Legislators Should Seize Opportunity to Help Equines as 116th Congress Comes to an End

December 2, 2020


After a long election season, Congress has returned to an overflowing plate of priorities in Washington—with attention to COVID-19 relief legislation and bills to fund the government. There are many equine issues still in play that could help countless horses, and we need your help to push some of them across the finish line. Here’s an overview:

Horse Slaughter:

  • The FY 2021 U.S. Department of Agriculture spending bill recently released by the U.S. Senate failed to include a critical provision that would prevent the horse slaughter industry from operating on American soil.
  • Thankfully, due to our collective work, the U.S. House included this provision in its version of the bill, so there’s still a chance to include this language in the spending bills before final passage. 
  • We are hopeful that this essential provision will be included in the final law—thanks to the strong, bipartisan leadership of equine champions Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL),Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and John Katko (R-NY), as well as Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), along with broad support from other members of Congress.
  • You can take action right now by letting Congress know that you want to keep horse slaughter out of the United States!

Wild Horses and Burros:

  • In their version of the FY 2021 spending bills, the U.S. Senate included an additional $14-15 million for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Program, directed towards a non-lethal management strategy.
  • Though this is only a small step on the long road towards a sustainable program, we are encouraged by Congress’s continued focus on and support for this important issue. 
  • Lawmakers led by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) urged that $11 million of the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro budget be directed towards the implementation of safe and humane immunocontraceptive vaccines. The ASPCA strongly supports this effort—it is a positive sign from Congress that demonstrates we are on the right track to make real reform for wild horses and burros.
  • The BLM recently announced a misguided plan to implement largely untested surgical procedures on wild mares.
  • Equine protection advocates Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), along with a number of their congressional colleagues and with our support, urged [PDF] the U.S. Department of Interior to abandon this plan and instead direct resources towards fertility control methods proven to be safe and humane.

Horse Soring:

  • The ASPCA-endorsed Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act overwhelmingly passed in the U.S. House earlier this year!
  • We hope a new administration will advance needed regulations that will better protect show horses from abuse.
  • The bad news: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and the TN Walking Horse industry have conspired to craft language that would weaken the already dismal protections in place and prevent good regulatory measures from being instituted next year.
  • Many equine industry groups, animal welfare groups and veterinarians are united [PDF] in opposition to this proposed legislation.
  • Tell your member of Congress you want real protections for show horses!

Horse Racing:

  • The Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act—a revised version of the ASPCA-endorsed Horse Racing Integrity Act—recently passed in the U.S. House and is expected to receive a vote in the U.S. Senate before the end of the year!

If you’re interested in doing more for horses, you can join the ASPCA Horse Action Team (HAT) or our Regional Advocacy Field Team (RAFT).