Press release: Schakowsky, Buchanan introduce bill to ban horse slaughter

/ In The News, News
Photo taken at RTF’s Lompoc, Calif., headquarters sanctuary by Tony Stromberg.

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) introduced the Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act of 2021. This bipartisan legislation would permanently ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the United States as well as prohibit the export of live horses to Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses to be sold overseas. The SAFE Act has been endorsed by the ASPCA, Animal Welfare Institute, The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society Legislative Fund, Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation.

“For centuries, horses have embodied the spirit of American freedom and pride. They are our companions, work partners, entertainers, and athletes. With such a special place in our nation’s history it’s beyond time that we end the brutal practice of slaughtering these majestic creatures as food for humans. I am proud to reintroduce the SAFE Act with Congressman Buchanan and offer legislation that will finally close a loophole to end the slaughter of American horses for human consumption, both domestically and abroad,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky.

“The slaughter of horses for human consumption is a barbaric practice that has no place in America,” Congressman Buchanan said. “I look forward to continuing to lead the effort with Congresswoman Schakowsky to ban domestic horse slaughter and end the export of horses abroad for the same purpose.” 

“The ASPCA is working resolutely to solve equine welfare issues on the ground, but we cannot fully succeed while the slaughter pipeline remains open,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of Government Relations for the ASPCA. “An overwhelming majority of Americans oppose horse slaughter for human consumption and with May being Adopt a Horse Month, there is no better time than now to support at-risk horses by prohibiting this unnecessary and cruel practice. We are grateful to Representatives Schakowsky and Buchanan for their steadfast commitment to protecting our horses and we urge Congress to pass the SAFE Act to finally end this abhorrent practice.”

“Only nine years ago, 160,000 American horses were exported abroad for slaughter. Due to awareness of this inhumane and predatory industry, that number has dropped dramatically with only 37,249 shipped to slaughter in 2020. But one horse is still too many,” stated Sara Amundson, President of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “ Fortunately, Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) have committed to passing this crucial animal and consumer protection bill which will end this grisly industry and protect these American icons from those who profit off their deaths.”

“Each year, a huge number of American horses are shipped to foreign slaughterhouses to be butchered under shockingly inhumane conditions,” said Cathy Liss, president of the Animal Welfare Institute. “Some are former racehorses who have been recently dosed with drugs considered unsafe for human consumption. The SAFE Act would ensure that both horses and people are protected. We are grateful to Congresswoman Schakowsky and Congressman Buchanan for their dedication to ending the slaughter of horses for human consumption,” said Cathy Liss, President, Animal Welfare Institute.

“We’re grateful that Reps. Schakowsky and Buchanan have heard the overwhelming opposition of the American people to horse slaughter,” said Neda DeMayo, founder of Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation. “Wild horses that once roamed freely on our public lands, pets, race horses, work horses — no American horse deserves to be shipped to an inhumane death in a foreign slaughterhouse. The national effort to end this practice began in Congress 20 years ago so we call on everyone to join in ending this once and for all.”

Although slaughter of horses for human consumption is currently illegal in the United States, the ban is temporary and subject to annual congressional review. No federal law exists to prohibit the transport of horses across American borders for slaughter in Canada or Mexico. More than 100,000 American horses are exported to Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Those horses are butchered and then transported overseas for consumption in Japan, Italy and other countries. More than 90 percent of these horses were healthy and in good condition.