Galloping horse statuary near Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Photographer unknown.

Will we ever completely outlaw horse slaughter?

Polls and studies conducted over the past couple of decades show that 80% of Americans are opposed to horse slaughter.

The term “horse slaughter” refers to the killing of horses for their meat, chiefly but not limited to, for human consumption.

Export for Slaughter

The last three horse slaughter plants operating on American soil — two in Texas and one in Illinois —all foreign-owned — were shuttered in 2007. In their final year of operation, the three U.S. facilities slaughtered more than 104,000 horses for human consumption overseas.

However, American horses are still being sent across American borders to Mexico and Canada to be killed for their meat. Although export numbers have dropped some in the last few years, tens of thousands of our horses are still being slaughtered.

According to available information, at least 1,645,187 American horses have been slaughtered for human consumption from 2001 through 2021.

Updated April 18, 2022 to include 2021 numbers.

Number of U.S. Horses Exported for Slaughter

2001 to 2021

Source: National Agricultural Statistics Service/USDA and Statistics Canada

Horsemeat is Dangerous

Horsemeat poses a formidable danger to humans. American horses are not raised for human consumption, and often given numerous substances during their lifetimes banning them from entering the human food chain.

An example. Horses are often treated with phenylbutazone, an anti-inflammatory drug commonly known as bute. Research shows that bute can be toxic to humans, cause bone marrow loss and anemia and is also a known carcinogen. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration bans bute from foods for human consumption.

Pending Legislation

In May and September 2021, respectively, the Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act was introduced in Congress. See H.R. 3355 / S. 2732.

H.R. 3355 earned good bipartisan support with 215 cosponsors. It is, however, currently buried in a Subcommittee with no sign of being moved out.

S.2732, the Senate version of the bill, has 5 cosponsors. It is languishing in the Senate Judiciary Committee where it has been since September 14, 2021 — without a hint of going anywhere.

Bottom Line

Unless we somehow manage to gather ourselves, make a big noise and get our Representatives and Senators in Washington DC to do the following, we fail the horses yet again, and you know what that means.

(1) endorse and cosponsor H.R. 3355 / S. 2732,
(2) bust the bills out of their respective Committees,
(3) get the bills on to the House and Senate Floors for a successful vote, and finally
(4) persuade the President to sign it into law

Failure means the heartbreaking savagery of slaughter will continue to haunt our horses. Slaughter is not humane euthanasia. It is a brutal and terrifying death.

Tuesday’s Horse

Official Blog of The Fund for Horses

4 thoughts on “Will we ever completely outlaw horse slaughter?”

  1. Shame on those Representatives and Senators in Washington DC who are allowing the SAFE Act bill to languish. Politicians are obligated to represent and act on the wishes of the people and in this case the majority of American citizens oppose the abhorrent inhumane slaughtering of their horses who have historically and continue to serve the people.
    To think that those few politicians (apologies, i cannot remember their names) and members of the public worked so hard to get the SAFE Act bill successfully introduced now results in the bill just sitting there … are you kidding me ?
    How bloody disgraceful.
    And a huge slap in the face for democracy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So true Carolyn. This has happened in so many Congresses now we have lost count.

      Politicians are owned and responsive to the highest bidders. Sadly that is not us (if we could afford it). They certainly remember us lowly citizens when election and reelection time rolls around. We have some ideas that may take some time to get done, but what do we have to lose?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. For a CIVILIZED country we sure allow BARBARIC practices to go on. Horse slaughter NEVER should have happened much less continue for this long. ANY person involved in horse slaughter is EVIL and HEARTLESS and will reap the wrath of God one day. Guaranteed!

    Liked by 2 people

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