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U.S. House of Representatives Debate on Ending Horse Slaughter

U.S. House of Representatives Debate on Ending Horse Slaughter

Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representatives met to hold a hearing on the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 961.).

This act, if passed, would provide federal legislation that would permanently ban horse slaughter in the United States. This bill would also put an end to the exportation of American horses to be slaughtered abroad. 

The SAFE Act, which was introduced by Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) currently has 225 House cosponsors.

The SAFE Act is also supported by the ASPCA (the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), the Humane Society of the United States, and Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation. 

Use Of Medications In Horses Bound For Slaughter

One driving force behind the SAFE Act is the use of substances used to treat horses that are banned by the FDA. “Walk into any stable in this country and you’ll find ointments, medications, and other products that are clearly labeled ‘Not to be used on animals intended for human consumption.’

Yet thousands of horses with these toxic chemicals coursing through their veins are shipped to slaughter for that very purpose.” Said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. 

However, a British news source (where the consumption of horse meat is legal) states that a person would have to eat over five hundred horse meat burgers per day before feeling any ill effects from the medications. 

“The process is a terrifying and gruesome end for these companions, as it cannot be done humanely due to their anatomy and flight response.” Block continues. “The fact is American horses should not be on anyone’s dinner menu-here or overseas.” 

Even seemingly harmless products like fly spray and de-wormers are not safe for human contact or consumption.

Though these products are essential for good horse care, they were never meant to be used on horses intended for slaughter.

Herd of wild horses eating hay

Source Of Slaughter Bound Horses

Neda DeMayo, president of Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation says more than 60,000 horses are shipped to slaughter each year, including an unknown number that once previously roamed free on public lands. 

Horses are also sourced for the slaughter pipeline from livestock auctions, where they are purchased by “kill buyers.” These horses were not raised for food, and often times these horses wind up in the hands of kill buyers even when rescues and other horse owners are willing to take them. 

In recent months, horses have been stolen from private facilities to be shipped for slaughter. This is especially becoming more common in the American Southeast, where horse owners are warned to stay alert.  

How to help

It is encouraged to reach out to your Representatives and urge them to cosponsor the SAFE Act. By doing so, they will ensure that the SAFE Act gets passed as swiftly as possible. This will save the lives of thousands of American horses.

Please visit the Return To Freedom Website to send a message to your Representatives about the SAFE Act.

Source: “Press Release: U.S. House Subcommittee Hears Testimony on Bill to Ban Horse Slaughter.” Return to Freedom, 29 Jan. 2020,