New York is now the first state in the U.S. to specifically ban the slaughter of racehorses. On December 1, 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul signed S.1442B/A.4154B into law. Led by state Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, the measure prohibits thoroughbred and standardbred racehorses and breeding stock to be commercially slaughtered for human consumption.
The new law also makes it illegal for any person or entity to sell, barter, purchase, possess, transport, or receive a horse for the "intent of slaughtering" it. If properly enforced, no New York racehorses will be shipped over U.S. borders for slaughter or end up in kill pens. Violations are punishable with a criminal misdemeanor charge, as well as a $1,000 per horse or $2,500 per business entity for first violations, as well as the possible loss of a license to be engaged in racing in the state. Fines collected will go the State Breeding Fund to be allocated to racehorse aftercare programs.
Additional provisions within the bill require all racehorses to be microchipped and registered with the Jockey Club, which will assist in identifying horses that end up in the slaughter pipeline and who their owners are. The legislation also increases access to funding for appropriate care of retired race horses by ensuring that monies generated by enforcement will be dedicated to the aftercare of retired race horses, and allows New York individuals and corporations to make voluntary contributions dedicated to funding aftercare programs.