Tell Your Legislators to End the Slaughter of American Horses

Tell Your Legislators to End the Slaughter of American Horses - Photo by Ben Hamilton

Dear Humanitarian,

The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R. 113, has been reintroduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Ed Royce (R-CA) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM). Its companion in the Senate, S. 1706, has been reintroduced by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Susan Collins (R-ME). This bill would ban horse slaughter in the United States, while ensuring American horses are not exported out of the country for the same purpose.

AWI has long worked to expose the rampant cruelty and dishonesty of this industry—from what goes on inside the slaughterhouse to the backroom dealings of killer buyers misleading horse owners. Undercover footage and firsthand observations by AWI staff of former US horse slaughter plants revealed horrific suffering: employees whipping horses in the face, horses who flipped over backward and were injured due to rough and abusive handling, and horses remaining conscious while shackled and hoisted by a rear leg to have their throats cut. Documents and photos collected by the USDA from these slaughterhouses show horses with broken bones protruding from their bodies, eyeballs hanging by a thread of skin, and open wounds.

In addition to the terrible abuses, there is another side to this industry that is gaining attention. Horses are not raised for human consumption in the United States and are regularly administered drugs that are expressly prohibited by federal regulations for use in food animals. A June 2014 New York Times article highlighted the plethora of drugs used on race horses—including cobra venom and cocaine—and the resulting food safety threats. In fact, as of January 15, 2015, the European Union banned imports of horse meat from Mexico, after an audit of EU-certified Mexican horse slaughter plants found widespread animal welfare and food safety problems. The report noted that, over the time period examined, 87 percent of the horses slaughtered for human consumption in Mexico for export to the EU came from the United States.

What You Can Do

Email, call or write your US representative today and urge them to cosponsor H.R. 113, while also asking your senator to cosponsor S. 1706, the SAFE Act. Send an email via the Compassion Index or find your representative's contact information here to send them a hand-written note. For more information on horse slaughter and how you can help, visit AWI's website.

Please be sure to share our "Dear Humanitarian" eAlert with family, friends and coworkers, and encourage them to send a message also. As always, thank you very much for your help!


Cathy Liss

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Photo by Ben Hamilton