How a bill becomes law

Interior of the Capitol Hill dome, Washington D.C.

Who remembers Government class or Civics? Or do they even teach them any more?

It seems a large percentage of American citizens do not know how a bill becomes law. When we started, some of us at the Fund for Horses did, but most of us had very little clue.

We were in good shape though from the beginning because the founder of the Fund for Horses worked for 20 years in the legal profession. A lawyer she worked for was the author of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and she was active from the time the bill was drafted and introduced until it became law. It was great experience for her future work in horse protection which she had no idea she would be involved with at the time.

As constituent lobbyists working for (or against) laws that impact the health and safety of horses, the more knowledgeable you are, the better an advocate you will be. Now, this does not mean you need to become an expert by any means, but it will be helpful if you have a general idea.

Action Station

If you are working on the anti slaughter and anti soring bills, please check out the following resources which we feel certain will help you a great deal. There are also loads of helpful links. Here are handy resources from our Take Action page:

• Pending Legislation (

• Calling Congress (

• How a Bill Becomes Law (


POPVOX is an online constituency tool for tracking bills and contacting your Representative and Senators guaranteeing your voice will be heard and counted. We have been with them since they launched in 2010.

Visit our Stakeholder’s page at You will find all horse legislation pending right now before Congress (there’s more than just the anti slaughter and anti soring bills), whether we endorse the bills or oppose the bills and why including detailed talking points.

Create a POPVOX account with an email and password. Weigh in on any and all legislation you want — not just those having to do with horses — and POPVOX will deliver your message directly to your legislators, guaranteed. Oh, did we mention when you sign up POPVOX identifies your legislators for you and stores it right there on your account, so you never need to look them up again! Even if they get booted out and someone else gets elected in their place.

No. We are not getting paid to promote them. We just love them. They make everything so easy. And that’s the truth.

Thank you so much for helping our horses by taking action right away.

Oh. Remember it’s the Senate version of the horse soring bill only, but both House and Senate on the horse slaughter bill. Learn more here or at POPVOX.


Forgot. You can also find and contact your U.S. Representative at and your two U.S. Senators at

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USTA endorses SAFE Act

Harness Racing reports:

KEN WEINGARTNER — The United States Trotting Association announced Friday (April 10) that it has endorsed the passage of the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act of 2019 (H. R. 961), which states that “the knowing sale or transport of equines or equine parts in interstate or foreign commerce for purposes of human consumption is hereby prohibited.”

This matter was discussed and approved during the USTA’s Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday (April 7) and made official upon the conclusion of the Association’s closing general session of its Board of Directors annual meeting Thursday (April 9).

The passage of the legislation effectively would ban horse slaughter in the United States by making it illegal for the transportation and export of horses for slaughter domestically or in other countries. The bill emphasizes that, unlike other livestock, horses are not raised for human consumption.

The USTA is a strong advocate for horse aftercare.

Two years ago at the Board of Directors meeting, USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner proposed and the directors supported the creation of the Standardbred Transition Alliance, an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with the mission to: “accredit, inspect, and award grants to approved organizations that acquire, rehabilitate, train and re-home Standardbreds, using industry funding.”

The USTA also provided some of the initial funding for the organization, which is now established, operational, and governed by an independent board of directors composed of key industry stakeholders, including two USTA directors.

In addition, the USTA has a longstanding history of programs that provide assistance to retired Standardbred racehorses.

Support Our Standardbreds is a USTA program that provides financial assistance to public agencies and 501(c)(3) charitable organizations caring for registered Standardbreds that have been abandoned or subject to removal due to legal intervention.

Full Circle is an initiative that connects two or more people with a shared concern for a horse with the purpose of assisting that horse if or when it is ever needed. Anyone who wants to be contacted if a registered Standardbred needs help at any time in their life can enroll.

The USTA’s Pleasure Horse program allows a horse owner to designate and protect a horse that they are selling or giving away for non-racing purposes with their intention that the horse will no longer be raced and/or bred. Pleasure Registration is final and irreversible.

To read more on the USTA’s Life After Racing programs, click here.

Ken Weingartner, for U S Trotting Assn., is an HRI Harness contributor.

Girl talking on mobile phone. Free.
Call or email your U.S. Representative to cosponsor H.R. 961, the anti-horse slaughter SAFE Act.

Have you endorsed this bill?

Have you endorsed the SAFE Act (H.R.961) by contacting your U.S. Representative and getting him (and her) to endorse it too by cosponsoring the bill? If you have, bravo! If you haven’t, here’s why you should:

Horse meat is toxic to human health. The US Food and Drug Administration currently bans the presence of 379 common equine drugs in animals slaughtered for human consumption. However, there is no procedure in place to ensure that American horses, sold to slaughterhouses and killed for human consumption, are free of these FDA-banned substances. 

The United States needs to shut down the horse slaughter channels that currently put consumers at risk, and ensure that meat from American horses is not jeopardizing the health and lives of consumers. 

Yes, there’s a lot going on in Washington right now, but do not delay taking action because of that. Your voice will be heard and acted on.

Go to right now and take action by phone or email. Note: You will need to create a username and password to sign in and contact your U.S. Representative by email.

For more information see also Here’s the H.R.961 page.

A member of Go to the Fund for Horses (@HorseFund) Stakeholders page at for talking points and to take action on this bill.

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Take action for wild horses

Help end conflicts between wild horses and public land ranchers

The Voluntary Grazing Retirement ActH.R. 5737 — would benefit wild horses and burros by providing another way to settle land and resource conflicts.

H.R. 5737 would also allow third parties, like wild horse or environmental organizations, to compensate livestock grazing permittees who choose to voluntarily relinquish their permits on land overseen by the Bureau of Land Management or U.S. Forest Service, permanently ending grazing on that allotment.

The legislation would incentivize the transfer of sensitive habitat while keeping land in the public domain for environmental, wildlife, recreation and other purposes, like the grazing of wild horses and burros on lands designated for their use.

Contact Your U.S. Representative

Go to the Directory of Representatives to get in touch by phone or email. Not sure who represents you? There is a look up box by zip code to help you in the upper righthand corner.

OR . . . GovTrackUS is a super easy way to connect with your lawmakers in Washington. Here’s a link to the H.R. 5737 page.

As you can imagine time is of the essence. Please take action as quickly as you can. Thank you.

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New Regulations Proposed for PA Horse Auctions

Dome of the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building Dome in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

State bill aims to protect horses at auction

Suzanne Bush of East Coast Equestrian reports:

Representative Liz Hanbidge (D-Montgomery County) has introduced legislation aimed at providing a layer of protection for horses being sold at auction. HB 2193 amends legislation from 1983 which established licensing and regulation requirements for auctioneers who sell horses. Hanbidge’s bill would place additional regulations on these auctioneers. She says her bill is “an attempt to slow down the slaughter process.”

Hanbidge says that auctions have long been the first stop on a long, tortuous trip to Canadian or Mexican abattoirs where horses are slaughtered and sold to European and Asian consumers for food. Since 2007 it has been illegal in the United States to slaughter horses for human consumption. She says there are a lot of rescue groups, welfare agencies and others that have endorsed this bill because of its potential to save horses from the slaughter pipeline.

Her bill would require auctioneers to determine whether any horse scheduled for auction has a microchip, tattoo or brand. Any horse with such identifying markers would have to be advertised—along with a picture—on the auctioneer’s publicly-accessible website for 72 hours prior to sale.

“We don’t even have a website!” Ryan Kolb is part owner of New Holland Sales Stables. He has not heard about the bill, but he notes that it would profoundly complicate his life. “Half the horses are not even here for one day,” he says. “We’re not a boarding stable. We don’t want horses here for three days.”

The New Holland Sales Stables runs a weekly livestock auction. Kolb says that they sell anywhere from 80 to 200 horses at the Monday morning auctions. “Out of state horses come from Virginia, New York, Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey,” he says. “It’s a mix of everything—riding, driving, work horses and ponies.” Often owners of horses will pay drivers to transport their horses to the auction; so, they’re not even on the premises when their animals are sold.

“The bill is based on a bill that passed in New Jersey last year,” Hanbidge says. She says she’s encouraged by a lot of activity at the national level that indicates to her there are more and more people engaged in animal welfare and beginning to recognize the gruesome fates for horses sold to so-called “kill buyers.”

“There are different groups and different people working in various ways to make life better for horses in all walks of life.” She says that it’s sometimes difficult to get widespread support for bills that prohibit slaughter of horses. “You’d be surprised by the people who aren’t in favor of slaughter prevention because they think it’s a way to prevent people from starving their horses to death,” she says. “Are you drying up that market (the auctions) to the extent that it puts horses in danger?’ they ask.”

She understands that the issues surrounding horse welfare are complicated and stubborn problems not likely to yield to one strategy.

Mascot ends up at New Holland

MASCOT. Won $240,000; sold for $60, at New Holland Auction. — Off the Track Thoroughbreds.
Mascot. Won $240K; sold for $60 at New Holland Auction. — Off the Track Thoroughbreds.

Pennsylvanians — Take Action!

View Pennsylvania HB 2193 here »

Find your State Representative. (Note: If you scroll down the page, there’s an interactive map. Click on your County).

Contact your State Representative and ask them to support this HR 2193.

This is for Pennsylvania residents only! Thank you.

Related Reading

Livestock auction in New Holland where meat men prey on horses is banning photos and videos; Tuesday’s Horse; March 7, 2017 (Note: includes story of Lily the Paint Ball horse) »

After long struggle for health, Mascot euthanized; Off Track Thoroughbreds; May 8, 2013 »

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