Pennsylvania Bans Transport of Horses in Multi-Level Vehicles

A new law now makes it illegal to transport any "equine animal" in a vehicle with two or more levels stacked on top of one another within the state of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Horse Transport Bill, or House Bill 1139, was signed into law on June 25, 2001. Republican Jim Lynch and 60 co-sponsors first referred the bill to the Pennsylvania General Assembly in March 2001.

"I was asked to take a trip to New Holland in Lancaster County," Lynch said. New Holland Sales Stable is where many horses are bought and sent to slaughter. "I was appalled at what I did see. In today's society, we need to do better. We have seen study after study which shows that people who abuse animals abuse people. We don't want animals or people hurt unnecessarily. I'm pleased this has become law. I've worked on this for five years. However, the bill is not as strong as I would like it to be. We anticipate looking at that in the future. I would like to see something in there about proper care of the animals such as water and proper ventilation. In their final days we need to treat them better than we do in some instances."

Now known as Act 64, the bill will amend the Pennsylvania anti-cruelty law, Title 18, Section 5511(e). The bill includes trucks, tractors, trailers, semi-trailers, or any combination of those vehicles. According to the bill, the term "equine animal" includes horses, asses, mules, ponies, and zebras. A first violation is a summary (normally a fine, but could involve jail time depending on the sentence) for each equine transported. Repeat offenders can be charged with a third degree misdemeanor for each equine animal. For each offense the penalties continue to go up.

The bill originated from concern of mistreatment of animals and the fact that double deck trailers do not meet equine industry standards for the transportation of horses. Overcrowding on double deck trailers and a lack of separation of the horses can cause injury or death.

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.

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