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Reps. Schakowsky and Buchanan Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Ban Horse Slaughter

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Vern Buchanan introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports(SAFE) Act of 2019. This bipartisan legislation would permanently ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the United States as well prohibit the export of live horses to Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses to be sold overseas. The SAFE Act has been endorsed by the Humane Society, the Animal Welfare Institute, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Return to Freedom and Animal Wellness Action.The Members and groups released the following statements:

“Horses have a special place in our nation’s history, and these majestic creatures were not raised as food for humans,” Schakowsky said. “The SAFE Act would prohibit any horse slaughter plant from opening; and also end the sale or transport of horses and horse parts in the U.S. and abroad for the purpose of human consumption. I am proud to reintroduce this bill and work with Congressman Buchanan to put an end to this practice.” 

“The slaughter of horses for consumption is a barbaric practice that has no place in America,” Buchanan said. “I will continue to lead the effort with Congresswoman Schakowsky to ban domestic horse slaughter and end the export of horses abroad for the same purpose.”

Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations, stated, “The vast majority of Americans oppose the brutal practice of horse slaughter, and we are grateful to Representatives Schakowsky and Buchanan for their steadfast commitment to ending this greed-driven cruelty to our horses.”

Sara Amundson, Humane Society Legislative Fund president, said, “We commend Representatives Schakowsky and Buchanan for their leadership in introducing the SAFE Act, which not only protects horses from the inhumane practices of slaughter, but also protects unsuspecting consumers from horse meat tainted with dangerous drugs that are not fit for human consumption.”

Cathy Liss, Animal Welfare Institute president, said, “Congresswoman Schakowsky and Congressman Buchanan are both tremendous champions for animal welfare. Americans across the political spectrum want to see these noble animals protected from needless, gruesome and inhumane deaths. The SAFE Act would put a stop to the predatory and unsafe horse slaughter industry that butchers these animals for food.”

Holly Gann, Animal Wellness Action director of Federal Affairs, said, “During an era of political division, one issue that the vast majority of Americans agree on is that our horses must be protected from being cruelly slaughtered for human consumption. Throughout history, horses have been our companions and partners in work and sport – to slaughter them is the ultimate betrayal of our relationship with this American icon.”

Neda DeMayo, president of Return to Freedom, Wild Horse Conservation, said, "That more than 80,000 American horses – including an unknown number that once roamed freely on our public lands – are shipped to their deaths in foreign slaughterhouses each year is an unnecessary betrayal of the animals that helped us build our country and continue to serve humanity. RTF applauds Representatives Schakowsky and Buchanan for recognizing the public’s overwhelming opposition to horse slaughter and continuing this bipartisan fight for the good of America’s horses and for human health.”

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Although slaughter of horses for human consumption is currently illegal in the United States, the ban is temporary and subject to annual congressional review. No federal law exists to prohibit the transport of horses across American borders for slaughter in Canada or Mexico. More than 100,000 American horses are exported to Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Those horses are butchered and then transported overseas for consumption in Japan, Italy and other countries. More than 90 percent of these horses were healthy and in good condition.

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