Press Release

Equine Protection Groups Urge US Government to Pass Bill to Stop Slaughter of American Horses

Equine Protection Groups Urge US Government to Pass Bill to Stop Slaughter of American Horses

Washington, D.C. – A coalition of equine advocacy groups representing supporters across the United States has joined together to urge members of Congress to move a popular bill to the floor of the House for a vote.

The bill (H.R. 3355/S. 2732), also known as the Save America’s Forgotten Equines (or SAFE) Act, prevents the transport of horses, mules, and donkeys across national borders for the purpose of slaughtering them for their meat or skins, and would permanently ban horse slaughter on U.S. soil.

The groups vary from horse racing watchdogs to wild horse protection and rescue/sanctuary operations, but the one thing they have in common is outrage over the tens of thousands of American equines shipped to horrifying deaths in foreign slaughter plants.

Owing to their iconic status in American society and the critical role they played in our nation’s history and culture, Americans strongly oppose the slaughter of horses for human consumption. While those who profit from their slaughter characterize horses as “livestock,” most Americans, including horse owners, regard horses, donkeys, and mules as indispensable partners in work, recreation, and sport.

Chestnut horse standing in trailer, waiting for competition. Shutterstock-AnnaElizabeth Photography

A survey conducted in 2021 by Advocates for Wild Equines showed staggering support for the SAFE ACT: 97 percent of respondents supported the passage of the Act, and 98 percent of them supported permanently banning equine slaughter in the United States and as well as the transport of equines to slaughter for any purpose (including food, dog food, skin products, etc.).

In view of this overwhelming public opinion and love for the horse, equine protection organizations are calling on Congress to simply carry out the will of the majority of the nation’s citizens.

The SAFE Act is Bipartisan – and Urgently Needed

The SAFE Act boasts a bipartisan roster of supporters in both chambers of Congress, with a majority of House members signed on as cosponsors. According to House custom, with a majority in support, the bill is eligible to be scheduled for a vote before the entire chamber. With the 117th Congress winding down in a just a few short weeks, however, the window of opportunity for a vote is dwindling fast. Meanwhile, profiteers in the horse slaughter industry continue to snatch up equines, including retired race horses, show horses, and children’s pets, at slaughter auctions and kill pens to be shipped to Canada and Mexico for slaughter for consumption by foreign consumers.

“Until a ban is in place, every American horse, wild and domestic, is at risk of falling into the hands of the predatory horse slaughter industry,” said Scott Beckstead, director of campaigns for Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy.

“We cannot call ourselves a civilized nation if we’re still allowing such cruelty to these beloved horses,” said Clare Staples, founder of Skydog Sanctuary, an equine rescue and sanctuary on the frontlines of the fight against horse slaughter.

Ginger Fedak, wild horse and burro campaign director for In Defense of Animals, said, “It is time to heed the will of the American people and mark this well-sponsored, bi-partisan bill up to the full House for a vote.”

“All equines suffer terribly during transport and slaughter,” said Lorna Torrey-Palermo, founder of Advocates for Wild Equines. “There is no conceivable reason for this barbaric practice to continue.”

“In the 21st century it is appalling that we still allow American equines to be trucked across our borders to face a torturous death,” said Lisa Friday, director of communications for The Cloud Foundation. “The time has come to stop this cruel trade.”

About Us

Advocates for Wild Equines (A*W*E) is a grassroots group of concerned citizens who strongly oppose the cruel and inhumane roundups of wild horses and burros on our public lands. Our lobby group raises funds monthly to pay for Washington, DC lobbyists who advocate for legislation that stops roundups, protects individual horses and burros, and preserves our magnificent wild equine herds.

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don’t. We believe helping animals helps us all.

The Center for a Humane Economy is a non-profit organization that focuses on influencing the conduct of corporations to forge a humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both.

The Cloud Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit, has been at the forefront of wild horse advocacy since its inception in 2005. TCF was founded by Emmy award-winning filmmaker Ginger Kathrens, creator of three acclaimed PBS Nature series documentaries that followed the wild stallion Cloud throughout his life. Dedicated to the protection and preservation of wild horses and burros on our public lands, The Cloud Foundation advocates for protecting natural wild equid behaviors, repatriation of wild horses to zeroed-out Herd Areas, and for equal allocation of forage within Congressionally designated Herd Areas.

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 39-year history of fighting for animals, people and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi.

Skydog Sanctuary aims to increase public awareness of wild mustang and burro issues by showcasing the inherent and historic value of these American icons. Here, wild mustangs and burros, who might not be well suited to life in captivity or who have been through abuse and trauma, are allowed to live out their lives as nature intended, in a safe and open “wild” environment free from the demands of humanity.