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Horses require large investments in time and money and a large equine industry has developed around the use of horses. The law has a major impact on how equine business is conducted and how horses are treated in the industry.

The law is always changing in the equine industry and, at the American Equine Summit held in New York earlier this year, advocates and leaders in the equine community met to discuss industry issues and initiatives.

The main issue at this year’s summit was a recent push for the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. In 2011, Congress passed a bill that reopened some slaughterhouses due to overpopulation that followed a slaughterhouse ban that was enacted in 2007. In enacting the law, Congress acted on the belief that the slaughter of horses is conducted in a humane manner.

The summit addressed concerns that, after the earlier slaughterhouse ban, conditions for U.S. horses have declined. Some noted that the same number of equine were slaughtered after the ban as there were before due to exports to Canada and Mexico, where conditions are no more humane than in the U.S.

Summit participants worked on compiling ways to counteract actions taken by those who are in favor of equine slaughter facilities and to convince Congress that slaughtering horses is inhumane. A recent study shows that most Americans are against the slaughter of horses for human consumption and anti-slaughter advocates are receiving support from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal.

The equine industry can anticipate increased pressure on Congress to restrict the slaughter of horses.

Source: Huffington Post, “Overview of the American Equine Summit,” Liz O’Connell, April 6, 2012.

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