Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2011 aims to ban horses in double-decker trailers

Double decker livestock trailer
Double-decker trailers are intended for smaller livestock such as cattle and pigs and aren’t considered safe or humane for equines.

Following the Government Accountability Office report on equine welfare and horse slaughter, members of Congress have taken a step toward improving conditions for horses in transport.

On June 27, 2011 Senator Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Senator Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., introduced S. 1281, the Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2011. If passed, the bill would prohibit interstate transport of horses in double-decker trailers for any reason. Those trailers are designed for shorter livestock such as cattle and pigs. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

The bill states, in part:

No person may transport, or cause to be transported, a horse from a place in a State, the District of Columbia, or a territory or possession of the United States through or to a place in another State, the District of Columbia, or a territory or possession of the United States in a motor vehicle containing 2 or more levels stacked on top of each other.

This is not the first time that legislation to outlaw horse transport in double-decker trailers has been proposed. In 2009, Senator Kirk, then a Representative, sponsored H.R. 305, the Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2009. However, that bill was never put to a vote of the full House of Representatives.

“It is time that we put an end to the inhumane practice of using double-decker trailers to transport horses,” said Sen. Kirk. “Stacking these animals one atop the other in a moving vehicle is simply an accident waiting to happen. It is not only a cruel way to transport horses, but it also puts human lives at risk.”

The full text of the bill is available at


  1. NYS was the first law in the country to ban transport in double decker trailers in 1978. I remember it well and advocated for it. In fact, got arrested for stopping a double decker on Northway. Problem is enforcement. Fine too low 500 and the law should reach impoundment and destruction of vehicle for the price of scrap metal so there is no chance of reoffending which has been a problem.

  2. Just wish they would stop any horse transport period. You are so totally right, law is one thing, enforcing it is another thing. My Rep will hear from me, with a request to support S1281,
    even if he doesn’t support no transport across USA borders.


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