Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Horse Slaughter Ban Gains Momentum

Aug 10, 2017
Press Release
Bill Attracts 150 Bipartisan Co-Sponsors

Companion Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate

WASHINGTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan’s bill to ban horse slaughter continues to build momentum with a growing list of co-sponsors and the introduction of companion legislation in the U.S. Senate, Buchanan announced today.

Buchanan’s bill would ban the killing of horses for human consumption in the U.S. and prohibit the export of live horses to Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses.

“The slaughter of horses for human consumption is a barbaric practice that must end,” Buchanan said, noting his legislation picked up its 150th co-sponsor this week, Rep. Dan Donovan, R-N.Y. “We need to build on this momentum and get this bill signed into law.”

Companion legislation to Buchanan’s SAFE Act (Safeguard American Food Exports) was introduced in the Senate this month by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I).

The SAFE Act has been endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Welfare Institute and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Although the slaughter of horses for human consumption is currently not allowed in the United States, the prohibition is temporary and subject to annual congressional review. There is no federal law prohibiting the transport of horses across American borders for slaughter in Canada or Mexico. 

More than 100,000 American horses are exported to Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Those horses are butchered and then transported overseas for consumption in Japan, Italy and other countries. More than 90 percent of these horses were healthy and in good condition.

These animals suffer abuse even before arriving at the slaughterhouse. They are often transported for long periods of time without food and water in overcrowded trailers. Once at the slaughterhouse, horses are forced into a “kill box” and then shot with a bolt gun in an attempt to stun the animal.

A national poll conducted on behalf of the ASPCA found that 80 percent of Americans favor a ban on horse slaughter and want to protect these animals from abuse.

Many humane options are available to horse owners who can no longer care for their animals, including:

  • Selling to a private owner.
  • Leasing to another horse enthusiast.
  • Donating to a therapeutic program or a mounted police unit.

Buchanan has received the U.S. Humane Society’s Legislator of the Year award for his strong record against animal cruelty.