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The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act

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Download H.R. 1094 PDF

Americans Against Horse Slaughter applauds Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Congressman Patrick Meehan (R-PA) and Congress women Jan Schakowski (D-IL) for co-sponsoring and introducing federal legislation - The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act which if passed, will ban horse slaughter in the U.S. as well as the export of horses to other countries to be slaughtered for human consumption.

 In a recent statement AAHS obtained from the Senator's office, the Senator underscored her commitment to end this brutal practice:

"The practice of horse slaughter for human consumption is revolting to me as a horse owner, but also as a consumer. Horses are not raised for human consumption, and they are frequently treated with drugs and chemicals that are toxic when ingested by humans. Especially in light of the European horse meat contamination scandals, we must ensure that our food supply at home is not tainted with horse meat, nor should we supply an unsafe food product to foreign industries. I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce the SAFE Act to end the slaughter of one of the world’s most beloved animals and help protect public health."
Senator Mary Landrieu

~ Informational Links on H.R. 1094, the SAFE Act ~
The Humane Society of the United States: "National Animal Welfare Groups, Veterinarians and Horse Owners Applaud Federal Efforts to Protect Horses and the Public"

ABC News/Habitat for Horses: "BREAKING NEWS: Save the Horses! Three Lawmakers Will Try to Ban Slaughter for Food"

Act Now!

It is now time to band together to end this brutal practice. Please take a moment to call your two U.S. Senators and your Representative and tell them you support The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE Act) and ask them to cosponsor bill numbers SB 541 & HR 1094.

Please call your members of Congress to find out when their next town hall meet is. You will need to call your Congressional members district offices at least once a week to get their current schedule. Speak up and let them know that horse slaughter is not acceptable and that any representative that supports it will not have your vote. Always be polite and respectful. But SHOW UP!!! Sitting behind a computer and signing petitions will only get us so far. We need more.

This newest event has brought horse slaughter to the forefront and we now have many more people aware of the situation. Our membership has grown by leaps and bounds just in the last week. Let’s use that to our advantage and strike while the issue is in the news!

Debra and Shelley

Thank you in advance for your unwavering support and commitment throughout the years. Good luck with your calls and God speed...
~ Americans Against Horse Slaughter ~



~ Previous Legislation ~

Background Information on Horse Slaughter


In 2011, there was an annual Appropriations Bill which was basically a spending bill that encompassed spending in all areas of our government. Each year Congress must pass 13 appropriations bill to fund the various federal agencies. For several years Congress has been unable to pass individual bills so they have been passing packages of bills, which is what happened. This bill included funding for the USDA, Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice. It was necessary in order to keep the government afloat. These bills in some form pass every year. It was never a “horse slaughter bill”. There was actually no reference to horse slaughter in the entire bill. But here is how and why it impacted our horses:

In 2006 Congress put language in the Agriculture Appropriations Bill that cut off funding for horse meat inspections and for five years it stayed that way. That meant that no government money could be spent for inspections in horse slaughter plants. It was always supposed to be a short term fix until we got Federal legislation passed to end horse slaughter and the transport of our horses to slaughter in the U.S. or outside of the country. While we have made some headway and bills have been introduced in both the House and the Senate, we have been unable to get those bills out of committee and to the floor for a vote.

In 2011, two pro slaughter members of Congress quietly lifted the 5-year-old ban on funding horse meat inspections by taking out the language inserted in 2006. It did not, however, allocate any new money to pay for horse meat inspections, which could cost taxpayers $5 million or more dollars a year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture would have to find the money in its existing budget, which is expected to see more cuts as Congress and the White House attempt to trim federal spending. The USDA will also have to take food safety and animal welfare inspectors away from our own food supply oversight.

It was so imperative to pass this Appropriations Bill and keep the government running that even many of our allies and sponsors of the anti slaughter legislation had to sign it, as did the President. 

Passing Federal Legislation to end horse slaughter would have made the Appropriations Bill meaningless. The American Horse Slaughter Prevention bills had already been introduced in both the House and the Senate. With enough cosponsors, we would have had a better chance of getting those bills to the floor for a vote.

Previous Horse Slaughter Bills:


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January 12, 2010

Chairman John Conyers, Jr. issued a statement today thanking all the members of Americans Against Horse Slaughter (AAHS) for their unwavering support of HR503, 
The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2005:

 “The transportation and slaughter of horses for human consumption is cruel and inhumane, and I intend to continue my efforts to stop this terrible practice.  We now have 176 cosponsors to H.R. 503,and support for the bill continues to grow.  The support of Americans Against Horse Slaughter (AAHS) is critical to passage, and I appreciate and commend their efforts.”  


  Madeleine Pickens, Up Close and Personal
Animal Advocate Television's Unedited Interview 8.12.2011



By John Holland

Shawsville, Va.

Times-Gazette readers should know that they are reading a very special publication. Following an article by guest columnist Bill Horne titled Law causes additional problems, The Times-Gazette became aware that the premise of the article was incorrect and that a proposed federal law against horse slaughter (which Horne blamed for assorted woes) has never been passed.

What makes The Times-Gazette unusual is that the newspaper actually published a retraction and set the record straight. As a writer and horse lover, I belong to a small group that monitors stories on horse slaughter and tries to get such stories corrected. Doing this is like nailing Jell-o to a tree. Occasionally, we get equal space for a response, but this is one of only two retractions I have seen in six years.

The slaughter issue was complicated enough before the larger agriculture industry concluded that a ban on horse slaughter would be merely the first step on the slippery slope to vegan domination. As a result, lobbyists and PR agencies have been working overtime to spin the reality and to convince Americans that they need to give up their instinctive feeling that horse slaughter is wrong. To do this, they try to convince us that an end to slaughter would be bad for the horses themselves.

In February of 2007, after a prolonged legal battle, the courts upheld a Texas law against the selling of horse meat for human consumption. The two Texas plants were forced to close. Almost immediately, an AP article was carried in dozens of papers worldwide claiming that horses grazing on a reclaimed strip mine in Eastern Kentucky had been abandoned there because of the reduction in slaughter over recent years. It claimed Kentucky was "awash" in unwanted horses.

The Kentucky story, like Mr. Horne's, was based on a false premise. The horses were not abandoned. Ironically, the horses at the strip mine had been the subject of yet another Associated Press story only a month earlier when teenagers had shot several of them. Yet, when presented with their own story identifying the ownership of the horses, the AP stonewalled and refused to even acknowledge the criticism. To this day, and despite denials from the state police to the governor, articles still appear referring to the plight of the abandoned horses in Kentucky.

In September the last plant, Cavel, was closed by a new Illinois law against slaughtering horses for human consumption. This event set off a torrent of stories about all the problems being caused by a lack of slaughter.

An AP story from the Oregonian claimed that abandoned horses were a "growing dilemma" for ranchers. It told of a Mr. McKenzie who had nine horses dumped on his farm, and it quoted an under-sheriff Wolfe about how hard it was to determine who dumped such horses.

But Wolfe's incident report showed that only one horse had been reported (by McKenzie's granddaughter) and even that was determined to be unfounded. County records for a three-year period showed no such abandonment cases. Did the Oregonian print a retraction? Nope! Faced with the document showing their story to be false, they said they were "standing behind their reporter."

The complete inaccuracy of these stories made no difference to Senator Larry Craig either. He announced on the Senate floor that these reports were the reason he was blocking the AHSPA (American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act). It was only then that the full strategy of the disinformation campaign became apparent.

Since that time there have been countless stories butchering the facts at almost the same rate as the horses dying in abattoirs abroad. Some stories claim that the price of horses has dropped to almost nothing because of the plant closings. Still other stories insist horses are being neglected and starved for the same reason. And while there are areas in which these problems have increased, it has nothing to do with the plant closings. Yes, some breeders are struggling economically but that is not because they can't sell their culls for slaughter, it is because of the high price of hay and corn, staples of the equine diet. Ethanol anyone?

Yes, the U.S.-based slaughterhouses have been closed, but American horses are being exported to Mexico and Canada for slaughter in numbers almost identical to those before the plant closings. Within a week of its closing, Cavel's Belgian parent company, Velda LLC, was contracting with the much larger Natural Valley Farms plant in Woosley, SK Canada to kill its horses. As a result, Canadian slaughter almost doubled in one month and American horses were soon being butchered at the same rate as before the closings according to U.S. Department of Agriculture records.

The confusion caused by this disinformation is made worse because horse slaughter is an emotionally charged issue with a complicated history. For example, there was a budget amendment passed by Congress to shut down the horse slaughter plants by removing the funding for required inspections. This should have shuttered the U.S. plants in March 2006, but the USDA instituted a pay-for-inspections program that kept the plants going until the state laws finally ran them to ground. This might have been the seed of Mr. Horne's factually challenged article.

How much of the present misunderstanding of the horse slaughter issue is due to intentional disinformation and how much is just confusion caused by that disinformation is impossible to know. But if we are to make informed decisions on this and other important issues, we must have solid information. If other publications would follow The Times-Gazette’s lead and return to responsible journalism, we might have a chance.

John Holland is a freelance writer and the author of three books. He writes frequently on the subject of horse slaughter from his small farm in the mountains of Virginia where he lives with his wife, Sheilah, and their 12 equines.


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