Protecting American Horses From Slaughter and Consumption
On January 30th, U.S. House Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) reintroduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act to end the slaughter of American horses for human consumption. The legislation would prohibit the sale and transport of equines for slaughter which would prevent horse slaughter plants from operating in the U.S. and also ending the export of U.S. horses across our borders to Mexico and Canada for this purpose.
Over 100,000 innocent horses are exported for slaughter each year with intense suffering occurring even before they reach the kill box. Kill buyers cram horses into semi trucks usually obtaining them from low-end auctions or owners looking to re-home or sell their horse for free or cheaply. Very often they (or their workers) pretend to be a safe home or even a rescue.
The horses who are not immediately shipped to slaughter often spend time at “kill lots” where they are in filthy conditions with many becoming dangerously ill from contagious diseases. Those in transport often go for over 24 hours without food, water, or rest. Depending upon point of origin, they can be transporting within the U.S. long before reaching the border into Canada or Mexico.
At the slaughter plant, the horror intensifies as the exhausted, sick, injured and terrified horses endure multiple blows to the head in attempts to render them unconscious via the captive bolt method. Gunshot methods for killing regularly involve numerous shots as the panicked horse moves frantically around in the kill box.
Years worth of public polls show a strong percentage (at least 80%) of Americans wanting to ban horse slaughter.
“Horses have a special place in our nation’s history, and these majestic creatures were not raised as food for humans,” U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky said. “The SAFE Act would prohibit any horse slaughter plant from opening; and also end the sale or transport of horses and horse parts in the U.S. and abroad for the purpose of human consumption. I am proud to reintroduce this bill and work with Congressman Buchanan to put an end to this practice.”
“The slaughter of horses for human consumption is a barbaric practice that has no place in America,” U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan said. “I will continue to lead the effort with Congresswoman Schakowsky to ban domestic horse slaughter and end the export of horses abroad for slaughter.”
Horses are not raised as a food animal in the U.S., and they receive a number of medications and other drugs during their lives that make them unfit for human consumption. Front Range Equine Rescue’s legal actions at the state and federal level during 2012-2013 were based upon these facts.
The SAFE Act would prevent millions of taxpayer dollars from being wasted to allow plants to operate in the U.S. where numerous violations were documented when these facilities were open in the past. Regulations and methods for killing at a U.S. plant would not have any significant difference. Horses cannot be slaughtered humanely. Opening U.S. plants does not stop horses from crossing the border as kill buyers have contracts with various slaughter operators. Just like in the past, they would work to fill quotas for each facility whether it’s in the U.S. or in Mexico and Canada.
A similar bill in the Senate is expected to be introduced.