Horses held in a pen awaiting export for slaughter to Mexico. Photo by Kathy Milani for HSUS.

Bill introduced in the U.S. House to prevent the slaughter of horses

Federal legislation to prevent the re-establishment of horse slaughter on U.S. soil, bar the live export of horses for the purposes of slaughter, and protect the public from the consumption of toxic horse meat was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, April 22, 2015.

H.R. 1942, also referred to as the SAFE Act, is sponsored by Rep. Frank C. Guinta (R-NH-1) and has 41 originating co-sponsors.

“For centuries, horses have embodied the spirit of American freedom and pride,” said Rep. Guinta. “To that end, horses are not raised for food – permitting their transportation for the purposes of being slaughtered for human consumption is not consistent with our values and results in a dangerously toxic product. This bipartisan bill seeks to prevent and end the inhumane and dangerous process of transporting thousands of horses a year for food.”

Rep. Michelle Lujan Griffin (D-NM-1) who helped introduce the bill stated, “Horse slaughter is an inhumane practice that causes great pain and distress to the animals, and poses numerous environmental and food safety concerns. The vast majority of my constituents oppose horse slaughter. I’m proud to support the SAFE Act to ban this cruelty once and for all.”

The bill was referred to two Committees – the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Agriculture.

Featured Image Credit: Horses driven into a holding pen for export for slaughter. Photo by Kathy Milani for HSUS.

18 thoughts on “Bill introduced in the U.S. House to prevent the slaughter of horses”

  1. Just because our culture thinks the slaughter of horses is inhumane and cruel, doesn’t mean that we should deprive other cultures. What do you bleeding hearts purpose that we do with the horses that are neglected? The Feds are spending hundred of millions of dollars a year to house unwanted horses that have decimated western rangelands. The kindest thing to do is a quick and humane end to an unwanted animal rather then have them neglected or turned loose in the wild to starve or worse yet reproduce. Only people who don’t understand the problem would rejoice in the passage of such a law.


    1. the horses that are neglected aren’t the majority being shipped to slaughter. they are the ones who are kept as “property” seen fit to do what said owner wants to do with them. people who are mentally ill, or just plain selfish or callous have these neglected ones. the western rangelands are beind decimated by overgrazing cattle on public lands who are owned by welfare ranchers who think they have rights to public land. leave the wild horses alone. they are icons of this country. quick and humane euthanasia and factory horse slaughter are not synonymous. there is no possible way to humanely ship, and process prey animals such as the horse, many who were domesticated and then abandoned at auction houses for a few dollars.


      1. Michelle, excellent comment! Right on! The key is ” property.”

        The slavery movement was able to continue from a legal perspective because slaves were ” property.” We all know that the moral implications will always be reprehensible. Women were once “property,” so domestic abuse was legal. Again we all know that the moral and social implications will always be reprehensible.

        Captive display animals such as Tilikum at SeaWorld, Lucy the Elephant, are essentially profit slaves. Any circus animal lives a life of pain and deprivation because they are considered “property.”

        Racehorses are considered “property,” and owners do what they please with them. Take for example the 2015 Kentucky Derby : just two weeks ago a horse was beaten with a whip 32 times in 35 seconds! This is blatant animal cruelty, and abuse, but allowed to continue under “property” laws.

        Tennessee Walking Horses suffer immense pain because their slave owners burn their legs, put nails into their feet, chains around their ankles to intentionally inflict pain resulting in the unnatural high gait. These sadistic horse abusers claim that they can do what they want because they belong to them. Anybody knows that our property laws are antiquated, and require serious revisions.

        The Animal League Defense Fund (ALDF) in conjunction with PETA currently have a lawsuit that will recognize Apes as a person, and not property. This is a huge step because, if they win, then we can continue with all animals being recognized in their own right, and not as ” property.”

        These beautiful wild horses are the embodiment of freedom, and not “property.” We all know that the law doesn’t have it right when it comes to animals because they are not ours to eat, wear, or enslave.


      2. Again, some one does not have the facts. Ranchers pay a fee for the privilege of pasturing their cattle on BLM or Forest Service Lands. The length of time and amount are carefully calculated so as to assure wildlife have adequate feed and not to degrade the ecosystem. Federal lands are by definition multi use with all users being required to pay a fee for commercial use. According to you, someone cannot humanely haul horses.Twice a year I haul a full trailerload of horses 1400 miles to ride in the moumtains. Most of the horses shipped travel far less than that to Mexico or Canada. When you visit a slaughterhouse, whether it be for horses or cattle and hogs, only then should you comment on wether the process is humane.


  2. I hate to disappoint some of the people on this blog but don’t hold your breath about this bill making it out of committee any time soon. Every bill introduced the past ten years since I have known about horse slaughter has failed to make it to the floor for a vote. There will be lobbyists hired by the racing industry and most of the Horse registry’s around the country will not support this bill. They know they over breed and they need somewhere to dump the horses that don’t make it on the track or the show ring. Plus the brood mares that are dumped at auctions. This last bill that died in committee had enough cosponsors in the House of Representatives to bring the bill to the floor except for not having enough in the Senate. The Senate was the problem the last time and I’m sure they will be the problem this time. They are the ones the lobbyist aim the money at like big donations to the Senators reelections. Especially the Senators from TX who are supported by ranchers and horse breeders.


  3. Here we go again, in the same committees where so many of these members are loyal to special interests in holding this bill!!! I do appreciate it certainly but I think the only way we will ever stop this is not a bill……but introduced into another agency that would cover all horse slaughter to stop and NO politician could say no to it!!!! A very wise, smart, powerful woman has mentioned this and working on it as I speak!!! Now this is just my take on it? I believe it would be covered in our food safety issues under the FDA !? But regardless we have two motions being worked on that’s what matters one of them is bound to pass for our horses, this woman said she was very adamant that this will end horse slaughter this year!? I sure hope she’s right? I certainly admire and applaud the work she has done for our horses!!!!! Let’s geter done!!!! Right!!!


    1. Not sure who this all powerful woman is you speak of, maybe Ms. Oz? If you think that route is the answer and the answer in a year, you must be smoking something wonderful in CO. If people would stop whining and electing boneheads to Congress the law could change. FYI, anyone with half a brain knows that agencies can change policies at the drop of a hat, but they can’t ban something they don’t have the power to ban. FYI, this issue is one of those. If they do have the power, that policy can take years to implement, is dominated by industry input and can change at the drop of a hat and change of administration. So, any powerful woman doesn’t know much about our government.


  4. This bill has been re-introduced into Congress for at least four years.. More pressure needs to be put on Congress to actually PASS the SAFE ACT


  5. Yes, bipartisanship, logic, science, and ethics can do-exist. All who are co-sponsoring this most needed Bill are to be applauded. Great thanks o Rep. Guitan and all who see the wisdom in this Bill. Now, to vote it in affirms our government can be of the people, by the people and for the people – 80% of Americans oppose horse slaughter!


    1. So very glad to see this effort! For decades and decades, America’s horses have been slaughtered for the profit gained via human consumption of their meat by foreign diners. While we’ve succeeded in abolishing commercial horse slaughter on US soil, their live export to slaughter haunts many of us deeply. To date this year, some 23K have shipped to slaughter in Mexican plants, and an equal number shipped to Canadian plants can be assumed.
      Expert voices have long condemned this unregulated, commercial effort, and it’s well-known that monied interests in Washington DC have selfishly perpetuated the status quo of the brutal, inhumane horse slaughter industry.
      Find and contact your two US Senators and one US Representative in Washington DC now. Ask them to cosponsor and actively support HR.1942, and its corresponding Senate version (when legislation is entered/available there).
      See the numbers:


    2. So, it’s up to us to get our US Representative, and hopefully, soon — our two US Senators — to cosponsor the federal legislation. We’ll have more chance at momentum when a Senate bill is introduced.


  6. Well said Starry. Agreed. Horse Racing contributes(according to Canadian Federal Agricultural Agency) 30% or more of horses to slaughter in Canada which is where many of those Kentucky Derby perspectives, gone wrong, end up. With the Kentucky Derby approaching, I want to raise awareness of this horrific business that exploits racehorses for profit. I applaud the U.S for bringing forth such a progressive Bill. However, our Conservative government here currently in power seems to virtually ignore the plight of animals in our country including supporting the Seal Hunt. He’s a very religious person who promotes humans over any animal right whatsoever. If we continue to live in a world that disrespects the living sentiment animals that we share our planet with, it’s a recipe for disaster.


    1. I never understood what makes some people think that animal rights/welfare is a one-sided issue. I’m a Christian yet animal welfare is a very strong value of mine. I am not trying to shift the conversation into a religious one, but as someone who believes in God, I see the Earth and the animals as a gift from Him. When someone gives you a gift, you take care of it because you appreciate it and the gift-giver. You don’t toss it to the side like it doesn’t mean anything to you. Mind you, animals live and feel which is why we should treat them with love and respect. And, for those who are atheists and/or believe in evolution, we wouldn’t be here if not for animals! Don’t get me wrong, I regard human life and rights as very important, but we must acknowledge the importance of non-human life as well.


  7. I’m surprised and delighted by the amount of bipartisanship surrounding this bill! Democrats and Republicans may not agree on everything, but we can and must band together to support what’s morally correct! Heck to the yes!


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