Victory! Congress Says Nay to Horse Slaughter in the U.S.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 4:45pm
Black and white horse

UPDATEThursday, Jan. 16, 7:30 P.M. Wonderful news! The U.S. Senate has just passed the FY2014 spending bill with the horse slaughter funding-limitation language intact. The president is expected to sign the bill by the end of the week. This means that no horse slaughter facilities will be permitted to open in the U.S. for the 2014 fiscal year. Congratulations and thanks are due to all our amazing animal advocates, who helped secure this victory.


The U.S. House of Representatives has just passed the federal government’s FY2014 spending bill, which contains language expressly prohibiting the use of tax dollars to inspect facilities that slaughter horses for human consumption. The massive funding bill is expected to pass the U.S. Senate and be signed into law by President Obama later this week, ushering in a ban on domestic horse slaughter nationwide.

“The message from Capitol Hill is loud and clear on this issue: Our horses deserve better and this abhorrent industry will not be tolerated,” says Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations. “We thank the members of the House for recognizing that using taxpayer dollars to fund the inhumane horse slaughter industry is reckless and wasteful, and urge the Senate to quickly pass this bill.”

In response to overwhelming public opposition to horse slaughter, Congress enacted a similar spending prohibition each year for FY2006 through FY2011. However, it failed to include the prohibition language in the FY2012 budget, opening the door for this gruesome practice to return to U.S. soil.

While the proposed FY2014 spending bill will protect American communities from the devastating environmental and economic impacts of horse slaughter facilities, it will not prohibit the transport of U.S. horses for slaughter across the border to Canada and Mexico. Last year, more than 160,000 American horses were victims of this grisly, foreign industry that produces unsafe, drug-tainted meat.

We can end this horror by passing the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (S. 541/H.R. 1094)—bipartisan legislation that would permanently end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat.

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Folks have no idea of what is happening when times get rough. I know of a local auction where folks would bring their horse to sell, and while they are inside the auction house selling their horse, they come out to find someone tied another unknown horse to their horse trailer or someone put a horse in their horse trailer and left. Folks don't know what to do with them when they are stuck with them. And it is costly to put down a horse and dispose of a horse, especially if it is illegal to bury on private property. Something has to be figured out, many horses are starving too. Starving is very painful way to go for any critter.


I think most folks do know about rough times - maybe not when it comes to horses, but so many of us are experiencing it. It's still no excuse to dump off a living being who trusts you and has done his best to do everything you ask of him.
If a person feels they can't afford a vet and disposal of the body, they should get on their smartphone and find the nearest rendering plant - for a smaller fee than a vet, they will put a horse down quickly and humanely by shooting, and haul off the body. For even less of a fee, you can trailer your horse to their site and hold him while it is done. If you have a zoo or large cat predator sanctuary in your area, sometimes they will have a person who can humanely put down a horse to provide meat to their animals.
All this is better than the system of: auction, to kill buyer, to long-distance trailer with no food or water, to Mexico, to a stab in the neck, to hopefully being dead when hung up on a hook. Or, if the USA slaughter plants were legal: auction, kill-buyer, a few hours less in a long-distance trailer but still enough to be hungry and thirsty and scared, herded into the factory death place with whips and electric prods, death (hopefully) by a bolt in the hands of an inexperienced person, hopefully being dead when hung on the hook but less likely because our slaughterhouses are so much more efficient than those in Mexico.


I empathize with your point of view, but no, slaughter is NOT the only compassionate thing we can do for unwanted horses. First of all, what caused all these unwanted horses? It was not closing the slaughterhouses, it was a cascade of the economy crashing, feed prices skyrocketing, and clueless people continuing to breed their horses in spite of no demand. Even with the horse economy being so depressed, the owners you speak of have no excuse to quit feeding them and hide them away in a stall to starve - that is just plain cruelty. Opening up slaughterhouses again would just give people like this an excuse to continue breeding, since they could still get $50 for a badly bred, unhandled, wormy colt.
The fact that the 30 horses in your care are unrideable and unfriendly just proves my point - they were bred indiscriminately, with no plans for whether the results would be healthy and sound, then once they were born they were never handled or trained.
That said, I WOULD support putting horses down for their meat, if it could be done as humanely as it is done in the UK. There, they have various "knackers" usually one is within a day's trailer ride, where you bring your horse to be put down with a bullet to the head by an experienced person who can do it quickly without suffering. You are there to hold your horse, and they are done one at a time, instead of being crowded into a death factory with whips and cattle prods. I consider this system like a euthanasia as it is done by a vet, except the animal can then be eaten. I wish all animals, whether or not their bodies will go on to provide food, could go in a similar way instead of the factory-like slaughter that is done today.
I wish the USA had a system like they do in Europe, where the breed registries require every horse to have a passport. That way, every horse who falls into a cruel situation could be tracked, and poor breeders would be forced out of business.


Well these are intelligent thoughts for sure and maybe the USA folks can look into how the UK does this also, and or make more services known for a local company to help. I am not apposed to a horse being put down with a gun if done correctly, our Vet's tell us it is a humane way to put them down and I have learned they also do this from time to time themselves. Only other thing is most folks might feel badly to put a horse down and instead toss them into the auction with high hopes they don't end up at the slaughter houses. Plus I don't know if a Vet will come to a farm and put a healthy horse down because of economic reasons or a horse cannot be handled or is unfriendly (be nice to hear from a Vet here). I also do not know if all areas in this country have services to put a horse down and dispose the bodies reasonably? I do know of one company that does this for approx. $200-$300 (it used to be $100) which is not a ton of money for the area it is located in, but afraid some folks might not know about this or would shell that kind of money out.


This might answer your question if a Vet can put an unwanted healthy horse down due to economic reasons. Just reading this and knowing how many unwanted horses are out there being neglected might just make it really bad on abused unwanted horses that folks don't know what to do with. A few paragraphs down explains what Ethics a Vet goes by and about a gun that a Vet might use and why. But I would say to folks let a Vet put your horse down incase you don't do it correctly-could be dangerous.

John Burridge

The language of the article strikes me as a bit strange and sounds like a typical government waffle -- "prohibit the use of tax dollars to inspect horse slaughter faciliities" is not the same as "prohibit horse slaughter facilities" an implies that there are horse slaughter facilities in the United States but that now they will not be inspected. Can some of the lawyers among you clear this up?


John---someone in prior posts here said if they prohibit these inspections they cannot open period. So I assume that is how it goes? But that was my thought exactly also--- before someone explained. If true?

Karen Parish

Hooray, hooray! I'm near tears. Problems remain but the vote says we in this country value the welfare of the horse--at least, to the extent that horses will not experience the terror and cruelty of slaughter here.I thank everyone who helped with this vote. For the future, people need to learn the condition animals are subjected to without our care. Many people do not know, altho more are aware and caring than before. But we, as a society, need to accept responsibility for any or every animal in need since we long ago took away their ability to care for themselves. We could start with a coordinated effort of the many different groups now doing all the good they can.


Although I do think it is DISGUSTING and cruel, I am in school for Animal Science and know that this only means horses will continue to be slaughtered in unapproved, unsanitary conditions in other places, like MEXICO. Yes that's right- once horse slaughter was banned in the US do you really think it stopped? Of course not. Now horses are simply slaughtered in places like Mexico where they are probably treated horrendously. If we had allowed it to be legalized in the states horses would be kept for in the same law regulated fashion as we slaughter any animals in the US. I am not sure this is a victory, sorry