Carter, Fitzpatrick, Katko Amendment Offered to the INVEST Act to Ban the Transport of Slaughter-Bound Horses Within USA and Over the Borders to Canada and Mexico
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Reps. Troy Carter (D-LA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and John Katko (R-NY) introduced an amendment to H.R. 3684, the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST) Act, which would ban the transportation of slaughter-bound horses across state lines or over the borders to Canada or Mexico for butchering. If the amendment passes through the gateways of the legislative process, it will effectively put an end to the slaughtering of all U.S. horses, wild and domestic.
“Our iconic American equines drove commerce and the development of infrastructure in the first 150 years of the republic, and it’s fitting that today’s infrastructure bill pay a debt to them by halting their ruthless exploitation by kill-buyers to cart them off to Canada and Mexico for butchering.” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action, who was recently honored by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, II for his work to protect horses. “We applaud Reps. Carter, Fitzpatrick, and Katko for their tremendous leadership and work to protect the horses whose backs this country was built upon.”
“Rep. Troy Carter was a leader on animal welfare issues in the Louisiana State Senate, and he is picking right back up by leading the amendment to stop the commerce in horses for slaughter,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Center for a Humane Economy, in lauding Carter and Reps. Fitzpatrick and Katko for carrying this amendment. “Business and enterprise in our nation must be robust, but it must also be humane. Shedding horse slaughter is good for the economy and character of our nation.”
“There’s nothing humane about slaughtering horses. The entire slaughter pipeline is rife with cruelty, including the conditions during transport,” said Allondra Stevens, founder of Horses For Life Foundation. “After being purchased by kill buyers, the horses are trucked long distances to Mexico or Canada without food, water or rest. Many are injured or die in transit. A prohibition on hauling slaughter-bound horses across the USA and over our borders is long overdue. We thank U.S. Representatives Carter, Fitzpatrick, and Katko for leading this vital amendment, which will spare the suffering and lives of thousands of wild and domestic horses.”
Click here for Additional quotes from the coalition members
“After years of pressing for a ban on the slaughter of our American horses, I am thrilled with this latest development and applaud our leadership in Washington for their commitment to the issue,” said Staci Hancock, co-founder of the Water, Hay, Oats Alliance, and whose Stone Farm has raised Three Kentucky Derby winners. “It is time to end this brutal practice in the U.S. once and for all. Horses are bred for sport, competition, and companionship, not to be part of the food chain. As owners and breeders we must be the stewards of our horses’ safety and welfare. They look to us for their care and protection and to allow them to go to a horrific slaughter is unconscionable.”
"We are so very excited to have the incredible support and commitment from Reps. Carter, Katko, and Fitzpatrick in our efforts to end the ongoing extortion and destruction of our American athletes in the slaughter pipeline,” said Michelle Crawford, CEO of Crawford Farms. “Our horses give us their heart and soul throughout their careers and deserve to have an aftercare plan in place, not a trip to a kill pen and slaughterhouse so that they can become a delicacy in another country."
“It is astounding to me that our country’s beloved wild horses, who are supposed to be federally protected, are being sent to unimaginable slaughter in Mexico and Canada,” said Ashley Avis, the director behind Disney’s newly released Black Beauty film and president of the Wild Beauty Foundation. “These are mares, foals, pregnant horses, healthy horses. How is there no accountability? The abuse of the BLM’s adoption incentive program, where individuals receive $1,000 to give a mustang a home, has instead driven countless wild horses to slaughter across our borders. The system is being abused for profit, and that needs to end.”
“We applaud Reps. Carter, Katko, and Fitzpatrick for their commitment to prevent the horses we care so deeply about from ending up in the slaughter pipeline,” said Freddie Hudson, president of the U.S. Harness Racing Alumni Association. “There’s no excuse for allowing the horses who have served us in work and sport to end up as dinner fare on foreign plates, and we must ensure safety and peace in their retirement or end of life circumstances.”
“The brutality of horse slaughter has no bounds. I’ve been rescuing horses for 17 years in New Mexico and it’s business as usual to eyewitness the horrific conditions and treatment the horses are subjected to,” said Debbie Coburn, founder of Four Corners Equine Rescue. “No horse is spared, not even wild ones. Recently I bore witness to wild stallions that were castrated without the benefit of drugs and were immediately thrown onto a trailer headed for Mexico. We have to stop this. No horse should have to endure the abuse and cruelty of the slaughter pipeline.”
While horse slaughter does not currently occur on U.S. soil due to a de facto ban achieved through the appropriations process, more than 30,000 domestic and wild horses are shipped to Mexico and Canada each year to be slaughtered for human consumption in Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world.
Transporting horses to slaughter across the USA and over the borders is unsafe and has caused multiple serious accidents on American highways. As recently as October 2020, 14 horses were killed and 11 badly injured when a truck driving the animals to slaughter flipped on a highway in Franklin County, Missouri.
The Save America's Forgotten Equine (SAFE) Act, H.R.3355, was recently introduced by Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), which would prohibit horse slaughter plants from opening on U.S. soil and ban the transportation of slaughter-bound horses and over the borders. Unfortunately, enactment of the SAFE Act continues to be an uphill battle due to industrial agriculture interests and pro-slaughter members of Congress. For this reason, the Carter, Fitzpatrick, Katko amendment was introduced as an innovative pathway to end the slaughter of American equines once and for all.
Within days of the announcement, the amendment garnered over 200 endorsements from organizations, veterinarians, and equine professionals across the nation; including equine rescues, U.S. horse racing leaders, and state horse breeders associations. The list continues to grow.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) urges the Interior Department to suspend its Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Incentive Program over reports that some program participants have abandoned animals at slaughter auctions in direct opposition to the program’s requirements.
“I write with great concern regarding the New York Times article, which indicates that the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Incentive Program has provided federal incentive payments to adopters who abandoned these animals at slaughter auctions,” Senator Feinstein. “I strongly urge BLM to immediately suspend this program and conduct a thorough investigation to ensure federal funds are used to protect wild horses and burros against abuse, neglect, or slaughter, as intended by Congress.”
Full text of the letter follows:
The "Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act" Introduced in the U.S. House to Stop the Slaughter of American Equines
Congressional leaders renew their commitment to stop the slaughter of American equines
Today, U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced legislation to permanently ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act would also prohibit the export of live horses to Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses to be sold overseas.
“The slaughter of horses for human consumption is a barbaric practice that has no place in America,” Buchanan said. “I look forward to continuing to lead the effort with Congresswoman Schakowsky to ban domestic horse slaughter and end the export of horses abroad for the same purpose.”
Congresswoman Schakowsky said, “For centuries, horses have embodied the spirit of American freedom and pride. They are our companions, work partners, entertainers, and athletes. 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 Act with 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.”
The Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act
The "SAFE Act of 2021" would amend Section 5 of the Horse Protection Act (15 U.S.C. 1824) to "prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption, and for other purposes". Specific language offered to modify the HPA include:
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