Federal Laws Regulating Horse Slaughter

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Recently a major topic of debate is that of horse slaughter in the United States. For many years the United States upheld legislation such as the Horse Protection Act of 1970, which maintained a stance that protected horses from being consumed in America. Currently, lawmakers haven taken this position of protecting horses for human consumption a step further with the passing of the Safeguard American Food Exports Act (SAFE Act). Despite the efforts of the Horse Protection and SAFE acts, there are multiple stakeholders across the United States that hold very different positions and therefore prohibit the implementation of legislation.
The primary bill that was passed to end horse slaughter was the Horse Protection Act, which was originally introduced in 1970 and last amended in 2011. The original Horse Protection act prohibited “horses subjected to a practice called soring from participating in shows, sales, exhibitions, or auctions” (USDA). The Horse Protection act was amended in 2011 to include the prohibition of “ the shipping, selling, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of any horse or other equine to be slaughtered for human consumption” (Horse Protection Act of 2011). This new amendment, more importantly, examines the intrastate commerce of horses being transported for human consumption.
An additional bill currently making its way through the House and Senate is the Safeguard American Food Exports Act of 2013. This bill has not passed yet. The bill advocates, “to prevent human health treats posed by the consumption of equines raised in the United States (Safeguard American Food Exports Act). The position of the US government on the issue of horse slaughter has been that “unlike cow...

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