ASPCA Commends Senate Committee Vote to Prohibit Horse Slaughter in America

Appropriations bill will ban funding for horse slaughter inspections, effectively preventing horse slaughter from resuming in the U.S. for one year
July 20, 2017

WASHINGTON—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today commends the members of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee for passing an anti-horse slaughter amendment in its fiscal year 2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill. The amendment will prevent the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from using taxpayer dollars to inspect horse slaughter facilities. The Udall-Graham Amendment, introduced by Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), was passed in the full committee by a bipartisan vote and would effectively continue a ban on the gruesome horse slaughter industry on U.S. soil.

“The ASPCA commends the Senate Appropriations Committee for listening to the 80 percent of American voters who oppose the brutal practice of slaughtering horses for their meat,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “Last week, the House Appropriations Committee failed to pass a similar amendment by just two votes, putting American horses at risk, but thanks to the strong leadership of Senators Udall and Graham the longstanding ban on horse slaughter will continue, ensuring that this cruel, unnecessary and predatory industry does not return to our country.”

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. The majority of horses killed for human consumption are healthy animals who could otherwise go on to lead productive lives with loving owners. 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.

While the Udall-Graham amendment prevents slaughterhouses from opening on U.S. soil for another year, it does not prohibit the current transport of more than 100,000 U.S. horses from being trucked to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico each year. To address this issue, Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Ed Royce (R-CA), and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 113)—legislation that would end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat.

The approval of the Udall-Graham Amendment is a positive first step to protecting horses from slaughter, but America’s wild horses are also facing threats in the FY2018 Interior Appropriations bill. The Department of Interior is charged with protecting and responsibly managing America’s wild horse population, but the agency’s FY18 budget request would do the exact opposite, authorizing the wholesale killing of tens of thousands of healthy wild horses and burros. To learn more about the ASPCA’s efforts to protect horses, please visit