Though there are no US horse slaughter plants currently in operation, killer-buyers continue to purchase horses at auction—transporting them across the border to Canada or Mexico to face an even more brutal death. Recently, a horse owner in northwest Oklahoma contacted the Animal Welfare Institute to report that her two pregnant mares were purchased, by someone who sold them for slaughter.
The owner—a rancher—had encountered financial problems due to recent droughts, as well as family health issues. After much debate, she regretfully agreed to sell her horses to earn some much-needed money. However, she never thought that her beloved animals would be sent to slaughter.
"Nobody that works at the auction barn let me know who was buying," she said. "I found out when I went to the office to ask how to notify the buyers so I could send them the breeding certificates." When the staff hinted that no certificates would be needed, the owner suspected something might be wrong. Though she obtained the phone numbers of the buyers, no one would return her calls.
"I just want my mares back with me, so they can have their babies and be cared for," she said. Sadly, it was too late. The owner sought to repurchase her horses, despite her financial woes, but by the time she located the buyers, the mares had already been sent to Mexico to be slaughtered.
"I read how the horses were killed in Mexico," the owner said. "I just don't understand how the United States would let this happen. I'm just baffled by it all." The public must be baffled as well, considering that a recent national poll found that almost 70 percent of Americans support a federal ban on horse slaughter for human consumption.
The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act must be passed to ensure that US slaughter plants stay closed—and to stop our horses from being transported elsewhere for slaughter. The bill is pending in both chambers of Congress; please contact your legislators to ask for their support today.