Edited Press Release
Participants—including actress Wendie Malick from “Hot in Cleveland” and sports commentator Bonnie-Jill Laflin—met with elected officials to seek their support in passing the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act. John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association; Stacia Klein Madden, ASPCA Equine Welfare Ambassador and award-winning equestrian and trainer; and representatives from Omega Horse Rescue also participated in the event.
This bill would prevent the resumption of horse slaughter operations in the United States, end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming potentially toxic horse meat due to the many undocumented drugs given to horses that can be dangerous to humans if ingested. The shocking discovery of horse meat in beef products in the European Union underscores the threat to American health, consumer confidence, and the reputation of the entire U.S. meat industry that could result if this practice is brought back to this country.
Opponents of the bill argue that without legal horse slaughter in America, horses are subject to neglect or shipment to foreign slaughterhouses where treatment is even less humane. But increasing concerns about the implications of American horse slaughter for both equines and humans have helped the anti-slaughter side gain a stronger foothold.
“The practice of horse slaughter for human consumption is revolting to me as a horse owner, but also as a consumer,” said Sen. Landrieu. “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.”
Watch as Sen. Mary Landrieu explains her stance against commercial horse slaughter during 2013’s Horses on the Hill event.
“Horses are not bred for human consumption,” said Rep. Meehan. “Horses are routinely treated with drugs over the course of their lifetimes that are toxic to humans if ingested. At a time when the U.S. Department of Agriculture is threatening to furlough meat inspectors due to budget cuts, American taxpayers should not be subsidizing horse meat inspections for the foreign export market.”
“Those attending this year’s Horses on the Hill event represent the diversity of elected officials, organizations and individuals behind ending slaughter,” said Chris Heyde, deputy director of government and legal affairs for AWI. “Professional equestrians, horse owners and activists, farmers, horse rescues, and welfare organizations are here to speak out for the tens of thousands of horses that continue to be slaughtered every year while a few in Congress stubbornly oppose a bill that is widely supported in Congress and by the American public. Ending horse slaughter has been one of the most widely supported animal protection issues in decades; it is time to pass the SAFE Act.”