The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (H.R. 503/S. 727) now has more than 140 cosponsors in the House and nearly a quarter of the Senate on board. The bill recognizes horse slaughter as animal cruelty and contains strong penalties and enforcement provisions to outlaw the slaughter of American horses for human consumption, both domestically and abroad.
While no horse slaughterhouses currently operate in the US (the three remaining plants were shut down in 2007 under state law), more than 100,000 horses continue to be hauled to Canada and Mexico each year, where they are butchered. Most slaughter-bound horses are healthy, sound, adoptable animals, as documented in Homestretch, a film by Sheri Bylander.
Screened at a Congressional reception hosted by AWI in May, Homestretch shows the merits of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s therapeutic program, which pairs rescued race horses once bound for slaughter with hardened prisoners, much to the benefit of both. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.), sponsor of S. 727, spoke at the film’s screening and urged her colleagues to join her in ending horse slaughter.