A Renewed Effort to Stop the Slaughter of American Horses


HSLF_emailsubscription_logoThis morning at a Capitol Hill press conference, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and U.S. Reps. Pat Meehan, R-Pa., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., joined animal welfare groups, equestrians, and veterinarians to announce the introduction of new federal legislation to prevent the slaughter and export of American horses for human consumption. Their legislation, S. 541 and H.R. 1094, the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., as an additional co-author, comes on the heels of a horsemeat scandal in Europe, which is a main market for tens of thousands of American horses killed and butchered every year and shipped overseas to foreign consumers.

At a time when the sequestration may lead to cutbacks on food safety inspections, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering the application of horse slaughter plants that want to open here on U.S. soil with federal inspectors. Why would we add a new expense and new program to the federal budget, just to support a marginal and predatory industry that gathers and kills horses from random sources, while furloughing inspectors who monitor the food actually consumed by American citizens?

Because American horses are icons and companion animals, and not raised for human consumption, they are given drugs and medications throughout their lifetimes that are never intended for the food system—ranging from common painkillers such as “bute” for treating ailing or lame horses, to cocaine and cobra venom and other forms of “doping” in the horseracing industry. There is currently no system in the U.S. to track medications and veterinary treatments given to horses to ensure that their meat is safe for human consumption, and it’s a free-for-all when this tainted and contaminated meat is shipped to unsuspecting diners.

Additionally, if horse slaughter plants are opened in the U.S., it will be more difficult to prevent this kind of comingling between horsemeat and beef products that has occurred in Europe. There has never been more urgency in passing this long overdue legislation, to protect tens of thousands of companion animals from a grisly death, and to prevent the meat from drugged-up horses from ending up in our grocery stores and cafeterias. Pleasecontact your members of Congress today and urge them to support S. 541 and H.R. 1094.


AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • janwindsong

    I have called both my Senators and my Representative and asked them all to cosponsor, urge the bills through committee, back to the floor and vote for passage to President Obama, who PORMISED he would sign a ban on horse slaughter. Let’s help Pres Obama fulfill his promise. PLEASE for the horses and burros!

    March 13, 2013
  • Daryl

    We need to do a lot of praying, thank goodness some one is trying to help these animals for a change.

    March 13, 2013
  • Excellent article, Jerry!

    March 13, 2013
  • Karen Nowak

    Thank God!

    March 13, 2013
    • Daryl

      I hope this is true on your part, we have hope that slaugher for these animals will stay banned for ever. No one will eat horses meat and get sick or die, horses are not meat.

      March 13, 2013
  • Linda Jackson

    This is THE time to speak of the dystopian 2022 SF future: pollution, human overpopulation, poverty depicted in Soyent Green. Killing and eating horses is too close to cannibalism. What next? Roast Kitty or Fido?

    March 14, 2013