Wild horses photographed at the Adobe Town Herd Management Area in September. RTF file photo by Steve Paige.

Twenty-one members of the House of Representatives on Thursday sent a letter to House leadership calling for the continuation of a temporary ban on horse slaughter.

“Horse slaughter threatens public health, is strongly opposed by the vast majority of Americans, has no American market and benefits foreign interests,” the group wrote in a letter addressed to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen. “Our American values support the protection of these animals; our federal policies should continue to reflect that.”

The letter was organized by Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Florida. Those who signed the letter are urging House leaders to accept Senate language on horse slaughter.

In the absence of a permanent ban on slaughter, Congress has previously included language in Agriculture appropriations bills barring U.S. Department of Agriculture to hire horsemeat inspectors — the so-called horse slaughter defund amendment.

Last July, however, the House Appropriations rejected that amendment for the Fiscal Year 2018 bill. The Senate Appropriations Committee did include a defund amendment in its Agriculture appropriations bill.

Buchanan is also the author of a bill that would permanently ban horse slaughter. The House version of the SAFE Act (HR 113), which would ban both slaughter snd the transportation of horses to slaughter. The bill has attracted 202 bipartisan co-sponors. The Senate version of the bill (S. 1706) has 27 co-sponsors.

To read the House letter and see the full list of House members who signed it, click here.


The 2007 shuttering of the last horse slaughterhouse in the United States has done nothing to keep American horses and burros from foreign killing floors or decrease the risk to human health from eating horse meat.

An average of 127,000 horses — including an unknown number of wild horses — were trucked to their deaths in Mexico and Canada from 2008-2015, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Once beyond our borders and the USDA regulations, horses can face brutal and terrifying deaths in antiquated facilities.

Because American horses are not raised to be eaten, they frequently are given medications banned for human consumption by the USDA and European Union.

No U.S. regulations require the sharing of information about substances previously ingested by a horse up for auction. There, horses are often purchased by “kill” buyers with the intent on sending them to slaughter.

More than 90 percent of these exported horses are in “good” condition, according to the USDA.


Take Action


Click here to donate to support RTF’s advocacy efforts on behalf of wild horses and burros on the range and in government holding facilities, as well as selective litigation and the monitoring of wild horse roundups by RTF humane witnesses.