Horse Sense Prevails: House Committee Approves Bill with Ban on Double-Deck Trailer Transport

Friday, February 3, 2012

Washington, D.C. -- The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) is pleased to report that the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, H.R. 7, approved earlier today by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee includes a prohibition on the hauling of horses via double-deck trailers. The move to incorporate this prohibition within the larger transportation bill was strongly supported by AWI and championed by Representative Andy Harris (R-MD) and Committee Ranking Member, Nick Rahall (D-WV). The entire bill now goes before the full House of Representatives for a vote.

While the overall transportation bill is by no means an unqualified success and contains many unsavory elements from an animal welfare perspective, final passage of this ban on double-deck transport in interstate commerce would represent a clear and important victory for horse protection. AWI has long fought to have this inhumane practice outlawed, and in the present instance AWI worked to fend off a last-minute attempt by committee member Representative Rick Crawford (R-AR) to amend the bill so as to strip out the double-deck transport ban.

Chris Heyde, Deputy Director of Government and Legal Affairs for AWI, said, "We are very pleased that this ban has been approved by the House Committee. For far too long, unscrupulous individuals have been legally permitted to pack horses into dangerously cramped trailers with ceilings so low that horses are unable to stand properly. The horses are hauled on long-distance journeys that very often cause serious injuries and even deaths. Today, thanks to Representatives Harris and Rahall along with others on the Committee, we moved one step closer to putting an end to this inhumane and utterly unnecessary practice."

Equine rescue, advocacy, and professional organizations including the American Veterinary Medical Association, National Black Farmers Association, and Veterinarians for Equine Welfare support a ban on double-deck transport of horses. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has expressed opposition to double-deck hauling of horses, stating that, "We do not believe that equines can be safely and humanely transported on a conveyance that has an animal cargo space divided into two or more stacked levels."(9 CFR Parts 70 and 88). In fact, the USDA has prohibited using these trailers for transporting horses to slaughter, but its rule doesn't cover horses being transported for other purposes. All horses, regardless of where they are going, deserve this important precaution, and the language included in the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act will provide it.

##30##

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