We know you’ll agree that horses aren’t food. We don’t raise them so we can eat them, and horses hold a special place in our country’s heritage. While no horse slaughterhouses currently operate in the United States, the threat of their return looms constantly and few realize that approximately 150,000 American horses are trucked across our borders every year to be brutally slaughtered for food.
These horses often endure painful, repeated blows to the head prior to dismemberment, sometimes while alive and still conscious. This is a terrifying end for animals who are beloved companions to millions, and it must be stopped now.
Congress is considering the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, legislation that would finally enact a federal ban on horse slaughter for human consumption in the United States and prohibit the export of horses abroad for that purpose. The measure also addresses the health hazards that could arise for consumers, given the drugs and medicines horses are routinely administered. Until this ban is in place, no horse is safe from meeting this grisly fate.
That’s why, just last month, we were onsite at the Hampton Classic Horse Show in New York for our annual ASPCA Equine Welfare Town Hall to educate show-goers about this critical issue and how they can advocate for the protection of horses. We need your help, too!
The coming months will be absolutely pivotal for horses, so we’re asking for your help in preventing this cruel and predatory industry from establishing roots in America. Please visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center now to contact your federal legislators and ask them to cosponsor and support the SAFE Act today.
You can learn more about this critical issue and watch the ASPCA Equine Welfare Ambassadors team of top international riders speak out against horse slaughter in the video below. Please be sure to share it with your friends and family to spread the word that this cruel practice must be stopped.
Today the ASPCA, The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association jointly filed a legal petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) urging the agency to improve care standards for dogs kept in federally licensed, commercial breeding facilities for use in the pet trade. The USDA regulates these facilities—the worst of which are commonly known as puppy mills—but its standards are woefully inadequate and fall quite short of ensuring the humane treatment of dogs.
The rules enforced by the USDA leave a lot of room for dogs to be severely mistreated. Dogs in American commercial breeding facilities can be kept in cages only six inches longer than the dogs in each direction—and these tiny cages may be stacked on top of one another. It's completely legal for these cages to have open wire flooring, and it’s fine to breed female dogs at every opportunity (not allowing their bodies to rest and recover between litters). It’s also legal to breed dogs without screening them for painful and expensive heritable disorders like hip dysplasia and luxating patellas. Take a look at our gallery of breeder photos taken by the USDA to see for yourself what it means for a breeder to be “USDA-licensed.”
The changes we’ve proposed today would dramatically improve the lives of tens of thousands of dogs in commercial breeding facilities by creating stronger, clearer standards for veterinary care, housing, food and water, socialization, breeding practices and placement of retired breeding dogs.
Yesterday the ASPCA hosted a legislative briefing on Capitol Hill to highlight the need for Congress to pass the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act. Dr. Randall Lockwood, ASPCA Senior Vice President for Forensic Sciences & Anti-Cruelty Projects, was among those presenting the overwhelming evidence of the link between domestic violence and animal cruelty.
Many abusers threaten or commit violence against pets as a means to intimidate and control their victims. Sadly, victims of domestic violence often remain in dangerous situations to protect their pets or delay going to a shelter because they fear for the safety of the pets they must leave behind.
The PAWS Act would criminalize the intentional targeting of a domestic partner’s pet, establish a federal grant program to help victims safely house their pets and add veterinary care to the list of costs that victims can recover from their abusers.
During yesterday’s briefing, Representatives Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), sponsors of the PAWS Act, and Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), co-chairs of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, stressed the need for this legislation. We appreciate their leadership on this very important issue.
In a landmark announcement last week, McDonald’s Corporation committed to using only cage-free eggs in all of its U.S. and Canada store locations within the next 10 years. Given the purchasing power of McDonald’s, this is huge news for animals.
Battery cages—archaic wire cages in which egg-laying hens are forced to live so closely packed together they can barely move—are still standard in the egg industry. Hens suffer injuries, disease and the repression of their natural behaviors in these conditions. Some states and companies have turned away from this cruel practice, but this move by McDonald’s, which purchases billions of eggs annually, is a giant leap toward our goal of eliminating battery cages for good.
The McDonald’s announcement coincides with efforts by the ASPCA and other groups to pass a historic ballot measure in Massachusetts to ban the sale of products from farms using battery cages, veal crates and gestation crates (severe and cruel forms of confinement that barely allow egg-laying hens, veal calves or pregnant pigs to move or engage in normal behaviors). A large and exciting effort is underway right now to gather enough signatures in Massachusetts to get this measure on the November 2016 ballot. Even if you don’t live in Massachusetts, you can help! Please visit the campaign website to learn more.
The ASPCA, along with horse-lovers from near and far, headed out to Bridgehampton, New York, this week for the prestigious and star-studded 40th Annual Hampton Classic Horse Show.
For the ninth consecutive year, the ASPCA partnered with this iconic week-long show to promote animal adoption and raise awareness of critical equine cruelty issues with two special ASPCA-hosted events.
Things kicked off on Monday with our annual ASPCA Adoption and Animal Welfare Day, during which spectators got the opportunity to meet rescue horses face-to-face, hear their rescuers’ stories and learn ways they can make a difference for equines. Several local animal shelters and rescue groups were on site throughout the day to find loving homes for adorable, adoptable animals, including dogs, cats and, of course, horses. Even some formerly wild mustangs made an appearance!
Attendees were invited to the ASPCA Equine Town Hall just days later to hear experts from the ASPCA’s Government Relations department and Our Farm Equine Rescue discuss critical issues impacting horses today, like horse slaughter, homelessness and neglect, and how to rescue, rehab and re-home horses from the slaughter lot.
To make the events even more special, the ASPCA Equine Welfare Ambassadors team of top international riders, including Georgina Bloomberg, Brianne Goutal, Hayley Barnhill, Stacia Madden and our newest ambassador, Jennifer Gates, were on site during the week to answer questions and greet show-goers. Network correspondent and animal advocate Jill Rappaport, who is also an ASPCA Equine Welfare Ambassador, hosted Monday’s event.
The protection of horses has been a core part of the ASPCA mission since our founding nearly 150 years ago. The Hampton Classic allows us and our Welfare Ambassadors to share that passion with the equine community and spectators of the show, and to encourage them to serve as a voice for animals.