Buchanan leads 120 colleagues seeking permanent ban on taxpayer-funded horse slaughter

There should be a permanent restriction on the use of taxpayer funds for horse slaughter operations in the United States, said U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and a bipartisan group of 120 lawmakers.

As the fiscal year 2025 agriculture appropriations bill is being crafted, Rep. Buchanan and the lawmakers requested in a May 1 letter sent to the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies leadership that language be included stating the current annual prohibition should continue “hereafter,” thereby permanently preventing horsemeat from being processed in the U.S. for human consumption.

“This overwhelmingly popular and fiscally responsible policy has been enacted for each year since fiscal year 2014 and for all but two years since 2005,” they wrote. “Horse slaughter is an inherently cruel practice that 83 percent of Americans want to see permanently banned.”

“The slaughter of horses for human consumption is a barbaric practice that has no place in our country,” said the congressman, who led the letter alongside U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). “As co-chair of the Animal Protection Caucus in Congress, I look forward to continuing to lead the effort with Congresswoman Schakowsky to protect these majestic creatures.”

Similar language enacted previously has successfully led to a closure of all horse slaughter facilities in the U.S., according to their letter, however, previous language did not make the provision permanent, requiring lawmakers to push for its inclusion in the government funding bill every year. 

Beyond fiscal and humane concerns, the members wrote that flesh from American horses is not fit for human consumption because equines are not treated as food animals in the U.S. and therefore are not maintained under the regulatory food safety requirements for animals raised for human consumption.

“Throughout their lives, horses routinely receive drugs and medications that are specifically banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in food animals due to their toxicity to humans,” wrote Rep. Buchanan and his colleagues. 

“Horses are not raised for human consumption. We owe it to our horse companions to protect their welfare,” added Rep. Schakowsky.

The letter is supported by the Humane Society Legislative Fund, the Animal Welfare Institute, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.