Equine Industry and Animal Welfare Orgs Team Up to Ban Horse Slaughter

December 28, 2023

A brown horse with a white spot on its forehead

The overwhelming majority of Americans strongly oppose horse slaughter, yet thousands of American horses continue to be shipped to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico each year to supply other countries with horse meat. 

A number of states, most recently New York, have passed laws to ban the transport and slaughter of horses, and equine adoption is gaining popularity to save horses from this grim fate. These solutions are critical, but they aren’t enough. Until a federal law shuts down the country’s slaughter pipeline, no horse, no matter how beloved or valued, will be truly safe.

Congress has the power to pass the Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act (U.S. H.R. 3475/S. 2037) in 2024 to protect our equine athletes, work partners and trusted friends. The SAFE Act is a federal bill that would permanently ban horse slaughter in the U.S. and end the export of American horses for slaughter in other countries. 

Full Speed Ahead

The SAFE Act can advance through Congress on its own, or legislators can include its language in the Farm Bill—a massive piece of legislation that can cover a host of issues, including animal welfare and export programs/trade, which Congress must enact roughly every five years. Passing through either channel would be a monumental victory for horses.

On December 19, a diverse group of equine industry and animal welfare organizations, known as the “Final Stretch Alliance to End Horse Slaughter,” sent an open letter [PDF] to House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders urging them to include the SAFE Act in the Farm Bill.

The supporting members of the Final Stretch Alliance include: The Jockey Club, the U.S. Trotting Association, the Stronach Group, the Breeders’ Cup, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, the Jockey’s Guild, the New York Racing Association, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the Animal Welfare Institute, the Humane Society of the United States, and others.

The open letter explains how, despite robust, innovative partnerships between equine industry and welfare groups to support horses transitioning between careers, the looming threat of the horse slaughter pipeline continues to significantly harm industry, enthusiasts and adoption organizations.

Days before, the SAFE Act’s sponsors Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)—joined by a strong bipartisan group of cosponsors—sent their own open letter [PDF] to the House Agriculture Committee with the same urgent request to help pass the SAFE Act and support its inclusion in the Farm Bill. Reps. Buchanan and Schakowsky have continuously championed new and innovative strategies to ensure the SAFE Act becomes law, standing with the overwhelming 83% of American voters who want to ban horse slaughter.

Efforts to permanently end horse slaughter have seen significant bipartisan support in recent years, and it is time to pass the SAFE Act. You can help! Please use our easy online form to email your members of Congress urging them to take immediate action on the SAFE Act.