Great news! A bill to ban horse slaughter has been introduced in the United States Senate by Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Senator John Ensign (R-NV). The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (S. 727) will end the slaughter of American horses here and abroad. Please take a moment to contact your Senators and ask them to cosponsor this vital legislation.
The fight for horses is not over! To stay on top of the latest legislation to ban (or legalize) horse slaughter in the U.S. go to our "Latest Updates" page. To find out more about what you can do to help horses, click here.
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The American tradition of loving and respecting horses existed long before there was a United States. Americans counted on horses to build this nation; to plow the fields and to carrying soldiers to battle. Horses are for many people part of their family, and they are considered to be companion animals, just as dogs and cats are.
Unfortunately, not everyone in the United States is willing to give the horse the respect it deserves. There are those who are willing to see horses killed for profit, and that is who this website seeks to expose. Horse slaughter proponents claim to care about horses, but the facts and the video footage tell a very different story.
An Overview of Horse Slaughter
Horse slaughter has existed in the shadows for many years. In the past, horse slaughterhouses killed their victims in relative obscurity in numerous locations throughout the United States. As concern for the well being of animals has grown in recent years, horse slaughter has come under increasing scrutiny. By 2002, the United States had rid itself of the shame of horse slaughter in every state except one – Texas.
To the credit of Texans, the Texas Attorney General issued an opinion that those slaughterhouses violated Texas law, and a bill that would have legalized horse slaughter failed due to pressure from voters. A majority of Americans including Texans oppose horse slaughter, and they find the idea of eating horsemeat to be repugnant. Even in Texas, a state considered by many to be unfriendly to animals, horse killers were told to "take a hike."
Not surprisingly, the horse killers didn't care about the Texas Attorney General's opinion, the opinion of Texas voters or about the cultural respect Americans have for horses. The horse killers received a federal court order that allowed them to continue to kill horses for the time being, in spite of the will of the people. But with the writing on the wall in Texas, the horse killers knew they had to find another state willing to take on the dubious title of "Horse Killing Capitol of the US." Now it is Illinois, the "Land of Lincoln," where the horse killers hope to continue their violent and bloody massacre.
Doomed horses are lined up for cruel termination. The last hours of these intelligent animals are filled with dread as they experience the noise, smell and sight of death.
US Slaughter Plants are finally CLOSED, but slaughter remains an issue!
US Plants are no more!
State level legislation has shut down the slaughter plants in Illinois and Texas, but horses are still being shipped by truck and by boat outside of the USA for slaughter in Canada, Mexico, and Japan. It's more important now than ever to pass a federal law protecting our horses from slaughter for human consumption!
Who eats horsemeat?
The biggest consumers of horsemeat are France, Italy, Belgium, and Japan. Horsemeat, considered a delicacy, is used as an alternative to beef. This hurts the US beef industry. Japan regulates the amount of American beef imported into the country, but these regulations are not imposed on American horse meat. Eating horses has never been an accepted part of American culture.
What kind of horses are slaughtered?
No horse is safe from slaughter. Children's ponies, show horses, family horses, retired show horses, or horses from families who just can't afford them any longer are all at risk of being slaughtered for human consumption. Stolen horses also often end up at slaughter houses. Slaughter is an easy way for a horse thief to make a quick $300-700 on a stolen horse and the evidence is destroyed. 90% of horses slaughtered for human cosumption are young, healthy, sound horses who deserve a better life.
What's the big deal anyway?
Both the transport of horses to slaughter and the slaughter itself is inhumane. Equipment used in the transport of horses to slaughter is designed for cows. Horses often end up trampled and injured, even dead, while being transported 24 hours or more with no food, water, or rest. The equipment used to stun the horse before being slaughtered is also made for cows. Horses are often slaughtered while still consciously alive (2,500 or more horses met their fate this way last year alone).
What can you do?
Contact your members of Congress and ask them to support The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. This bill will stop horse slaughter for human consumption in the USA as well as the transport and sale of horses across our borders for the purpose of slaughter for human consumption. Ask your Representative to become an original co-sponsor of this bill and help end the suffering of American horses to feed wealthy Europeans and Japanese. The 109th congressional session is over. HR 503, the 2005-2006 bill, did not pass. It will be reintroduced in the 110th Congressional Session! HR 503 passed the House by a very good majority, but was held up by Senator Conrad Burns in the Senate. It was not allowed to come before the Senate for a vote. Please contact your Senators and House Representatives NOW and ask them to support the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act! It will ammend the Horse Protection Act to protect horses from horse slaughter for human consumption, including the sale and transportation of horses for the purpose of slaughter for human consumption.
There are currently three bills in Congress about Horse Slaughter. Click on the bill numbers to be connected to the actual bill.
To amend the Horse Protection Act to prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to... (Introduced in Senate) [S.311.IS] To amend the Horse Protection Act to prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to... (Introduced in House) [H.R.503.IH] To restore the prohibition on the commercial sale and slaughter of wild free-roaming horses and burros. (Introduced in House) [H.R.249.IH]
Links to contact your Congress Representatives, and some sample letters/arguments:
http://www.horse-protection.org/info.php?id=45 http://www.fund4horses.org/info.php?id=774 http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/631181096 - A new 2007 petition to support the banning of horse slaughter. Please sign! But also keep in mind that contacting your Representatives directly is much more effective than only signing a petition.
There is a national consensus that abusing horses is cruel and wrong, but a patchwork of state laws hinders proper nationwide protections. The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009, S. 727, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and veterinarian and Senator John Ensign (R-NV) is designed to provide the US government and law enforcement officials with the tools to swiftly end one of the most egregious and preventable abuses – slaughtering horses for human consumption.
To address the public demand for action on this issue, in 2002, legislation was first introduced to protect horses from slaughter. The bill, which enjoyed strong bipartisan support, made horse slaughter and associated activities illegal and included both civil and criminal penalties. A subsequent version of the bill passed the House by a landslide vote in 2007.
The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009, S. 727, would amend Title 18 of the US Code in the same fashion, thus giving law enforcement more tools and resources to ensure our horses are protected from the cruelty of slaughter. The law will be uniform across the US and enforced by professionals trained in upholding federal law.
The horse slaughter industry is predatory and predictable. Known killer-buyers from around the US buy horses in their home regions and then haul them to plants in Mexico and Canada. Horses are not being moved to slaughter by responsible horse owners or general livestock haulers. The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009, S. 727, will simply close a loophole via which horses are being sent out of the US for slaughter in Mexico and Canada thus allowing Federal law enforcement officials to bring violators to justice.
Amending Title 18 via the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009, S. 727, to combat an egregious form of animal cruelty has precedence. The US Congress has utilized this section of law for numerous animal cruelty provisions including the recently enacted animal fighting legislation.
There can be no doubt about the cruel nature of horse slaughter. Horses suffer on the way to and during slaughter. In Mexico, some plants still use the puntilla knife to stab the horse to a point of paralysis before actual slaughter. In Canada some horses are shot to death. More than 100,000 American horses were exported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter last year.
Horse meat is considered a high-end delicacy in Europe and Asia - American horse meat in particular. All types of horses fall victim to the trade including pet horses, work horses and racing horses. Most are young and healthy.
Americans don't eat horses and we don't raise them for slaughter. It's time to end this trade.