Federal Lawmakers Seek to Ban Horse Export for Processing

by | 03.13.2013 | 6:48pm
Horse Slaughter Auction

Federal lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have pulled together to draft a bill banning export of horses for slaughter in Mexico and Canada, as well as the sale of horsemeat derived from domestic horses to international vendors.

The bills were introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Patrick Meehan (Pa.) and Jan Schakowsky (Ill.) and in the U.S. Senate by Mary Landrieu (La.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) as the Safeguard American Food Exports Act of 2013. Legislators say the basis for their concern is the presence of phenylbutazone and other drugs in most American horses that could be harmful if ingested by humans.

The measures came in response to a request by New Mexico businessman Rick De Los Santos to place USDA personnel at his Valley Meat Company for inspections to allow the plant to begin processing horsemeat. Blair Dunn, attorney for De Los Santos, said that if passed, the bills would be detrimental to horses as well as to his client.

“It puts into the mix another 200,000 horses (currently exported from the U.S. to Mexico and Canada for processing annually) that we don't know what to do with,” Dunn told The Horse.

Read more at The Horse

  • ziggypop

    Perhaps breeders need to stop “puppy mill-izing” their horses. Is there any reason why 100,000 quarter horses are bred every year?

  • nu-fan

    For all of those who have been voicing opposition to the slaughtering of horses as well as, in particular, the transportation, etc. of horses bound for slaughter by crossing our borders, this is the time to get involved by asking these Representatives what you can do to help them pass this bill. None of them represent my state but I bet they wouldn’t object to anyone outside their state offering any assistance that might be useful and needed. Especially glad to see Linsey Graham involved. He is respected by many, even those of us on the West Coast. This looks like a fairly broad bill. What to do with the excess horses? Well, when the hand gets forced, solutions will finally need to be considered–seriously!

  • giftoffaith

    I totally agree with ziggypop and nu-fan, overbreeding is he main problem. Theses horses are being bred like this is a puppymill. Thoroughbreds are being bred with the hopes of moneymaking and when they don’t, they are cast aside and another bred to take it’s place. They are treated as disposable trash. Then the last couple of dollars has to be obtained by sending them on this horrendous trip. I believe in humane euthanasia I believe in the idea I read about, a facility where a low cost euthanasia is performed and the bodies buried there and possibly used as compost or something. I’m sure we can figure something out. I believe that most people want to do right by their horses. We will come up with a solution once the easy way out is no longer available or legal.

  • Genellen

    Like so many issues, the problem of “unwanted” horses has multiple causes, associated catastrophes, and a myriad of “solutions.” But that these legislators finally found some hook to hang their hats on is very encouraging. When I was active on this issue a few years ago, I remember Alex Brown of alexbrownracing.com bringing up the aspect of Bute in racehorses as being toxic to humans and therefore a potential factor in consuming American horseflesh abroad. Finally this seems to be surfacing as a legitimate angle. I will support these legislators and convey my support to my own legislators in my state, as well.

    • nu-fan

      Yes, there is no one cause or just one solution but a number of them to this very serious issue. To have only one solution–that I so often see–overlooks some other possible better ones. Why eliminate them? I am glad to see that you are also going to actively support this bill and these legislators. Some have good wishes but I’ve always tried to operate under the idea of “make it happen!”

  • Allan

    We know what to do with these unwanted horses if they can’t be placed in new homes or adopted. It is called euthanasia, a far better solution than slaughter. Owners of horses need to do the responsible thing, not the cheapest. If they can’t do that, they shouldn’t own a horse.

  • At least an clear message.

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