Pennsylvania Bill Opposition

Pending in the Pennsylvania Senate is a bill that will allow the transportation to slaughter of a horse which is able to stand and bear weight on only three legs and walk unassisted. The original bill allowed the shipment of horses which could stand and walk on four legs unaided, but was edited on May 16. House Bill 590, otherwise known as "the three-legged horse bill," passed in early June in the House by 160-33, and has been referred to the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee in the Senate, which was on break at press time.

Edits from the original bill also allow the transport of a mare nursing a foal, a mare in the third trimester of pregnancy, a mare which shows evidence of bagging up or waxing (impending parturition), and a foal under six months of age or under 600 pounds.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recently sent a memorandum to Pennsylvaniaâs governor and several senators opposing the bill. "The bill contains many parts that are objectionable," says Theresa Jolivette, Government Affairs Associate ASPCAâs Eastern Region. "We view the transportation of horses that cannot stand on four legs as being cruel and inhumane. There are more responsible ways of treating these horses, such as veterinary care or humane euthanasia."

Since the bill would govern only horses shipped within Pennsylvania, Jolivette says enforcement of the bill, if made into law, would be hard. "Law enforcement will find it hard to know which horses will be transported outside of Pennsylvania borders, which would come under federal regulations that are more stringent, or if horses are being transported within Pennsylvania and would fall under this bill," she says.

Other provisions from HB 590 provide for stricter regulations while shipping horses to slaughter, including mandatory separation of stallions or aggressive horses; sufficient head clearance; safer trailer conditions; proper ventilation, etc.

About the Author

Sarah Evers Conrad

Sarah Evers Conrad has a bachelor’s of arts in journalism and equine science from Western Kentucky University. As a lifelong horse lover and equestrian, Conrad started her career at The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care magazine. She has also worked for the United States Equestrian Federation as the managing editor of Equestrian magazine and director of e-communications and served as content manager/travel writer for a Caribbean travel agency. When she isn’t freelancing, Conrad spends her free time enjoying her family, reading, practicing photography, traveling, crocheting, and being around animals in her Lexington, Kentucky, home.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from Learn More

Free Newsletters

Sign up for the latest in:

From our partners