Cheers to the New York State Legislature, which on June 7 passed a bill banning the slaughter of all equines, not just race horses. Champions of the bill included New York State Senators Addabbo, Palumbo and Hinchey, and Assembly Members Glick, Lupardo and Pretlow.

The ban of the slaughter of thoroughbred and standardbred racehorses for human or animal consumption passed in NY in 2021. The same protections prohibit the buying and selling, transporting or possessing horses that are intended to be slaughtered.

Susan Wagner, president and founder of Equine Advocates, an accredited NY horse sanctuary, applauded the newest legislation’s passage because of its effective language.

“When Governor Kathy Hochul signs this legislation into law, New York will have set the gold standard for state legislation prohibiting the slaughter of all equines for human and animal consumption,” Wagner explained. “It goes further than the laws previously enacted in California, Texas, Illinois and New Jersey, which are the other states where horse slaughter is banned for human consumption only.”

Wagner hopes the next step is to adopt a similar slaughter ban at the federal level because of the difficulty in catching violators who cross state borders. She is extremely concerned about the newly amended federal bill known as “The SAFE Act,” which she describes as “completely unsupportable as currently drafted and a complete non-starter.”

She explained that as proposed, The Save America’s Forgotten Equine Act, does not protect horses from slaughter for animal consumption, and the exemption in its language for Indian tribes raises numerous red flags. In a May 2022 letter to several members of Congress, the chairman of the National Tribal Horse Coalition, George Meninick, stated that they opposed the SAFE Act at that time. He expressed the Coalition’s desire to dispose of wild and feral equines and that they would continue to do so.

“Fast forward to now—the current language of the SAFE Act includes an exemption for Indian tribes and if passed, it would allow for horses to be slaughtered on these reservations,” said Wagner. “Reading between the lines, this means the construction of horse slaughterhouses on Native American reservations to slaughter these animals and then possibly operating as a garbage disposal for certain factions of the horse industry and irresponsible callous individuals for their unwanted domestic equines.”

Friends of Animals agrees that the language in the many different versions of the SAFE Act over the years has always been substandard and unacceptable, but now it has gone from bad to worse. We oppose the SAFE Act as currently drafted. We hope our supporters will too as it plays right into the hands of horse slaughter proponents.

“Animal consumption of horse meat frequently translates into feeding carnivores at zoos, another one of zoos’ dirty little secrets,” said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals.