Congress May Ban The Export Of Horses For Slaughter


Congress is considering a bill that would ban the export of horses for slaughter for meat. More than 100,000 horses are slaughtered each year to provide meat in countries where horse flesh is a delicacy.

For many of those who have fought against the slaughter business, they are looking to Congress for the final victory in their effort that has already shut down two U.S. slaughterhouses and may soon down the third and final U.S. slaughterhouse.

“These are our friends, our companions, and they have been a part of our history,” says Tony Leva, 62, a partner in a 7-year-old [horse] rescue operation. “To eat them is something we in America don’t want.”

Not everyone supports this ban though.

But the industry, as well as some breeders, racers, and owners, are fighting the legislation, backed by veterinarians and others who say the killing is humane.

More important, they believe — and slaughter opponents concede — there is no other way to handle the tens of thousands of horses that can no longer compete on tracks, pull Amish buggies or whose owners can no longer afford them.

More on the industry and the ban after the jump.


“Americans don’t even know that horses that are not raised for this purpose are bought by the killer buyers and sold to slaughter,” said Nancy Perry, vice president for government affairs with the Humane Society of the United States. “This is not an industry that we want to support in this country.”

Perry’s objections start with the transportation of animals to auctions and slaughter, packed into trailers and often traveling for hours without food or water.

The American Veterinary Medical Association, which represents 75,000 veterinarians, supports horse slaughter as a humane means of disposing of unwanted horses. That position has spawned a new Washington-based organization called Veterinarians for Equine Welfare, which disagrees.

Former Texas congressman Charles Stenholm is a lobbyist for a coalition of 200 organizations called the Horse Welfare Coalition, which includes the three U.S. slaughterhouses. Stenholm thinks the export ban will fail to pass.

“Some people believe no animal should ever be killed and, certainly, not eaten,” he said. “But a majority of horse owners disagree with this legislation. If you don’t want your horse slaughtered, then don’t sell it.”

(Thanks Rick)

7 Responses to “Congress May Ban The Export Of Horses For Slaughter”

  1. Lynne says:

    Using that same logic we should support dog slaughter to send the meat to Korea. What should we do with all those old and useless pets who can no longer herd sheep or guard the house or whatever?
    The HSUS has been engaged in this fight for the longest time. It is depressing to have to keep fighting this time after time. I would urge everyone to contact their representatives and tell them to pass this ban. Permanently.

  2. Marti says:

    Has anyone ever heard of or seen the way that these horses are slaughtered….? It is HORRIBLE!!! They say that the veterenarians who are for this cruel act believe that the slaughter is humane???? YIKES!!! They are held in just about the worst condition anyone could immagine, then they are forced to suffer a long, painful, horrible death… just horrible… There is a petition people can sign that oppose the slaughter of US horses for consumption, and there is also a need for people to call their state representatives to oppose the killing of the horses for this purpose…

  3. ann says:

    Horses need to be reclasified as companion animals. There are numerous programs that use horses for therapy and as guide animals. Sending them to the killers is easy, finding another “career” or retirement home takes the heart of a truly compassionate horse owner. Some people feel that sending them to the killers is an easy way to make money on the hoof. Oh, by the way….did they figure into those numbers of slaughtered horses, how many of them are STOLEN? It would be interesting to see if these slaughtered horses were ownership verified either through microchip, tatoo, or papers that they weren’t stolen.

  4. k8e says:

    I don’t see why warehousing and slaughtering horses is any more inhumane than warehousing and slaughtering cows, pigs and chickens.

    Do “food” animals suffer any less than “companion” animals when they are left for days crammed together without enough room to turn around, fed toxic sludge instead of wholesome food, choked with the ammonia fumes of their own waste, left without medical attention for painful injuries, and finally (mercifully, one hopes) killed?

  5. HighNote says:

    To me a horse is like the buffalo. They are part of our history and the American way.
    I do not believe in this torture and feel it is terrible to sell them for food to a foreign country. When I said the horse is like the buffalo I did not mean that a horse should be used for food by anyone! Only that the horse came from an era in America that they were really needed and kept on amost every single farm, ranch, etc. WE never know we may be riding them again if our gas prices keep going up.

  6. Sue says:

    Yes, all animals raised for food in this country suffer greatly and that needs to be changed. However, horses are not raised for human consumption and the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act will end this cruel practice.

    You should visit The Society for Animal Protective Legislation is the group that started the national campaign to ban horse slaughter and has lots of info to show how bad it is. Their partent group the Animal Welfare Insitute is the first national humane group and was responsible for most animal protection laws. They have a leading program that provides a lable for farmers treating their animals humanely. This is the first of its kind.

  7. Judy says:

    Finally this is brought to the public. We used to slaughter the horses in this country until the slaughterhouses were shut down. Then we exported them to Mexico and Canada which is what we do today. Some people known as “killer-buyers” go to auctions just to buy horses. . . for their meat.

    The federal government has that program of rounding up wild horses. What that does is break up families of horses, relocate them where they do not want to be and send some of the family members to that miserable adoption program. If the horses are not adopted they, too, go to the slaughterhouses. It sounds like the days of Hitler in Europe. For the horses, it certainly is like that.

    There is a bill pending in Congress to stop the export of horses. Go to for much more on this and to get the name of the bill and how you can help.

    Contact your congressional Representatives and let them know that exporting horses for their meat to be sent to a foreign country is wrong. Horses are a part of our history, you are certainly correct there! Horses are the most abused farm animal, too. Let’s take care of our farm horses and wild horses. Leave the wild horses alone and do not slaughter ANY horses!

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