June 26, 2019, Washington D.C. (USA): U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) recently introduced bipartisan legislation to permanently prohibit and make it a federal crime to slaughter horses for human consumption in the United States. The legislation also bans any related interstate or foreign commercial activity, such as the export of horsemeat or the transport of horses to slaughterhouses in other countries.
The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act was previously introduced August 2, 2017 as the John Stringer Rainey Memorial Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (US Bill #S1706). The bill’s intent to deem equine parts to be an unsafe food additive or animal drug and to prohibit the knowing sale or transport of equines or equine parts for human consumption. It was defeated December 31, 2018.
The new legislation (US Bill #2006) differs slightly with inclusion of a clause designating horse slaughter for human consumption as a federal crime punishable by up to two years in prison.
While the slaughtering of horses for human consumption in the United States is exceedingly rare, data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reveals that over 100,000 American horses are exported to Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses each year.
The bill would amend Title 18 of the U.S. Code. It will be introduced to the Senate Judiciary Committee of which Graham is the chair.
Photo Credit: Kevin McCoy, CC BY-SA 2.0