Saving America’s horses from slaughter

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

By Marty Irby

America was built on the backs of horses, and in September, there was a milestone achieved in our effort to acknowledge the role that horses have played in our culture and stop the egregious abuse of these magnificent animals.

A bill to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption — known as The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R. 113, led by U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan, Jan Schakowsky, Ed Royce, and Michelle Lujan Grisham — garnered its 218th cosponsor in the House. That signals that a majority of the chamber supports the legislation.

While this policy reform has always attracted significant support, it’s the first time in a decade that more than half the House has been on record in support of ending horse slaughter in America.

The last time was twelve years ago this month when a similar measure led by former U.S. Reps. John Sweeney and Ed Whitfield passed the House with tremendous support, including Vice President Mike Pence, a representative from Indiana at the time. The Senate never took the measure up for a vote.

But in this time of political divisions, here’s a bill both parties can get behind, and we urge House and Senate leaders to schedule votes on the issue. The bill would surely pass, and leaders should allow the will of lawmakers and the American public to be expressed by allowing a vote on the issue.

Sens. Lindsey Graham and Robert Menendez have introduced the SAFE Act, S. 1706, in the Upper Chamber. The Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by my home state Sen. Richard Shelby, included language in their Agriculture Appropriations package that would maintain a temporary ban on horse slaughter that’s also been in play for the past decade. The measure defunds horse slaughter inspections in the U.S., making it impossible to slaughter horses here.

Many people don’t realize that the slaughter of American equines for human consumption claims so many equine lives every year— tens of thousands of animals, most of them perfectly healthy. We don’t eat horse meat in America, and poll after poll has shown that more than 80 percent of Americans oppose horse slaughter. It’s a cruel and terrifying end for the horses that become victims of this enterprise, and it’s an end this symbol of our country does not deserve.

Full article at The Daily Caller »

Marty Irby is the executive director at Animal Wellness Action in Washington, D.C.

Horse Slaughter: Food for Thought Chart

Horses before the auction at Shipshewana. These were racing, riding, and show horses. But the slaughterhouse buyers were there to bid on the least expensive horses. Source: Animal Angels.

HOUSTON, TX (by Horse Fund Staff) — This artwork illustrates the horse slaughter process. Familiar and the unfamiliar alike may find this useful without it being too graphic. For actual images of horse slaughter see the Horse Fund website. Caution. Graphic content. Not for the feint of heart.

Illustrated Chart of the Horse Slaughter Process.
Click to enlarge.

Why can we not rid the world of the gross cruelty and betrayal of horse slaughter? Because there are those among us who want to eat horse meat.

Featured Image: Horses before the auction at Shipshewana. These were racing, riding, and show horses. But the slaughterhouse buyers were there to bid on the least expensive horses. Source: Animal Angels.

Horse meat trial shines light on key part of international fraud

Frozen meat adulterated with horse intended for burgers. Photograph: City of London Police.
Frozen meat adulterated with horse intended for burgers. Photograph: City of London Police.

The Guardian| Felicity Lawrence | July 26, 2017 | Full Article

The conviction of three men in London for conspiracy to defraud by selling horse mislabelled as beef marks the end of the UK police operation to identify the criminals in its jurisdiction behind the horsemeat scandal of 2013.

Operation Boldo, run by the City of London police’s specialist fraud division, tracked just one of the trails of dodgy meat that were exposed when the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) published tests at the beginning of 2013.

These showed that burgers and ready meals on sale in leading retailers and fast food outlets contained undeclared horse and pig DNA. The FSAI report sparked testing across Europe, which exposed industrial-scale adulteration of the food supply.

Investigations that followed in the UK led to others being charged with or convicted of regulatory offences relating to horse slaughter or selling beefburgers containing undeclared offal, and a conviction for labelling goat as lamb but, four and a half years on, this is the first UK conviction for selling mislabelled horsemeat. • Keep reading »

The Daily Mail | July 27, 2017 | Full Article

A businessman was today found guilty of being part of a near-£200,000 conspiracy to pass off 30 tonnes of horsemeat as beef, much of which went on to enter the food chain.

The court heard how Danish-owned company FlexiFoods would buy horsemeat and beef from suppliers across Europe and have it delivered to Dinos in Tottenham, North London.

Labels and paperwork were fabricated to make the mixed meat appear like pure beef, before it was sold on to food manufacturers making products for a ‘vast range of well-known companies’, prosecutor Jonathan Polnay told the trial.

The businessman was caught after equine microchips were discovered in some packages. The animals had not been sold for slaughter. • Read more »

Please continue calling the U.S. House to end horse slaughter

Girl talking on mobile phone. Free.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (by Vivian Farrell) — The atmosphere was highly charged in the U.S. House Appropriations Committee meeting when it came time to vote on whether or not to continue defunding horse meat inspections. The House Committee voted the measure out of the Appropriations Bill 27-25 potentially opening the door for horse slaughter to return to U.S. soil.

Keep Calling

You knew I was going to say that, right? The title and picture gave it away. But here’s why.

It looks like we have the U.S. Senate. Let’s see what we can do to swing the U.S. House in favor of the horses.

Please check to see if your U.S. Representative has co-sponsored H.R. 113, the SAFE Act. If they have not, please call and ask them to do so at their earliest opportunity.

Whether or not the SAFE Act ever gets out of Committee and is successful, we at least have their public commitment against horse slaughter on record. This is important in predicting support and gauging votes. Lawmakers do check these numbers.

If your Representative has co-sponsored H.R. 113 (check here) and/or voted to keep the horse meat inspection defunding language in the budget bill (check here), please thank them.

My Representative co-sponsored H.R. 113 and I had yet to thank him. Calling him kept getting pushed to the bottom of my to do list. I didn’t feel too badly because it is frantic in D.C. for everyone. Then I came across a beautiful postcard of a mare and foal, so I sent him a quick message of thanks that way. Believe me, things like this do get noticed.

How about our faithful lobbyists? Please support them. They work 10-12 hour days. As we have already mentioned, nothing sucks the air out of the room faster than to hear lawmakers or their staff say they haven’t heard anything from their constituency on the bill our lobbyists are there to discuss. Nothing.

Here’s our handy list of tips and contact information. Thank you everyone! Keep up the good work. —Vivian

Contact Your Members of Congress

Know who they are? 

U.S. Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121

Don’t know they are?

Locate your Member on-line:

U.S. House of Representatives:
U.S. Senate:

To find out who your Representative is, enter your zip code (including +4) in the search function at:

Contact the President

White House Switchboard: 202-456-1414 (yes, it’s working)
White House Online:

Tips for Calling Congress

  1. Don’t call “off the cuff”. Write something up and rehearse it a bit until you feel confident. Be sure to make the purpose of your call very clear, and what you want them to do. Relax and make the call.
  2. Give them your name and address (so they can identify you as a constituent or your call won’t count), your phone number and email address (especially if you want a response).
  3. To make sure they took your information down correctly, politely say, “Would you please read it back to me? This is such an important call for me.”
  4. Speak from the heart. Tell them why this is issue is so important and what you want your lawmaker to do.
  5. If you want a reply to your call, you must ask them for one. Otherwise they are not obligated. You might say something like, “Please have [insert name of lawmaker] reply by email telling me what action [he/she] will be taking on this issue”.

Wild Horse Slaughter

The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to take up the Interior Department’s appropriations bill in the next two weeks which includes the budget for the Bureau of Land Management.

In federal budget bill the BLM seek to allow wild horses to be used as work animals with little to no oversight and restrictions.  They also seek to destroy 92,000 (their number) wild horses needlessly removed from the range and stockpiled across the country.

Call your two Senators and ask them to get this language removed.

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Updated: 7/21/2017; 3:47 pm.