Language in Federal Bill Could Halt Horse Transport

Language in an agriculture appropriations bill in Congress could halt the movement of horses, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and American Horse Council said.

The legislation, passed through a committee July 20, would eliminate funding for federal inspectors to “examine, inspect, certify, or mark horses, horse carcasses, or parts of horse carcasses, or create, distribute, certify, endorse, or file any certificate concerning horses.” Officials said that would affect horses traveling from state to state or internationally.

“Intentionally or not, the bill would impact important international events such as the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and Arlington Million (gr. IT), as well as the interstate shipment of horses for breeding and racing,” NTRA president Alex Waldrop said. “(This) would be devastating and would be felt by all breeds.”

AHC president Jay Hickey said the bill was drafted to target horse slaughter plants but has far-reaching ramifications.

“Unfortunately, the language is so broadly written, it would affect all horses,” Hickey said. “I’m hopeful supporters of the federal ban (on horse slaughter) didn’t intend to do that. I think everyone in the horse industry wants to continue things like quarantine facilities, export of horses, and health and safety measures.”

Waldrop called on the equine industry at large to oppose the language in the bill.

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