USDA Proposes Rule For Humane Transport Of Horses To Slaughter

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing regulations to establish minimum standards to ensure the humane movement of equines to slaughtering facilities by way of commercial transportation.

"These proposed regulations fulfill our responsibility under the 1996 Farm Bill to ensure the proper care for horses without inhibiting the commercially viable transport of these animals to slaughtering facilities," said Craig A. Reed, administrator for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, a part of USDA's marketing and regulatory programs mission area.

The proposed regulations address food, water, and rest provided to the animals. Shippers of the horses would be required to take certain actions in loading and transporting the animals and would have to certify that the commercial transportation meets certain requirements.

In addition, the rule would prohibit the commercial transportation to slaughtering facilities of horses considered to be unfit for travel, the use of electric prods, and, within 5 years, the use of double-deck trailers.

Over the past year, APHIS funded research at Colorado State University, Texas A&M University, and University of California at Davis to ensure that the proposed regulations were based on science.

This proposed rule is scheduled for publication in the May 19 Federal Register. APHIS documents published in the Federal Register, and related information, including the names of organizations and individuals who have commented on APHIS rules, are available at www.aphis.usda.gov/ppd/rad/webrepor.html.

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