H.R. 3475 would, among other things, halt inhumane trafficking of healthy horses to Mexico and Canada to be butchered for reexport to Asia
Washington D.C. — Yesterday, with Rep. Gabe Vasquez, D-N.M. and Rep. Brandon Williams, R-N.Y., cosponsoring the federal anti-horse slaughter legislation, known as the SAFE Act, H.R. 3475 reached a critical political threshold: a majority of Members of the U.S. House are publicly on record in supporting it. Rep. Jake Auchincloss, D-Mass., also cosponsored bill, making him the 219th public supporter in the House.
The SAFE Act, led by Reps. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla, and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. in the House, would ban the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption, including live exports to Mexico and Canada. The companion bill, S. 2037, led by Senators Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., also has strong bipartisan support.
“The United States halted any slaughter of American horses and other equines in 2007,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy. “Now it is time to complete the job of protecting American horses by halting live exports of them for butchering in Mexico and Canada.”
“The House Agriculture Committee should take note of the overwhelming Congressional support for the legislation on both sides of the aisle,” Pacelle added. “I doubt any serious-minded lawmaker would stand up in the well of the House and defend this ruthless trade of horses who had lives as companions, racing animals, work horses, or other accepted roles in American society.”
Pressure for passage of the SAFE Act is mounting just as recently released USDA export data shows that kill buyers shipped 17,997 horses from Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas to slaughter plants in Mexico in 2023. It is the most significant annual percentage increase of live exports since 2012. Final numbers are not yet available for live exports to Canada.
A year ago, an investigation by the Center for a Humane Economy and Animals’ Angeles revealed immense suffering of horses and other equids during transportation, holding, and slaughter, with results showing a lack of care, deficient delivery of food or water, and transport in cramped, dangerous, and unsanitary conditions.
“We are sounding the alarm to Congress that healthy American horses are being butchered in a secretive, inhumane trade to Mexico,” Pacelle said. “Not one more year of this trafficking of these iconic animals should be tolerated. The animal welfare community and the Thoroughbred racing industry are united in demanding an end to this archaic, miserable, sickening trade.”
Among hundreds of supporters of the SAFE Act are the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, The Jockey Club, The New York Racing Association, the New York Thoroughbreds Horsemen’s Association, and the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc.