With the dawn of a new Congress comes a new opportunity to protect America’s horses. A bipartisan team of lawmakers—U.S. Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL)—introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act(H.R. 875)yesterday,January 30, signaling a strong resolve to make this the last year that our beloved equine companions are shipped across our borders for slaughter for human consumption.
The SAFE Act would ban horse slaughter in the U.S., as well as the export of our horses for slaughter abroad. Each year that goes by without a federal ban in place sees approximately 80,000 equines sent to Mexico and Canada for slaughter.
Recent reports detailed how people posing as reputable buyers take horses from loving homes and funnel them into the slaughter pipeline for profit. In one instance, an individual did this to more than 50 horses—further revealing the sinister nature of this predatory industry. If given the chance, those horses could have found new homes.
Research published in 2017 revealed that there are 2.3 million adults with both the resources and the desire to adopt a horse right now. There is much work to be done to connect at-risk horses with new homes, but we will only get this opportunity if horse slaughter ends.
There is reason to be hopeful. Many new programs are coming on line for horses who are at risk, more people than ever are working to prevent slaughter, and we are seeing far fewer horses enter the pipeline than in years past.
Last congressional session, a historic number of lawmakers co-sponsored this lifesaving legislation—more than half of the U.S. House of Representatives. With a strong leadership team and a fresh slate in Congress, this could be the year that we finally show horses the respect they deserve.
Now is the time to get to work. Lawmakers need to hear that you care about equine welfare and agree that it is simply time to END this industry. Until slaughter is illegal, the welfare of our horses is in jeopardy. Congress must know that this session, protecting our nation’s horses from this grisly fate is a top priority.
Visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center to contact your U.S. Representative in Washington, D.C., and urge him or her to co-sponsor the 2019 SAFE Act to protect America’s Horses. SIGN HERE!