Press Release

U.S. House Takes Action on Legislation to End the Brutal Butchering of American Equines

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. House executed the second of two hearings this week to address two long-standing animal welfare problems: the slaughter of American horses for overseas markets for human consumption.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee heard testimony on the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R. 961, led by longtime champion U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL).

The Senate companion, S. 2006, was introduced by U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) last year.

“Public opinion stands firmly against the slaughter of American horses. It’s a horrific end and a deep betrayal to an animal that has served us throughout history and stands as a symbol of freedom and our country’s heritage,” said Holly Gann, director of federal affairs at the Animal Wellness Foundation.

“We don’t eat horse meat in America just as we don’t eat dogs and cats,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action before the U.S. House in his testimony this week.“The slaughter of our iconic American equines is cruel and terrifying, and these creatures have done nothing to warrant this kind of mistreatment and crass exploitation.”

The slaughter of American equines for human consumption claimed the lives of around 70,000 horses in 2018 — most of them perfectly healthy and fit to be companions or competitors. Horse slaughter is nothing but cruelty and suffering: The horses are transported long distances without food or water. During the slaughter process itself, these frightened, skittish animals suffer multiple blows to be rendered unconscious. While language has been routinely included in a yearly spending bill to prevent horse slaughter plants from operating in the U.S., the SAFE Act would provide a permanent solution to keep plants shuttered and stop the export of horses across the border for slaughter.

Wild horses are also at risk, as some groups have put forth a dangerous proposal to roundup 130,000 wild horses, which would place these majestic animals in danger of slaughter.

This week, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce’s Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee also heard testimony on the Horseracing Integrity Act, H.R. 1754, that would end the rampant doping of American racehorses.

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.