USDA Closes Loophole in Horse Transport Rules

The USDA has amended regulations designed to reduce the suffering of horses transported for slaughter so as to include horses who are first transported to intermediate collection points. The regulations, first promulgated in 2001 under the 1996 Commercial Transport of Equines to Slaughter Act, prohibit the use of double-deck trailers to transport horses to slaughter, and mandate that such horses cannot travel more than 28 hours without rest and must be provided adequate food and water. Previously, the regulations only applied to horses moved directly to slaughter plants. Shippers therefore circumvented the restrictions for much of the journey by making use of intermediate assembly points such as stockyards or feedlots. Horses en route to such intermediate points were not protected by the regulations. Currently, no horse slaughter takes place in the United States, but a large number of American horses are still being transported to slaughter across the border in Canada and Mexico. AWI is working to secure both passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act to end the slaughter of American horses, and the Horse Transportation Safety Act to establish an outright ban on the use of doubledeck trailers to transport horses.