Legislators Reintroduce Legislation to End Cruel Method of Horse Transport

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Washington, DC—The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) welcomes the reintroduction of the Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2014, by Representatives Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY). The bill, which prohibits the hauling of horses on livestock trailers containing one level on top of the other, has garnered strong support from the welfare, equine, veterinary and agriculture communities.

“How we treat animals is a direct reflection of our character, both as individuals and as a society,” said Representative Cohen. “When we allow the mistreatment and disrespect of any conscious being, we also devalue our own humanity. Horses cannot be safely or humanely transported in double-deck trailers that are built for much smaller animals, and our laws should reflect that. I am proud to sponsor the Horse Transportation Safety Act to ensure that these beautiful creatures are treated humanely.”

Double-deck livestock trailers on the road today were built to meet the specific design and engineering requirements of short-necked livestock species, like cattle, sheep, and swine. Unfortunately, some irresponsible haulers use these trailers to transport horses, leading to inhumane travel conditions for equines and unsafe roadways for drivers. The American Veterinary Medical Association and the National Agriculture Safety Database have recommended ceiling heights no lower than 7'–8' to transport horses safely, while average double-deck trailer ceiling heights range from 4'7" –5'11". The US Department of Transportation only requires bridges to have a vertical clearance of 14'–16' in rural and urban areas, making it impossible to build or modify a trailer large enough to transport equines on two levels.

“I am pleased to join Representative Cohen in introducing this bipartisan legislation to help the welfare of horses and ensure transportation safety across the United States,” said Representative Whitfield.

"AWI thanks Representative Cohen for reintroducing this important bill with his colleague Representative Whitfield during the 113th Congress," said Chris Heyde, deputy director of government and legal affairs for AWI. "These distinguished members of Congress represent two states that are synonymous with horses and have been tireless in their broad and bipartisan efforts to end practices such as cruel transport, horse slaughter and soring.  AWI looks forward to working with them to halt the use of double-deck trailers for hauling horses."

The Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2014 is necessary to protect horses from being transported across the United States for any reason in a trailer having more than one level. To learn more about this issue or to write a letter to your representative in support of this bill, please visit www.CompassionIndex.org.

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The Animal Welfare Institute (www.awionline.org) is a non-profit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry, and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere—in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates and other important animal protection news.

For More Information Contact:
Chris Heyde, (202) 446-2142, chris@awionline.org