1. As currently drafted, H.R. 3475 has received no specific opposition to adding a prohibition against "animal consumption" or to the bill in general.
Why then isn’t “animal consumption” being added? Equine industry leaders* have submitted an endorsement statement calling for the:
“…ban of horse slaughter once and for all.”
“…against companion animal slaughter”
“…98% support permanently banning equine slaughter in the U.S. for any purpose (including food, dog food, skin products, etc.)"
“…long overdue measure to help equines.”
Accordingly, the horse industry joins us in calling for full protection against all horse slaughter both human and animal! Who could be against it? And why?
2. Advocates for amending the bill have been positioned as opposing the passage of the SAFE Act and been referred to as the opposition.
Yet advocates for amending have consistently gone on record using “amend and support” as their position and intent.
3. Non-legislative sponsors defend not addressing “animal food” by consistently stating that no “large-scale” slaughter will resume in the U.S.
Advocates for amending have never stated that licensed USDA Commercial horse slaughter facilities of the 90’s would be reinstated. However, by only prohibiting live export, it leaves every other possible conduit as an unaddressed real and present danger. Unaddressed means legal until legally prohibited. This would leave state custom exempt slaughter plants (not requiring federal inspections) viable for domestic horse slaughter for the purposes, including but not limited to, disposal/eradication from Tribal lands and zoo/sanctuary food.
4. Non-legislative sponsors state that horses will not be slaughtered by Native Tribes but add, “except for religious exceptions.” Advocates for amending have never to date publicly listed Native Tribes religious exceptions which is broader than an exemption (basically “above the law”) for any “Indian” involved in “an activity” for “religious ceremonies” but would also not rule out an old obscure religious ritual involving killing horses surfacing.
o Native American organizations such as the NCAI and NTHC have written multiple consensus resolutions and recent position letters stating their intent/desire to slaughter through custom plants the 100,000 horses on reservations and public lands today as well as opposition to “any and all anti-horse slaughter legislation.”
o Native Tribes have just been given $125 million+ through the federal Cares Act to build custom slaughter plants on reservations to encourage revitalizing slaughter of indigenous animals for food. There is no guarantee that "horse" won’t/can't be added to the list of species that are currently being considered for custom slaughter under indigenous foods or rituals.
o Native Tribes are sovereign which means they only answer to federal and tribal law. If prohibitions are not put in H.R. 3475, Native Tribes are exempt from any state, local or municipal laws. Therefore, if slaughter prohibition is not included for animal food in federal law, custom exempt horse slaughter is legal unless prohibited by the state.
5. Non-legislative sponsors state that the horses can’t be slaughtered because meat would have to be U.S.D.A. inspected.
FACT: There is no federal meat inspection required for “custom exempt slaughter.”
6. Non-legislative sponsors state there is no market for horse meat.
FACT: The majority of 2,500 accredited and unaccredited zoos feed horse meat now at zoos/sanctuaries/refuges by importing horse meat shipped from Canada.
FACT: The same Safe Act non-legislative sponsors introduced and supported the language in the failed 2023 Colorado Horse Slaughter Bill earlier this year trading off export for human consumption for exempting custom slaughter of horses domestically for zoo/sanctuary food. Has the same deal/understanding/trade-off/intentional omission been extended to the federal bill? Not if “animal consumption” is included! Shockingly some animal activists are not against all horse slaughter and are very unclear on the concept that the overriding issue is the horse is not a food animal and should not be slaughtered, period. As if it makes any difference to the horse if slaughtered for human or animal food? Slaughter is slaughter!
7. Non-legislative sponsors justify not including “animal consumption” stating that none of the past Safe Act bills included this language.
FACT: New York just recently passed precedent legislation prohibiting the slaughter of horses for any reason human or animal. More importantly H.R. 3475 will be the long-anticipated federal legislation that will stand as precedent protection for American horses for the ages. And, after 23 years in congress, the bill will not be fixed or changed later. The time is now. Now or never. The federal law must be more stringent and give horses full protection and supersede any compromising state efforts now or in the future.
8. Non-legislative sponsors state that “at this moment” there is no real threat of domestic custom horse slaughter being reinstated after 16 years of cessation.
Advocates for amending argue that there are multiple very real threats and viable conduits waiting in the wings now. Human consumption has been the largest economic incentive, and only after it is removed will other conduits take its place if “animal” food is not also prohibited in the federal bill.
9. Non-legislative sponsors say dealers who have long skirted the law will not just find a way to continue to take horses across borders under the guise of “animal food.” They state this will not happen as there is no market.
Advocates for amending flag the fact that there is enough of a market that hundreds of millions of dollars are currently being pumped into Mexican slaughter plants for pet/animal food to expand the markets.
10. Non-legislative sponsors state that they called Purina in Mexico and Purina stated they do not use horse meat.
Advocates for amending never mentioned Purina and acknowledge that U.S.-owned pet food manufacturers including Purina have not used horse meat in pet food since the 70’s. However, possibly other, non-U.S. owned distributors do? Many slaughter plants slaughter for human consumption and scraps go to their pet food processing plants.
11. Non-legislative sponsors have themselves stated they are not opposed to adding “animal consumption” and are “pursuing it.” And yet for some unexplained reason, “animal consumption” was removed from an original draft so advocates for amending are understandably skeptical about the sincerity of these comments. However, now is the time to submit amendments to the Agriculture Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Subcommittee for consideration prior to being introduced in the markup process meeting to be scheduled in the next few weeks after congress reconvenes September 5th.
Advocates for amending are calling for full protection against horse slaughter for both human and animal food and to legislate protections preemptively against all possible threats from any possible legal domestic slaughter conduits including but not limited to Native Tribes, zoos/sanctuaries/refuges or continuing legal export across borders for slaughter for pet/animal food. If these conduits are left “unaddressed in the federal prohibitions,” they are legal.
In conclusion, the obvious irony is that the bill as currently drafted would ban horse slaughter for export to other countries but WOULDN'T BAN HORSE SLAUGHTER IN THE U.S.?
However, with the inclusion of one word, H.R. 3475 could be the long-awaited piece of federal legislation to protect our beloved noble horses from slaughter by finally lifting the American equine over that ambiguous fence securing the horse’s rightful status as a “favored,” non-food, pleasure and sporting animal in our culture and country.
America’s horses should not be compromised for zoo food or for a 2% nor 14% lobby when 83% to 98% of likely American voters have respectfully been asking congress to act on their behalf for the last 23 years. America is still a majority rule...still a democracy…and “The People" are all in for the HORSES!