Editor’s Note: Along with this announcement, on Tuesday (May 16), the “Final Stretch Alliance to End Horse Slaughter” issued a joint letter to congressional leaders, calling for passage of the SAFE Act to end the slaughter of American horses.
Columbus, OH — On Tuesday (May 16), a diverse group of equine industry and animal welfare organizations that includes the U.S. Trotting Association announced “The Final Stretch Alliance to End Horse Slaughter” – a collaborative effort to permanently ban the slaughter of American horses.
“We strongly support congressional efforts to end the legal pipeline of U.S. horses being transported outside of the United States for slaughter and human consumption,” said USTA Executive Vice President Mike Tanner. “This loophole enables bad actors to take advantage of horses and horse owners in vulnerable situations who should not have to fear that selling or donating their horse might mean unintentionally placing them in the horsemeat pipeline. The existence of this loophole also stymies programs and organizations working to provide more suitable options for care of our retired Standardbreds.”
In an open letter to congressional leaders, including U.S. Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Mitch McConnell (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. To read the letter, click here.
The supporting members of the “Final Stretch Alliance to End Horse Slaughter” include: the U.S. Trotting Association, The Jockey Club, 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, and Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation.
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 Thoroughbred Triple Crown 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 percent) 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 laws shut 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.