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The Safeguard American Food Exports Act
 By Winniefield Park   •   28th Feb 2019   •   429 views   •   0 comments


As of January 30th, an act to prevent horses from being sold for slaughter and human consumption has been re-introduced by U.S. Representatives Jan Schakowsky and Vern Buchanan.

Called the The Safeguard American Food Exports Act, or SAFE Act, two hundred and nineteen representatives, almost half of the voting members in congress have added their name supporting the bill. If the act becomes law, anyone who sells, transports, imports or exports horses destined for a slaughter facility could be jailed or fined.

As of 2007, horse slaughter was brought to an end by a law that ended funding for inspectors in these plants. Congress ended funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspections of horses and horse slaughterhouses. Meat of any type that is not inspected by the USDA can not be sold. Prior to 2007, there were three major slaughter facilities that processed horses, all European owned. Most of the meat processed at these plants was sent to Europe. The 2007 ban shut these plants down although some did try re-opening. It is not technically illegal to eat horse meat in the United States. And the law is subject to yearly review.

Since the ban was put in place, horses sold and destined for slaughter were subject to transport to Canada or Mexico, where the practice remains legal. Rather than protect horses from the cruelties associated with the slaughter pipeline, it increased them. Horses are crammed into transport trailers and shipped long distances with minimal food and water before arriving at processing plants where in some cases, they faced horrific conditions and brutality before slaughter.

The current act proposed would bring a complete halt to the transport of horses for slaughter. Export of a horse to any country for the purpose of human consumption would be illegal. This would end the transport of live horses out of the country if they are being shipped for human consumption. Currently, it is estimated that about 100,000 horses a year are being shipped out of the country. And, this law would not be subject to yearly review, making it less likely to be repealed.

Although most Americans agree that it’s time to end horse slaughter, there are those who disagree. The American Veterinary Medical Association and American Quarter Horse Association and other groups are less enthused by the proposed legislation. The AVMA claims that not having slaughter as an option to deal with unwanted horses paves the ways for abuse for further neglect, starvation and cruelty. AQHA maintains “End-of-life issues for horses are personal and should remain the right of the individual horse owner.”
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