Horse News

Buchanan Files Ban on Slaughtering Horses for Meat

BY JACOB OGLES as published on SRQ

No Americans should have resorted to eating their horses, according to Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota. The congressman on Wednesday filed bipartisan legislation with Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, that would outlaw killing horses for food.

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“The slaughter of horses for human consumption is a barbaric practice that has no place in America,” Buchanan said. “I look forward to continuing to lead the effort with Congresswoman Schakowsky to ban domestic horse slaughter and end the export of horses abroad for the same purpose.”

It’s not just a stance against an easily reviled act. Just two years ago, a horse was stolen from a property in Palmetto and later found gutted for meat; the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office last year arresting a Pinellas County resident on charges of grand theft and animal cruelty. The Sarasota-Manatee area saw two horses killed for meat by rustlers within a month in 2015.

Buchanan’s office said there have been scattered reported around Florida for years regarding the slaughter of horses, often by thieves. But the act of killing the horse for meat isn’t itself a crime. In fact, federal agencies estimate 37,000 American were exported to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico, with the meet typically shopped overseas. Buchanan, who has been honored as the U.S. Humane Society’s Legislator of the Year twice, wants federal law to change. In addition to a prohibition on such killing in the U.S., the newly filed Save America’s Forgotten Equines Act (SAVE) Act would also ban such international sales. Selling horses in the United States to be slaughtered to export the meat is already a violation of the law, but it’s a regulation that has to be extended every year, and it doesn’t stop selling to buyers in Canada and Mexico.

“Only nine years ago, 160,000 American horses were exported abroad for slaughter,” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “Due to awareness of this inhumane and predatory industry, that number has dropped dramatically with only 37,249 shipped to slaughter in 2020. But one horse is still too many.” The Humane Society supports the bill.

So does the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “An overwhelming majority of Americans oppose horse slaughter for human consumption and with May being Adopt a Horse Month, there is no better time than now to support at-risk horses by prohibiting this unnecessary and cruel practice,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of Government Relations for the ASPCA. “We are grateful to Representatives Schakowsky and Buchanan for their steadfast commitment to protecting our horses and we urge Congress to pass the SAFE Act to finally end this abhorrent practice.”

10 replies »

    • Thank You, Thank You, it is so important that we revere our horses that have been here for so long and at our service. Stop the Slaughter from happening in Canada & Mexico and leave the Wild horses on their land. Find a way to use birth control, although the dart process seems to work. This has been a Long time coming, and after the illegal rounding up and sending to slaughter and to break the LAW of the 70s—- it is time!!!!!

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  1. Keep in mind that while some (unknown) number of formerly wild horses end up butchered in other countries, it could still happen here without endless vigilance and annual legislation enforcement.

    It’s also true that most horses who end their lives in the misery of kill pens, watching, smelling, and hearing their fellows die just ahead of them in line, are domestic horses. We have horse breeding industries which rely on “churn” of selling a continuing supply of young stock and essentially discarding adult horses, many which are not even 10 years old. This is all a financial model which profits from devaluing life, and needs to be reconsidered.

    We also need a nationwide “end of life” strategy for domestic horses. Most owners do not have enough land to bury them anymore, so the options are few. Send them to a kill sale and wait for a check in the mail (common), have a vet euthanize them and haul to a landfill (also common, but horrifying). Not too many renderers are in business anymore, but I’ve seen that play out tragically as well, as children watch their beloved (but diseased) horse get chained and dragged up into the bed of a dump truck. It’s easy to see why folks just dump horses due to the costs, then wash their hands of the “end of life” decisions altogether as they wait for a paltry paycheck.

    We can do better, and should. One idea is to put a small tax on feed or horse equipment, or even a voluntary system where horse owners could buy an annual stamp or similar, which would over time buy them a burial spot or two in a horse cemetery in their home state. I’ve spent a fortune in my life buying what my animals need, and would welcome some more humane and dignified end of life options for them.

    What are your ideas?

    Liked by 1 person

    • All really good ideas, Icy – I was fortunate to be able to have my boy put down at the farm where he lived AND is buried there. I used to worry as I got older (& he did too, of course) about being unable to afford to care for him. Made up my mind that no matter what – when the time came, I would BE there & he would be in a safe place. I was really dumb with my first horse – well, naive with my first mare – but she went on to a 12 year old girl (I got married – couldnt afford her) & I was pretty certain she would be in a good home. But after I got Chico (when I was in my 50s) I was well aware of the local auction & kill pens. Have absolutely no understanding of how anyone could fool themselves into thinking they arent responsible for an animal for ALL their lives. I do remember seeing a little mare that belonged to a kid I knew being dragged into a rendering truck – cant ever forget it – and that was a long long time ago.
      Have lost count of the number of times this same ban has been attempted – then we hear “well what do we do with all these “unwanted” horses”? There are no thousands of unwanted horses – there are people and organizations that want an easy way to profit on every stage of an animal’s life – and death. I know of several horse rescues that will help with gelding AND end of life costs. All you have to do is care enough to make an effort. Make racehorse owners, breeders, trainers, racing organizations face up to this issue. They and other disciplines certainly make enough profit from these animals lives. Most of them of course wont BE responsible voluntarily – so REGULATE it!
      So glad you are back on here – you were missed for a while!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Maggie, for your thoughtful comments. I know there are many rescues out there but this still remains a problem for many unregistered horses, for one example. I also (like you) won’t ever blithely sell a horse ever again, knowing what I know now, and have a horrid sinking feeling about what happened to the foals produced by a stallion I leased out for many years.

        I still think taking personal responsibility is an easier “sell” as this is a morally, socially, and fiscally responsible approach, which could be accomplished through individual horse owners stepping up via a tax or similar to essentially guarantee a humane end to their animals lives. This would also enable folks to go visit and pay respects, and if designed so markers would be flat on the ground, could easily be mowed and cared for while also creating a job or two in cash-starved rural areas.

        The bulk of those in the slaughter pipeline are domestic horses, so this simple approach might make a dent in that number at least. I’d also support making selling a freeze-branded former wild horse or burro at auction a felony. These brands are unmistakable and mark these animals as originally being US taxpayers property. Our current system only mildly guarantees them one year post-“adoption” which isn’t enough accountability. It is wrong that everyone makes money off these innocent animals but the taxpayers!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am very happy to hear this and wish it were being thought about in Australia as well. Starting helicopter culling in a month in 3 National Parks in Victoria I just read and signed against. All these new Laws or revamped Laws need to be implemented and constantly policed to make sure the letter of the Law is followed. There are far too many loop-holes within our Laws these days for the cunning ones to abuse.

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  3. This March, we taxpayers just paid $37,100 to send OUR Devil’s Garden wild horses around the country for dispersal and I have very little doubt that we paid to send some if not all of these wild horses to kill-buyers or kill-buyer auctions.
    Here is a list and the link so you can look for yourself.

    127EAY21P0036
    CATTOOR LIVESTOCK ROUNDUP INC
    3/13/2021
    4/15/2021
    $3,500
    SAFELY AND HUMANLEY TRANSPORT 6-8 WILD HORSES FROM ALTURAS, CA TO ENUMCLAW WASHINGTON
    Department of Agriculture Forest Service
    PURCHASE ORDER
    127EAY21P0035
    CRISWELL TRUCKING LLC
    3/11/2021
    4/15/2021
    $11,600
    SAFELY AND HUMANELY TRANSPORT 101-6 HORSES FROM ALTURAS, CA TO LIVE OAK, FL
    Department of Agriculture Forest Service
    PURCHASE ORDER
    127EAY21P0034
    CRISWELL TRUCKING LLC
    3/10/2021
    3/31/2021
    $9,000
    SAFELY AND HUMANELY TRANSPORT (6) HORSES FROM ALTURAS CA TO CONNECTICUT (2) HORSES AND (4) HORSES TO VERMONT.
    Department of Agriculture Forest Service
    PURCHASE ORDER
    127EAY21P0033
    CATTOOR LIVESTOCK ROUNDUP INC
    3/9/2021
    3/31/2021
    $4,450
    SAFELY AND HUMANELY TRANSPORT 26-30 WILD HORSES FROM ALTURAS, CA TO MISSOULA, MT
    Department of Agriculture Forest Service
    PURCHASE ORDER
    127EAY21P0032
    CRISWELL TRUCKING LLC
    3/9/2021
    3/31/2021
    $8,550
    https://www.usaspending.gov/search/?hash=0270d838f2aa7a83081723fe8ce336fa

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  4. After it is dead, I do not really care whether a person eats a horse on not. Currently, banning slaughter of horses in USA causes immense suffering to LIVE horses.

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    • Investigate a bit more about what goes on in the last weeks of a horse destined for slaughter and you will see the hypocrisy of your own sentiments. I’ve seen all sorts of horses injured in kill pens, some even with long-term broken legs who were still hauled to sell for a few pennies a pound, then struggle for weeks in the slaughter pipeline before their suffering at the hands of humans finally ended.

      Current laws allow you to kill and eat your own horse if you like, but once it becomes a commercial venture it becomes a public health concern, since so many horses who end up slaughtered have been on all kinds of (unrecorded) medications throughout their lives, and especially close to the time they are sold off if they are being treated for ultimately incurable conditions. Many of these medications are indeed labeled as NOT to be used for animals intended for slaughter, and they do cause harm to those who unknowingly ingest them. A further problem arises when slaughter products are mixed together, so there is no possibilty of tracing contaminants to a single source. And when this happens, it causes major ripples in supply chains as massive recalls must be implemented.

      So if (as you seem to say) you are concerned about suffering in live horses, what are your suggestions to make their lives and deaths humane — without needing to commercialize their killing?

      Liked by 1 person

    • If you care to investigate exactly what it looks like for LIVE horses to be sent to slaughter – visit a horse auction or two – the actual suffering and physical debilitation of far too many of the LIVE horses, mules, & ponies at these auctions should certainly open your eyes or if that doesnt make it clear – check out a horse slaughter plant. A rescue I donate to in Tennessee was able to buy forty three (43) horses, donkeys & ponies at a recent auction – and far too many had so many medical issues that there was no fixing! They gave them care, love & a good feed & euthanized them AFTER bringing them back to the rescue – having a veterinarian examine them – X-rays, etc. because leaving them at the auction meant they would be loaded onto yet another trailer to travel hours to Mexico for slaughter. Banning slaughter isnt going to cause more suffering – what it would do is force breeders, trainers and owners to actually be RESPONSIBLE in caring for their animals, not only during their lives, but doing the right empathic, responsible thing to end their lives. Sending them to Canada or Mexico for hour after hour on a trailer, with no food or water, sure isnt “saving live horses from suffering”!
      Quite honestly, until owners (guardians/caretakers) of domestic animals are responsible for these animals lives – from beginning to end – when or IF that ever becomes the accepted normal – far too many horses, dogs, cats & other animals will continue to be abused and ignored. What exactly does that say about US?

      Liked by 1 person

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