Racing Leaders Endorse Amendment to End Horse Slaughter

Racing Leaders Endorse Amendment to End Horse Slaughter


Leading U.S. horse racing professionals have joined in solidarity to support a United States House amendment that would ban the transport of American slaughter-bound horses across state lines and over the borders, according to a June 16 release. Led by U.S. Representatives Troy Carter, a Louisiana Democrat, Brian Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican, and John Katko, a New York Republican, the amendment will be offered to the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act, H.R.3684, which is slated to be on the House floor in the next few weeks.

There are no horse slaughter facilities currently operating within the U.S. However, every year over 30,000 American horses are live-exported over the borders to Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered—thousands of them being former racehorses and breeding stock, the release stated. In addition to anti-slaughter policies at the majority of U.S. racetracks, there are numerous aftercare programs and sanctuaries across the nation to help safeguard racehorses from ending up in the slaughter pipeline. Despite these policies and programs, racehorses are slipping through the cracks and find themselves at auction houses that make them vulnerable to being acquired by kill-buyers, the middlemen who send the horses to slaughterhouses.

Last month the Save America’s Forgotten Equines Act, H.R.3355, was introduced in the U.S. House. If passed into law it would prohibit horse slaughter facilities from opening on U.S. soil and ban the export of horses across the borders. Similar legislation has been introduced in Congress over the last two decades. While efforts to advance the SAFE Act continue, the bipartisan Carter, Fitzpatrick, Katko amendment is being offered as an alternative pathway. The amendment garnered the support of nearly 150 U.S. House members on the day it was announced, and that number is expected to increase exponentially.

“After years of pressing for a ban on the slaughter of our American horses, I am thrilled with this latest development and applaud our leadership in Washington for their commitment to the issue. Stopping the transport of slaughter-bound horses will be a game changer,” said Staci Hancock of Stone Farm. “It is time to end this brutal practice in the U.S. once and for all. Horses are bred for sport, competition, and companionship, not to be part of the food chain. As owners and breeders we must be the stewards of our horses’ safety and welfare. They look to us for their care and protection and to allow them to go to a horrific slaughter is unconscionable.”

Staci and Arthur Hancock<br>
Keeneland September Sales from Sept. 7 to Sept. 23, 2018. Sept. 12, 2018 Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky.
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Staci and Arthur Hancock of Stone Farm

“We had a close call this year getting our grade 1 Santa Anita Derby winner The Deputy  released from a kill pen. And this was far from our first rodeo,” said Barry Irwin, CEO of Team Valor International. “I support any initiative that will end this cycle.”

Trainer Graham Motion, who conditioned Team Valor’s 2011 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) winner Animal Kingdom , said, “It is high time that we end the transport of American slaughter-bound horses across state lines and over the borders. We at Herringswell are committed to finding other careers for Thoroughbreds once their racing days are over. The practice of transporting horses for slaughter is abhorrent and it must come to an end.”

“Now that the state legislators of New York have done the right thing, I would hope that the federal government will join and ensure that our racehorses are provided a fitting home when their careers are over,” said Jeff Gural, proprietor of Allerage Farm and owner of the racetracks Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. “Allowing them to be sold for slaughter should have been eliminated years ago.” 

“As a multiple Kentucky Derby-winning jockey and a person who has enjoyed a Hall of Fame career, my passion for my outstanding equine athletes has never wavered. The Carter, Fitzpatrick, Katko amendment to the INVEST Act that will stop interstate travel across state and international borders for horse slaughter is a must,” said Gary Stevens. “There is always a place for our beautiful friends to retire and live out the life they all deserve.”

Gary Stevens at Churchill Downs on April 26, 2021
Photo: Chad B. Harmon

Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens

“Everyone in racing should support the Carter, Fitzpatrick, Katko amendment—and every effort to end the slaughter of our horses. Aftercare organizations work tirelessly and at great expense but the slaughter of our horses, or the extortion of our horses under threat of slaughter, will never end until slaughter is stopped at the federal level,” said Victoria Keith, president of the National Thoroughbred Welfare Organization. “We urge every racing entity to step up now and make this push together to stop this profound injustice to our horses and public relations nightmare for racing.”

“If at the very least, you care about horses, and at the very most, you make your living working with horses, then providing support to the Carter, Fitzpatrick, Katko amendment is so obvious that one should not have to think twice about it,” said Dr. Patty Hogan of Hogan Equine. “Welfare issues are at the absolute forefront of public concern for any sport or industry associated with horses in this country, and to ignore that fact is to do so at your own peril and demise. Getting this amendment passed will finally close the dangerous loopholes that still exist out there for our most vulnerable members of the U.S. equine population.”

According to national polls, over 80% of Americans oppose the slaughter of horses and want to see them protected from such a fate, the release said. Additional horse racing professionals who endorse the amendment include Claiborne Farm, Cobra Farm, Crawford Farms, Equine Advocates, Fawn Leap Farm, Foxie G Foundation, Gainesway Farm, Jack Knowlton and Sackatoga Stable, Lael Stables, Machmer Hall Thoroughbreds, NP Zito Racing Stable, Neil Drysdale, Pin Oak Stud, R.A.C.E. Fund, Shadowlawn Farm, agent Shaun Dugan, Tranquility Farm, U.S. Harness Racing Alumni Association, West Point Thoroughbreds, and numerous others.



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