Photo by Kristina Loggiaa - Robert Redford serves on the Board of Directors for Return to Freedom.

Robert Redford serves on the Board of Directors for Return to Freedom. Photo by Kristina Loggiaa

On April 22, 2015, legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives. The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) ACT (H.R. 1942), was introduced by Reps. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.).

Identical legislation was introduced in the Senate. The John Rainey Memorial Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (S. 1214) has been introduced in the Senate by Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). These bills would prevent horse slaughter operations within the U.S., and stop the sale and transport of American horses over U.S. borders to be slaughtered for foreign markets.

“On behalf of Return to Freedom Wild Horse Preservation and Sanctuary, I applaud and express our gratitude to Senators Bob Menendez, Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins and Barbara Mikulski for expediently introducing federal legislation that will protect America’s wild and domestic horses from the brutality of horse slaughter and the horrors they suffer when such an industry is allowed to exist” said Robert Redford.

“America is the home of the horse. People come to America to find freedom, and the horse helped us build this free nation. We are not a horse-eating culture, we are a horse-loving people. To kill the horse is simply un-American. We as a people are ready to implement solutions for the challenges facing our wild iconic mustangs, as we provide education and sanctuaries which support respect and a good life for all of America’s horses”.

America is home to more than 9 million horses. In 2014, approximately 140,000 American horses were brutally slaughtered for food in foreign countries. In glaring contrast, an estimated 900,000 horses are humanely euthanized and disposed of by their owners annually.

In addition, contrary to what many assume, the USDA reported that 92 % of American horses disposed of through the slaughter pipeline were in good condition. Only a small percentage of America’s annual ratio of “discarded” horses would be candidates for retirement, sanctuary or humane euthanasia.

America’s comparatively small number of horses that are now pumped through the barbaric slaughter pipeline can be re-routed to humane and responsible alternatives. In 2012, a national poll found that 80% of Americans support a ban on horse slaughter for human consumption.

“Without a federal ban on the sale and transport of horses for slaughter, America’s horses continue to be vulnerable to abuse, irresponsible management, overbreeding, and slaughter”, said Neda DeMayo, founder and President of Return to Freedom (RTF).

“Without a federal ban on the sale and transport of horses for slaughter, America’s horses continue to be vulnerable to abuse, irresponsible management, overbreeding, and slaughter”—Neda DeMayo

“America was founded on the principles of freedom. Every achievement we have made to build this free nation was done on the backs of horses. We owe it to the horse and we owe it to future generations to focus our efforts on solutions that protect our values and resources from a disposable mind-set”.

Healthy horses along with pregnant mares, foals, injured and blind horses are forced to suffer sale yards and feed lots and are then loaded onto crowded semi-trucks and shipped for more than 24 hours at a time without food, water, or rest to slaughterhouses in Mexico or Canada. It has been documented that horses are not always stunned by the bolt to their heads and can be conscious as they are hoisted upside down, bled and gutted.

A 2012 national poll found that 80% of Americans support a ban on horse slaughter for human consumption.

In addition to the brutality of horse slaughter, horse slaughter facilities have been closed in the U.S. as a result of their negative environmental and social impact to the local communities where they operated. Also, because horses are not raised for food, they are treated with a variety of drugs and chemicals over their lifetimes that are prohibited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in animals intended for human consumption. Those drugs, although safe for horses, are potentially toxic to humans if consumed.

In December 2014, the European Union (EU) announced they were stopping all imports of horsemeat from Mexico after an audit of E.U.-Certified Mexican Horse slaughter facilities revealed sub-standard conditions for the animals and food safety issues.

Return to Freedom is asking supporters to TAKE ACTION and contact their Congressmen/women and Senators and urge them to cosponsor the SAFE Act.

Contact your Congressmen/women: (Congress: (H.R. 1942),

Contact your Senators: (S. 1214): to protect America’s wild and domestic horses from this barbaric and predatory industry once and for all.