Bill Would Ban Horse Transport to Foreign Processing Plants

Legislation introduced into the United States Senate on Thursday (June 9) would ban the transport of horses from the U.S. to processing plants in Mexico and Canada.

Horse processing has not taken place in the U.S. since 2007 when the last processing facility operating was closed. Since then, horses have been transported to Mexico and Canada for processing. Previous legislative attempts to ban the transport of horses to foreign processing plants have been unsuccessful. HR 6598 and S 727, both representative of the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, were introduced in 2008 and again in 2009. The bills would have prohibited transport, sale, delivery, and export of horses for slaughter for human consumption. They would have also criminalized the purchase, sale, delivery or export of horse meat intended for human consumption. Neither bill became law.

Introduced on June 9 by Senators Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), SB 1176, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011, would (if passed) amend the Horse Protection Act to prohibit the sale or transport of horses or equine parts in interstate or foreign commerce with the intent of processing them for human consumption.

Nancy Perry, senior vice president of Government Relations for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said that the measure is necessary: "Americans have a responsibility to protect these intelligent, sensitive animals from being butchered in Canada and Mexico."

Wyoming State Representative Sue Wallis, who sponsored successful legislation to facilitate private sector horse processing plant development in that state, said the bill threatens private property rights.

"It is hard to imagine a more pervasive attack on the private property rights of horse owners to use or dispose of their animals as they see fit," Wallis said.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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