Animal Wellness Action, Partners Call on Congress to Include Horse Slaughter Ban in Upcoming Farm Bill

Animal Wellness Action, the Animal Wellness Foundation, and the Center for a Humane Economy called on U.S. House and Senate Agriculture Committee Leaders to include a permanent ban on horse slaughter in the 2023 Farm bill.

Earlier this month, a joint investigation and analysis conducted by the Center for a Humane Economy, Animal Wellness Action, and Animals’ Angels revealed that the extraterritorial slaughter of American horses is rapidly waning, but it’s still a merciless journey for around 20,000 American horses a year.

 The report may be accessed by this link:


  • The report shows that horses are opportunistically obtained by “kill buyers,” kept in bare-minimum survival conditions at holding facilities and transported as standing cargo in trucks jam-packed with horses. The horses are butchered at slaughter plants in Canada and Mexico destined for small and shrinking pockets of other nations. The number of American horses destined for slaughterhouses has gone from 350,000 in 1990 to 20,000 in 2022.
  • The report finds that the instant a horse is designated a “kill horse,” handling and treatment deteriorate from horses previously treated as companions or working animals. The kill horses have limited value while alive, and inputs in the form of feeding, watering, and care only diminish.
  • The report summarizes independent findings from investigations carried out at auctions, feedlots, and slaughter plants. All locations selected for this report were chosen based on 15 years of investigating the horse slaughter industry.
  • Combined with greater awareness of food safety problems and animal cruelty concerns, foreign demand has decreased, especially in Europe.
  • Killing and butchering horses for human consumption was halted in the United States in 2007 through a series of legislative and judicial actions and has not resumed.
  • The impact of the EU ban of Mexican horse meat and the general decrease in demand for the meat were evident.

In broad terms, there is no enforcement structure to ensure compliance with state anti-cruelty laws and federal transport regulations.

The horse slaughter infrastructure is driven not by any sort of concern for “a surplus” of American equines or a caring or even practical instinct to find a population equilibrium for our domestic population, but by opportunistic collection of horses in the United States and by a diminishing foreign demand.

The field work for the investigation lasted six months and wrapped up in late January.  In the 117th Congress Reps, Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Vern Buchanan, R-Fla, and Senators Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., introduced legislation to codify a horse slaughter ban in the U.S. and to ban live exports of horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) whose mission is to help animals by promoting laws and regulations at federal, state and local levels that forbid cruelty. The group champions causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife, and it advocates against dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty. It also confronts factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, Animal Wellness Action promotes enacting good public policies and monitors the enforcement of those in place. To enact good laws, the group believes citizens must elect good lawmakers, and it helps educate voters on which candidates care about animal issues as well as those who are hostile to them. Animal Wellness Action believes helping animals helps us all.

 Center for a Humane Economy is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(3) whose mission is to help animals by helping forge a more humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both. The Center believes helping animals helps us all.

 Animal Wellness Foundation is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization whose mission is to help animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. The group organizes rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless pets find a loving caregiver. The Foundation advocates for getting veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promoting responsible pet ownership; and vaccinating animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. They also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and alleviate suffering. The Animal Wellness Foundation believes helping animals helps us all.

Contact: Marty Irby
Animal Wellness Action

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