The 2007 shuttering of the last horse slaughterhouse in the United States has done nothing to keep American horses and burros from foreign killing floors or decrease the risk to human health from eating horse meat.

An average of 127,000 horses were trucked to their deaths in Mexico and Canada from 2008-2015, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Once beyond our borders and the USDA regulations, horses can face brutal and terrifying deaths in antiquated facilities.

The Obama administration has effectively banned horse slaughter by defunding USDA inspector positions needed to conduct legally required inspections. No lasting ban on horse slaughter has been signed into law, however.

Should federal meat inspector funding be reinstated, protections for horses would be poor at best. Some states, like California and Texas, have horse slaughter and horse meat sale bans, but others require only that horse meat be labeled.

And while the American public has shown no taste for horse meat and in surveys expresses strong opposition to the slaughter of horses, a number of companies have applied to open slaughterhouses in recent years in order to meet demand in countries that include Mexico, Japan, France, and Belgium.

Because American horses are not raised to be eaten, they frequently are given medications banned for human consumption by the USDA and European Union.

No regulations require the sharing of information about substances previously ingested by a horse up for auction. There, horses are often purchased by “kill” buyers with the intent on sending them to slaughter.

More than 90 percent of these exported horses are in “good” condition, according to the USDA.

You can help spare American horses by joining Return to Freedom in demanding that Congress pass the bipartisan Safeguard American Foods Act (HR 113 / S. 1706).

This legislation would amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to deem horses and other members of the equidae family an unsafe food additive or animal drug. The SAFE Act would also ban the knowing sale or transport of equines or equine parts in interstate or foreign commerce for purposes of human consumption.

Doing so will reduce health risks to human beings and prevent the needless suffering of horses.

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