WASHINGTON—Today, a diverse group of equine industry and animal welfare organizations announced the Final Stretch Alliance to End Horse Slaughter—a collaborative effort to permanently ban the slaughter of American horses. In an open letter to congressional leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the alliance urged federal lawmakers to pass the Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act (H.R.3355/S.2732) to permanently ban horse slaughter in the U.S. and end the export of American horses for slaughter in other countries.
The supporting members of the Final Stretch Alliance to End Horse Slaughter coalition include: The Jockey Club, the U.S. Trotting Association, the Stronach Group, the Breeders’ Cup, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, The Jockey’s Guild, the New York Racing Association, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, the Maryland Horse Council, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), the Animal Welfare Institute, the Humane Society of the United States, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation, and many other industry voices.
Despite congressional efforts that have effectively blocked the operation of horse slaughterhouses on U.S. soil since 2007, tens of thousands of American horses continue to be shipped to Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses that supply other countries with horsemeat. With the Triple Crown horse racing season underway and public attention on equine sports, equine industry and welfare groups are calling on federal lawmakers to take action during this critical moment by passing the SAFE Act to end this sad chapter in American history.
In the open letter, the groups highlight a recent poll indicating that an overwhelming majority of Americans (83%) oppose horse slaughter. The letter explains how, despite robust, innovative partnerships between equine industry and welfare groups to support horses transitioning between careers, the looming threat of the horse slaughter pipeline continues to significantly harm industry, enthusiasts, and adoption organizations:
“Racing industry groups have demonstrated real leadership in committing resources for aftercare and career transition programs, instituting and enforcing track policies against sale to slaughter, and spearheading state and federal policies prohibiting horse slaughter. These programs are critical, but until the law shuts down the slaughter pipeline itself, no horse, no matter how beloved or decorated, will be truly safe.”
The SAFE Act would close this legal loophole to stop the funneling of American horses to slaughter for human consumption abroad. Introduced by a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers, the SAFE Act is currently sponsored by nearly half of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States: “We’re pleased to have so many horse racing leaders and organizations join with us to end the slaughter of American horses by pressing Congress to pass the SAFE Act. We’ve never been closer to our goal of ending this repugnant industry. These influential horse racing industry voices, joined with ours, will have a major impact. The sooner we can get this bill across the finish line the better. No person of good conscience can support horse slaughter.”
Sara Amundson, president of Humane Society Legislative Fund: “Only 10 years ago, 166,000 American horses were exported abroad to be slaughter for human consumption. As a direct result of our collective efforts, those numbers have dropped to 23,431 in 2021, but one horse lost to the slaughter pipeline is still too many. Horse slaughter is a predatory industry that takes advantage of horse owners and enthusiasts, and brings nothing but misery and suffering to horses. Public disapproval of its cruelties has never been higher, and we’re pleased to join with our racing industry partners to call on Congress to take decisive action to end it forever.”