Press Release

U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Vern Buchanan Introduce SAFE Act to End Horse Slaughter

Bill obtained 219 cosponsors in the 115th Congress

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) reintroduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (HR 961) to end the slaughter of American horses for human consumption. The legislation would prohibit the sale and transport of equines for slaughter, effectively preventing horse slaughter plants from operating in the U.S. and cracking down on the export of horses across the border to Mexico and Canada for this purpose.

Tens of thousands of horses are exported for slaughter each year, and every aspect is fraught with suffering for the horses that fall victim to this predatory industry. “Kill buyers” gather horses to cram into their trucks, usually from auctions or individuals seeking to rehome or sell their horse, and they often misrepresent their true intentions. The horses are then often transported for over 24 hours without food, water, or rest. At the slaughter plant, their suffering may intensify as these terrified animals are known to endure multiple blows to the head in attempts to render them unconscious. Polling shows that public opinion falls solidly in favor of banning the practice.

“Horses have a special place in our nation’s history, and these majestic creatures were not raised as food for humans,” U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky said. “The SAFE Act would prohibit any horse slaughter plant from opening; and also end the sale or transport of horses and horse parts in the U.S. and abroad for the purpose of human consumption. I am proud to reintroduce this bill and work with Congressman Buchanan to put an end to this practice.”

“The horse slaughter industry delivers a series of traumatic events and ends with open-eyed terror for animals that deserve much better from us,” said Holly Gann, Director of Federal Affairs, Animal Wellness Action. “Toxic horse meat is anything but a legitimate American agriculture export. Congress should move quickly to protect our horses.”

“The slaughter of horses for human consumption is a barbaric practice that has no place in America,” U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan said. “I will continue to lead the effort with Congresswoman Schakowsky to ban domestic horse slaughter and end the export of horses abroad for slaughter.”

Horses are not raised as food animals in the U.S., and they receive a number of medications and other drugs that make them unfit for human consumption. The SAFE Act also prevents millions of taxpayer dollars from being wasted to enable plants to operate in the U.S.

U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) intend to introduce a similar bill in the Senate soon.

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) whose mission is to help animals by promoting laws and regulations at federal, state and local levels that forbid cruelty to all animals. The group also works to enforce existing anti-cruelty and wildlife protection laws. Animal Wellness Action believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @AWAction_News

Animal Wellness Foundation is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. We organize rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless pets find a loving caregiver. We are advocates for getting veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promoting responsible pet ownership; and vaccinating animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. We also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and that alleviate suffering. We believe helping animals helps us all.