We, the undersigned citizens, call on Congress to pass legislation permanently halting the slaughter of American horses for human consumption, whether in this country or in foreign slaughterhouses, and the sale and transport of America’s equines for the purpose of slaughter for a food commodity.
We ask that Congress pass the bipartisan Safeguard American Foods Act (H.R. 113 and S.1706). This legislation would amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to deem horses and other members of the equidae family an unsafe food additive.
The SAFE Act would also ban the knowing sale or transport of equines or equine parts in interstate or foreign commerce for purposes of human consumption.
The United States is not home to a horse-eating culture. Unlike cattle, pigs, chickens and other ranch- or farm-raised species, horses here are not raised to be eaten. As a result, members of the equidae family raised here are often given any of 379 common animal medications banned for consumption by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration -- including some that can be lethal if ingested by humans.
We should not continue the harmful practice of consuming horses. The SAFE Act would keep equine meat off our shelves and out of foreign exports.
The SAFE Act would keep equine meat off the menu and prevent the needless suffering of tens of thousands of equines exported for the benefit the Asian and European meat industry.
Until a federal ban on horse slaughter and the sale and transport of equines for the purpose of slaughter is passed once and for all, America’s wild and domestic equines are vulnerable to irresponsible breeding, abusive management, suffering and slaughter.
We support the American Wild Horse Sanctuary and respectfully ask that you pass the SAFE Act.
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The 2007 shuttering of the last horse slaughterhouse in the United States has done nothing to keep American horses and burros from foreign killing floors or decrease the risk to human health from eating horse meat.
An average of 127,000 horses were trucked to their deaths in Mexico and Canada from 2008-15, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Once beyond our borders and the USDA regulations, horses can face brutal and terrifying deaths in antiquated facilities.
The Obama administration effectively banned horse slaughter by defunding USDA inspector positions needed to conduct legally required inspections. No lasting ban on horse slaughter has been signed into law, however.
Should federal meat inspector funding be reinstated, protections for horses would be poor at best. Some states, like California and Texas, have horse slaughter and horse meat sale bans, but others require only that horse meat be labeled.
And while the American public has shown no taste for horse meat and in surveys expresses strong opposition to the slaughter of horses, a number of companies have applied to open slaughterhouses in recent years in order to meet demand in countries that include Mexico, Japan, France and Belgium.
Because American horses are not raised to be eaten, they frequently are given medications banned for human consumption by the USDA and European Union.
No regulations require the sharing of information about substances previously ingested by a horse up for auction. There, horses are often purchased by “kill” buyers with the intent on sending them to slaughter.
More than 92 percent of these exported horses are in “good” condition, according to the USDA.
This legislation would amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to deem horses and other members of the equidae family an unsafe food additive or animal drug. The SAFE Act would also ban the knowing sale or transport of equines or equine parts in interstate or foreign commerce for purposes of human consumption.
Doing so will reduce health risks to human beings and prevent the needless suffering of horses.
Please note: Passage of the SAFE Act would be a step forward, protecting wild horses from being sold to slaughter. However, it would not prevent Congress from allowing the Bureau of Land Management from killing healthy unadopted wild horses and burros.