ASPCA Commends House Committee Vote to Prohibit Horse Slaughter in America

Appropriations bill will prevent horse slaughter operations from opening in the U.S. for FY2017 by eliminating funding for horse slaughter inspections
April 19, 2016

WASHINGTON—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today commends the members of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee for approving an anti-horse slaughter amendment to its fiscal year 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill. The amendment will prevent the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from using taxpayer dollars to inspect horse slaughter facilities, which is a requirement for their operation. The Farr-Dent Amendment, introduced by Reps. Sam Farr (D-CA) and Charlie Dent (R-PA), was passed in the full committee by a bipartisan vote and will effectively continue a ban on the gruesome horse slaughter industry on U.S. soil.

“Horse slaughter is inherently cruel, environmentally and economically devastating to local communities and unsafe for foreign consumers,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “Eighty percent of American voters oppose the slaughter of horses for human consumption and the ASPCA thanks the House Appropriations Committee for recognizing that it is irresponsible and wasteful to use taxpayer dollars to fund this brutal practice. We are grateful to Representatives Farr and Dent for introducing this amendment to ensure this grisly industry does not establish itself in the U.S.”

“Horse slaughter cannot be done in a safe or humane way,” said Rep. Farr. “This amendment prevents the cruel treatment of horses while protecting all consumers from unsafe meat. Horses are routinely treated with drugs not approved to be used in animals raised for meat. Continuing the ban prevents those chemicals from entering our food supply.”

“This is an issue which is near to my heart. Horse slaughter is wrong, it is inhumane, and it is overwhelmingly opposed by my constituents and by people across the country,” said Rep. Dent. “We won a truly notable victory today with the passage of this amendment.”

A recent Edge Research poll commissioned by the ASPCA shows that 2.3 million Americans have adequate space, resources, and strong interest in adopting horses. This new data suggests that there are more than enough homes available for the 125,000 American horses shipped to Canada and Mexico last year to be slaughtered for human consumption. The majority of these horses – 92 percent, according to the USDA – are young, healthy animals who could otherwise go on to lead productive lives with loving owners. Whether slaughter occurs in the U.S. or abroad, the methods used to slaughter horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as horses are difficult to stun and often remain conscious during their butchering and dismemberment. In addition, meat from American horses is unsafe for human consumption since horses are not raised as food animals. They are routinely given medications and other substances that are toxic to humans and are expressly forbidden by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in animals intended for human consumption.

Last year, Congress renewed the ban on the use of tax dollars for inspections of horse slaughterhouses, prohibiting the horse slaughter industry from operating anywhere in the U.S. in FY 2016. The ban expires in September, opening the door for the possible return of horse slaughter in the U.S. This makes the approval of the FY 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill a vital first step toward preventing the opening of horse slaughter plants in this country.

While the Farr-Dent Amendment prevents slaughterhouses from opening on U.S. soil, it is not a permanent solution and cannot prohibit the current transport of U.S. horses from being trucked to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. To address this issue, Reps. Frank Guinta (R-NH), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 1942/S. 1214)—legislation that would end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat.

To learn more about the ASPCA’s efforts to ensure animals have greater protection under the law, please visit