figure—the 2013 registration total from the top 12 breeds—that sent me looking into some other figures. I wanted to know what the slaughter numbers were for the same period, so I checked with the USDA.

      And guess what? There’s been a huge trend reversal there, too. Last year, more U.S. horses were exported to be slaughtered than received registration papers by the top 12 associations.

      That changeover may have taken place, actually, a year or so earlier. Here are some numbers:

      2003: 323K horses registered by the top 12 breeds, 85K U.S. horses slaughtered (domestic and export combined).

      2113: 144K horses registered by the top 12 breeds, 152K U.S. horses slaughtered as exports to Japan, Mexico, Canada (176K slaughtered as exports in 2012).
      – See more at: http://horseandrider.com/blog/decline-registered-horses-21330#sthash.uqkdGLDW.dpuf


  11. We must remember, the suffering and disrespect for our beloved horses will not end until slaughter is completely banned. It cannot happen here, in the U.S.A, and there must be a law against shipping across the border. I have been tortured every time i hear someone say we have to allow slaughter here because shipping horses long distances just prolongs and intensifies the suffering. I love, love the Advocates Pledge by R.T. Fitch.
    The greatness of a nation and it’s moral progress can be judged by the way it’s animals are treated.-Mahatma Gandhi
    Never doubt that a group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.-Margaret Mead


  12. A video is circulating on Facebook that was shared two days ago with the Animal Law Coalition Group on LinkedIn that shows LIVE animals (sheep, cows, & horses) thrown into a “meat grinder”. People are trying to find out where this place is. Some people suspect that it is a Brazilian plant. Someone from LinkedIn has contacted the FBI to investigate (if that will even help since it is assumed it is on foreign soil). I did not watch it because others said it was horrifying. I don’t sleep at night as it is — I don’t need that, too. I won’t even watch a horror flick and cover my eyes on overly bloody scenes in cop-type shows.


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