Fighting to Keep Our Horses SAFE

January 30, 2020


  • Federal bill to ban horse slaughter gets major House hearing.
  • The ASPCA’s Nancy Perry provided expert testimony in support of the bill.
  • American horses are never raised for meat. Horse slaughter is strongly opposed by the vast majority of Americans, and horse meat is unsafe to eat.
  • We need animal lovers to continue to reach out to their members of Congress in support of the SAFE Act.

The U.S. House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee has taken a major step forward to protect our nation’s equines. Yesterday, the Health Subcommittee of the E&C Committee held a hearing on the Safeguard American Food Exports Act, H.R. 961, which would permanently ban the slaughter of American horses domestically or abroad. This hearing is the first step toward the bill becoming law.

Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of Government Relations for the ASPCA, spoke in strong and clear support for the SAFE Act, noting the unavoidable suffering that the horse slaughter industry causes to horses and their owners and emphasizing the serious health risk that American horse meat poses to our food supply.

“The ASPCA believes horse slaughter presents serious food safety concerns and is a primary obstacle to achieving equine welfare by interfering with and depriving horses of good homes. It is itself a form of serious equine cruelty,” said Perry.

We greatly appreciate Chair Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Ranking Member Michael Burgess (R-TX) for bringing this bill before the subcommittee, and we thank Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), who lead the bill, for ensuring that Congress takes action on legislation that animal advocates, veterinarians, equestrians and equine rescuers have worked tirelessly to pass for so many years.

Raised as athletes, workers or trusted friends, these beautiful animals live on ranches, in backyards, on racetracks or in show barns. None of their caretakers intend or imagine that these animals would end up on anyone’s dinner plate. Since they aren’t raised for food, these animals are routinely given various drugs and substances that are expressly banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use at any point on animals meant for human consumption. Despite the ban on these substances, and knowledge that virtually all horses receive them, in 2019 the U.S. exported approximately 62,000 equines for slaughter for human consumption. There is a positive downward trend in the annual number of equines exported for slaughter, thanks to the hard work of equine rescues combined with growing rehoming and shelter options across the country, but we know the only permanent way to stop the inhumane horse slaughter industry is through powerful legislation like the SAFE Act.

While Congress recognizes the problems with horse slaughter and supports a yearly bipartisan domestic ban, these animals still end up at foreign slaughterhouses. We must end this ghastly practice and will continue to press on until the SAFE Act finally becomes law—but we need your help. Please speak up on behalf of our nation’s horses by urging your U.S. representative and senators to support the SAFE Act.