Target: Mary Landrieu, Louisiana Senator
Goal: Ban the export of racehorses for slaughter
Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu has proposed a bill that could protect retired racehorses from being exported for slaughter. Hundreds of thousands of perfectly healthy horses are exported out of the United States every year to be turned into meat. If passed, the new law could be the first real protection racehorses have against auctions and deserves our support.
The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act intends to ban the export of horses for slaughter. The legislation has yet to make it out of committee because of Nevada Senator Harry Reid, who recently captured roughly three hundred wild horses on federal and tribal grazing lands in his own state and sold them to be killed. In 2013 alone more than 150,000 horses were shipped to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. Roughly 10,000 of those were Thoroughbreds. Horses that can no longer race or produce “quality” offspring are taken to auctions, usually away from the main race horse auction, where they often sell for as little as $10 and are packed into trucks and taken to Mexico and Canada where they will be slaughtered for their meat and sold to European markets where the demand is high. The sale of horse meat for human consumption has been banned in the U.S.
The racing industry has taken small steps to try and protect the horses. Several tracks across the United States now ban trainers who sell to kill buyers. The sale of expensive stallions also now comes with what is known as a “Ferdinand Clause,” meaning the seller can buy the horse back if it doesn’t produce offspring suited for racing so that the horse won’t be sent to slaughter. The clause is named after the winner of the 1986 Kentucky Derby, who was sold to a Japanese breeder and slaughtered because his offspring weren’t fast enough.
This isn’t enough, though. The daughter of the runner-up of the 2002 Kentucky Derby, Proud Mover, was recently put of for auction in Shipshewana, Indiana because she went barren. She was sold to a kill buyer for $550. Gail Hirt, who operates the Beyond the Roses Equine racehorse rescue said, “They’re all trying to get the next Secretariat, and it doesn’t matter what happens to the ones that don’t work out. They just get rid of them.”
The SAFE Act could be the only opportunity for these horses when they are no longer able to race. Please sign the petition below and demand that it be passed into law.
Dear Senator Landrieu,
You recently proposed the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, a bill that seeks to protect racehorses from slaughter. Hundreds of thousands of horses were sold to kill buyers exporting their meet to Canada and Mexico in 2013 alone. Wild horses are also now being captured and exported. This must stop.
Thank you for sponsoring this bill. You have my full support. These animals need to not only be protected, but also perceived as something beyond their utility in racing.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: fivefurlongs via Flickr