ASPCA Commends Gov. Hochul for Signing Bill to Protect New York Horses from Slaughter

New law expands on an existing state law that protected racehorses by prohibiting the slaughter and selling of all horses for human or animal consumption
December 13, 2023

NEW YORK, NY– The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commends Gov. Kathy Hochul for signing S.2163-B into law to protect New York horses from being sold and transported for slaughter. Championed by Assemblymember Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan) and Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Woodhaven), this legislation was overwhelmingly approved by the New York State Legislature earlier this year, and the new law is set to take effect 120 days from today. 

This measure is a follow-up to a 2021 law enacted by Gov. Hochul, which recognized this practice as fundamentally brutal and inhumane by outlawing the sale or transport of Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses for the purpose of slaughter. This prohibition was an urgently needed first step as most equines bound for slaughter are crammed into crowded trailers without access to food, water, or rest, and many suffer serious injuries or death in transit. Once they arrive at the slaughterhouse, their death is even more gruesome. Due to their biology, horses are difficult to stun effectively, and they frequently require repeated blows and may even remain conscious during dismemberment. However, the original law made it difficult for officers stopping a horse trailer headed to the border to determine what breed each equine was. The enactment of S.2163-B makes the existing law more just and more effective by protecting all horses, not just racehorses.  

“A staggering 83 percent of Americans oppose the slaughter of horses for human consumption and Congress has already acted to shut down slaughterhouses in the U.S., but a legal loophole still allows tens of thousands of American horses to be shipped to Canada and Mexico each year to be slaughtered for their meat,” said Bill Ketzer, senior legislative director for the ASPCA’s Eastern division. “With the enactment of this new law, New York has taken a stand against the cruel, unnecessary, and predatory horse slaughter industry. We’re grateful to Assemblymember Glick and Senator Addabbo for their commitment to ending the transport and slaughter of all horses and we thank Governor Hochul for strengthening the existing law to protect thousands of horses and ensure New York will no longer be a part of the slaughter pipeline.”

ASPCA research shows that 2.3 million Americans have the interest and resources to adopt a horse, demonstrating that there are more than enough homes for the approximately 20,000 American horses who were exported for slaughter last year. This means that every horse who has been sent to slaughter could have had a home waiting, if given the opportunity to find it, or compassionate end-of-life care close to home – a far cry from commercial slaughter. America’s equine adoption community works to match the horses in their care with foster and adoptive families, increasing the number of adoptions every year, but as long as the financial incentive for slaughter exists, it will continue to hamper the lifesaving efforts of rescue and welfare groups to provide humane care to equines.

The horse slaughter industry not only exploits horses who must endure grueling journeys to slaughter plants and an inhumane death, it also harms the broader equine community, including horse owners, riders, and rescues, who fear that their horses will end up in the slaughter pipeline despite their best efforts to keep them safe. Kill buyers – those who buy horses to ship to slaughter in Canada and Mexico – attend auctions and often outbid rescue groups trying to help vulnerable equines. Kill buyers have also been known to pose as good homes in response to ads from horse owners who can no longer care for their animals. Many owners are so fearful that they may even keep their horses beyond the point that they can afford basic care to prevent their animals from being sold to slaughter, causing further suffering. In fact, approximately 75 percent of horse owners surveyed at the ASPCA’s Equine Transition and Adoption Center admit that the threat of horse slaughter played a primary role in delaying relinquishment and seeking care.

The ASPCA is committed to ensuring good welfare for all equines in the U.S. by building programs that support horses and their owners, advocating for stronger laws for these under-protected animals, and reimagining and increasing equine adoption. In addition to supporting efforts to prohibit horse slaughter at the state level, the ASPCA is also advocating for the passage of the Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act (H.R.3475/S.2037), federal legislation that would permanently protect American horses from commercial slaughter by expanding the Dog and Cat Meat Prohibition Act that passed as part of the 2018 Farm Bill to include equines, thereby prohibiting the commercial slaughter of horses in the U.S. and ending their export for that purpose abroad.

For more information about the ASPCA’s work to ban horse slaughter or to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit