Yesterday, United States Representatives Jan Schakowsky of Illinoisand Vern Buchanan of Floridareintroduced the Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act of 2021.This bipartisan legislation would permanently ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the United States, as well as prohibit the export of live horses to Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses to be sold overseas.
“For centuries, horses have embodied the spirit of American freedom and pride,” Congresswoman Schakowsky said in a statement. “With such a special place in our nation’s history, it’s beyond time that we end the brutal practice of slaughtering these majestic creatures as food for humans. I am proud to reintroduce the SAFE Actwith Congressman Buchanan and offer legislation that will finally close a loophole to end the slaughter of American horses for human consumption, both domestically and abroad.”
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 Canadaor Mexico.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 100,000 American horses are exported to Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses each year. Those horses are subsequnetly butchered and then transported overseas for consumption in Japan, Italy, and other countries. More than 90%of these horses were healthy and in good condition.
The SAFE Act has been endorsed by the ASPCA, Animal Welfare Institute, The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society Legislative Fund, and Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation.
Cathy Liss, President of the Animal Welfare Institute, also stated that some are former racehorses who have been dosed with drugs that are considered unsafe for human consumption.
“Only nine years ago, 160,000American horses were exported abroad for slaughter. Due to awareness of this inhumane and predatory industry, that number has dropped dramatically with only 37,249 shipped to slaughter in 2020,” stated Sara Amundson, President of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, who further noted that no horses should have to be subjected to the barbaric practice. “Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Vern Buchanan have committed to passing this crucial animal and consumer protection bill which will end this grisly industry and protect these American icons from those who profit off their deaths.”
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