ASPCA Testifies Before U.S. House Subcommittee in Support of Federal Legislation 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
May 26, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce held a “Legislative Hearing to Protect Consumers and Strengthen the Economy.” Included on the agenda for this hearing were 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 Subcommittee heard testimony from the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), who testified in support of these 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,” Katie 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. Congress must act swiftly to finally close these loopholes by passing the SAFE Act and PAST Act to keep our equine athletes, work partners, and trusted friends safe.”  

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.

In addition to overwhelming public opposition to horse slaughter, the ASPCA, along with a diverse coalition of equine industry and animal welfare organizations, recently announced the “Final Stretch Alliance to End Horse Slaughter,” a collaborative effort to permanently ban the slaughter of American horses. In an open letter to congressional leaders, the alliance urged federal lawmakers to pass the SAFE Act to ban horse slaughter.

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