ASPCA Commends U.S. House Subcommittee for Passing Federal Bill to Ban Horse Slaughter

The Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act would permanently ban horse slaughter in the U.S. and end the export of American horses for slaughter abroad
June 23, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commended the U.S. House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce for passing two critical equine protection bills: the Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act (H.R.3355), federal legislation that would permanently ban horse slaughter in the U.S. and end the export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (H.R. 5441), which would end the cruel practice of horse soring where chemicals and devices are used to inflict pain on show horses to force an exaggerated, high-stepping gait often referred to as the “Big Lick.” The ASPCA recently testified before the Subcommittee in support of these bipartisan bills.

“Congress voted to ban horse slaughter well over a decade ago by large bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate and acted more than four decades ago to end the cruel practice of horse soring but legal loopholes have allowed American equines to be exported to other countries for slaughter, and horse soring to persist largely due to industry self-policing,” Katlin Kraska, director of federal legislation for the ASPCA. “The ASPCA is committed to ensuring all equines have good welfare and we are working resolutely to provide support for horses in need, but we cannot succeed while the slaughter pipeline remains open because it directly impedes the rehoming of horses. We’re grateful to Chairwoman Schakowsky for her leadership in advancing this bill, and we urge the full Energy & Commerce Committee to swiftly pass the SAFE Act to finally end this shameful chapter in American history and provide protections to American horses and the people who love them.”  

Despite congressional efforts that have effectively blocked the operation of horse slaughterhouses on U.S. soil since 2007, tens of thousands of American horses continue to be shipped to Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses that supply other countries with horsemeat. The slaughter industry will only be stopped if Congress acts, and when they do, research published in 2017 reveals that 2.3 million Americans have both the strong interest and resources to adopt a horse. Compare this figure to the approximately 23,000 horses who were exported for slaughter last year – and trending even lower this year – there will be homes and good care for these horses for decades. With the equine industry and horse shelters working together to increase adoptions and provide safety net programs to help keep horses in homes, there are ample options for horses in need. It is past time to shut the door on slaughter for the sake of horses, owners, and the equine industry’s well-being. 

A recent national poll revealed that 83 percent of Americans oppose the slaughter of horses for human consumption and through the ASPCA’s Equine Transition and Adoption Center work in Texas and Oklahoma, nearly 75 percent of horse owners indicated that a fear of slaughter caused them to hold on to their horse longer than expected, underscoring how slaughter gets in the way of providing good welfare. 

The SAFE Act is supported by more than half of the U.S. House of Representatives, which means it would pass if brought up for a floor vote. The bill must now be approved by the House Energy & Commerce Committee before it can go to the House floor for a vote. 

For more information about the ASPCA’s efforts to protect horses from slaughter, please visit