This fall, digital billboards in New York City’s Times Square have alerted throngs of tourists about the need to spare horses from slaughter and protect the wild horses that still roam our public lands.
Those Return to Freedom billboards and more like them coming to other cities — thanks to a dedicated, horse-loving supporter — are just part of the work RTF is doing to end horse slaughter and protect the future of wild horses roaming freely in the West.
Ours is the only wild horse organization lobbying lawmakers daily on both the horse slaughter and wild horse issues. Our lobbyist, Chris Heyde, wrote the bill that began the congressional effort to end horse slaughter 18 years ago.
In the time since then, the last slaughter plant in the United States has closed. Sadly, the export of America’s horses – including an unknown number that once roamed freely – continues. This year, more than 46,000 horses have already been trucked to Mexico or Canada for slaughter. Though the numbers sent to foreign slaughterhouses has dropped dramatically over time, even one horse is too many.
There are reasons for cautious optimism: In the House of Representatives, 215 cosponsors are backing the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R. 961, which would permanently ban slaughter and the transport of horses for purposes of slaughter.
That’s three cosponsors shy of a majority, but it will take more support for the bill to make it out of the Energy & Commerce and Agriculture Committees. A total of 290 cosponsors would result in an automatic vote on the House floor. Until we reach that number, we must continue to fight on and off Capitol Hill every day.
In the Senate, we’re working hard to move S. 2006, the John String Rainey SAFE Act, out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to which the bill has been assigned because the Senate version would criminalize slaughter. The committee’s chair, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, is a longtime champion of horses.
Please help us send a clear message to Washington: It’s time for the killing to end.