Let’s Ban Horse Slaughter Once and for All: Congress Should Pass the SAFE Act of 2021

May 19, 2021


  • The cruel horse slaughter industry preys on horses, their owners and people who care about them. 
  • Every horse in this country, no matter how loved, is just one bad sale away from slaughter. 
  • The ASPCA strongly supports the Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act (H.R. 3355)—federal legislation that would prevent the horse slaughter industry from reestablishing operations in the U.S. and prohibit the export of American horses for slaughter.
  • We urge policymakers to support and cosponsor the SAFE Act of 2021.

As we enter the final stretch of Triple Crown season, Congress is turning its attention to equine protection. Today, Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) introduced the Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act of 2021 (H.R. 3355), marking two decades of robust and bipartisan advocacy to end the commercial slaughter of American horses.   

Horse slaughter is not only terrifying for horses, it also instills fear in American horse owners who know that their beloved equine partner might be only one bad sale away from the clutches of a “kill buyer” (a person who obtains horses for quick resale to foreign slaughterhouses). Many who are struggling to care for their horses choose not to rehome them for fear the animal will wind up in the slaughter pipeline. That fear is warranted—kill buyers often respond to “for sale” ads, posing as providers of good homes. Horses are even stolen from their stalls or paddocks by criminals looking to make a quick sale to a kill buyer. Closing this legal loophole is imperative to end such incentives.

Americans across the political spectrum oppose horse slaughter. Many equine-related industries and interest groups have taken positions against horse slaughter: The Jockey Club, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the U.S. Trotting Association and the Pennsylvania Breeder’s Association, among others, support the SAFE Act.

May is Adopt a Horse Month, and our research confirms that more equine adoptions are possible because homes for these horses are available. In fact, survey results published in 2017 revealed that 2.3 million adults in the U.S. have both the desire and resources to immediately adopt a horse. This means that there were more than enough homes for the approximately 35,000 American horses who went over our borders to slaughter last year (and many years to come)—if only they had been given the opportunities to find them. The ASPCA is helping by directing vast resources into massively increasing horse adoption nationwide.

Passing the SAFE Act will give all horses a chance to find loving homes. Please contact your lawmakers now and urge them to support and cosponsor the SAFE Act of 2021.