A message from President/Founder Susan Wagner:
The movement to end the slaughter of America’s wild and domestic equines experienced a big win on Wednesday night when both houses of the New York State Legislature voted to ban the slaughter of horses for human and animal consumption.
Those of you who know the history of Equine Advocates are aware that it was my rescue of a slaughter-bound horse named Gandalf back in 1993 that led me to founding this organization three years later. So, this victory in New York is very important to this organization and is especially personal for me as a New Yorker and as someone who has been dedicated to ending this horrific practice for so many years.
I would like to give a big shout-out to the amazing sponsors of these bills, including New York State Senators Addabbo, Palumbo and Hinchey, and Assembly Members Glick, Lupardo and Pretlow, as well as all the other lawmakers who also sponsored and/or voted for this legislation. You are our heroes!
So many people have worked long and hard to make this happen and you all know who you are! Thank you all so much!
When Governor Kathy Hochul signs this legislation into law, New York will have set the gold standard for state legislation prohibiting the slaughter of equines for food. 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.
New York’s legislation goes a step further in that it addresses animal consumption which is vitally important, especially for any federal legislation that is introduced. All bases need to be covered to fully protect equines from slaughter of any kind and New York has done it!
Sadly, the same cannot be said for the newly amended federal bill known as “The SAFE Act,” which is completely unsupportable as currently drafted and a complete non-starter.
Not only does it not protect horses from slaughter for animal consumption, but the exemption in its language for Indian tribes raises numerous red flags. In his 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 their desire to dispose of wild and feral equines and that they would continue to do so. 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. 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.
In our view, 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 strongly oppose the SAFE Act as currently drafted. We hope you will too as it plays right into the hands of horse slaughter proponents who seek to legalize a form of equine slaughter through bad bills like this that allow for dangerous loopholes and exemptions that actually legalize the custom slaughter of equines for animal consumption with deliberately misleading terms like “safe harbors” and “secondary markets.”
We will not support any legislation that attempts to do that and we will call out all individuals with hidden agendas who are trying to fool the public by calling these unacceptable exemptions “compromises” that will prevent horses from being slaughtered when they do just the opposite. We know where bad bills with exemptions like this lead because one almost passed in a state bill introduced last year in Colorado, which thankfully died.
The question is, who drafted this unacceptable and harmful language and who stands to benefit from it? Certainly not America’s horses! That is why this language has to be amended immediately or opposed until it dies. No bill is better than a bad bill and this one is a real stinker!
As we celebrate and thank all the lawmakers, activists and animal lovers who made this great legislative victory in New York possible, we cannot lose sight of the fact that some individuals are willing to sell our horses short with bad bills, false compromises and hidden agendas. With Americans from all across the country seeing the real accomplishments made for horses in New York State, we know what great things are possible when people who have our wild and domestic equines’ best interests at heart are the ones sponsoring and driving the legislation.
We need to take the victory for horses in New York State and implement what it accomplishes for these amazing animals into any new federal legislation going forward. Betrayal of America’s wild and domestic equines is not an option, but that is exactly what the current version of this federal legislation will do if passed as currently drafted – And we simply cannot allow that to happen!
Please stay tuned as we provide more information about this vital issue and what we all can do to end the slaughter of horses for human and animal consumption nationally.
Susan Wagner, President