A Government Accountability Office report issued earlier this year showed a gaping loophole in APHIS oversight of horses being transported for slaughter. The regulations for humane transport only covered horses during the final leg of their journey when they were bound for the slaughterhouse. The slaughter industry was getting around the regulations by stopping at feedlots near the Mexican border so that very little of that final leg would take place on American soil.
The amended regulation covers horses in all phases of the journey to slaughter.
We are amending the regulations regarding the commercial
transportation of equines to slaughter to add a definition of equine
for slaughter and make other changes that will extend the protections
afforded by the regulations to equines bound for slaughter but
delivered first to an assembly point, feedlot, or stockyard. This
action will further ensure the humane treatment of such equines by
helping to ensure that the unique and special needs of equines in
commercial transportation to slaughter are met.
These regulations include specific requirements for food and water, veterinary care and general humane handling. It also prohibits transportation of horses that are “not fit for travel.” Slaughter-bound equines cannot be transported in double-decker trailers under these regulations. The law will be enforced by APHIS and state officials.
The APHIS has no transportation rules for horses that are not bound for slaughter.
Click here to read the full rule, including comments submitted during the rule’s review period.