Introduced by Assemblymember Deborah Glick last year, NYS bill A5481 targets equine – all equines, not just racehorses – slaughter. The summary reads as follows:

“Prohibits any person from slaughtering a horse where such person knows or has reason to know that such horse will be used for human consumption; prohibits any person from possessing, importing into or exporting from the state, selling, buying, giving away, holding or accepting any horse with the intent of killing, or having another kill, such horse, if such person knows or should have known that any part of such horse will be used for human consumption; provides penalties for violation.”

NY is one of the nation’s major slaughter thoroughfares to Canada. Please consider calling Ms. Glick’s office to express support, but also to urge action: 518-455-4841.

One of our sister organizations, Animal Aid in the UK, has, in concert with the BBC, released the results of an undercover investigation into the barbaric horse-slaughter industry. Some of the more salient points from this BBC article (trailer here):

Thousands of racehorses are being sent to slaughterhouses in Britain and Ireland. Some of the slaughtered…were once owned and trained by some of the biggest names in racing.

The regulations say horses should not be killed in sight of each other. [But] the footage recorded horses being shot together 26 times over the four days of filming. Prof Daniel Mills, a veterinary behavioural specialist from the University of Lincoln, who has seen the footage, said: “A gunshot going off is going to be startling, seeing another horse suddenly drop, these are all going to be very distressing for a horse in this situation.”

The regulations also say every effort should be made to ensure a rapid death. But the footage showed that sometimes the death was far from instant. On 91 occasions the cameras recorded a slaughterman shooting horses, not close up, but from a distance. Reviewing the footage of one such killing, Prof Mills said: “It doesn’t look like the horse is even stunned. You can see it’s turning its head.”

Make no mistake, all the abuses, all the terror, all the horror, all the suffering that has been documented by Animal Aid exists in the Canadian and Mexican abattoirs to which we send our, American, horses – multiple thousands of racehorses among them.

In a race at Evangeline June 17, Babe Reed was “distanced after losing contact with the field, jogged across while hopelessly beaten.” His people – owner Lori Culotta, trainer Ray Culotta – also had him “For Sale” prior to. Apparently, even with a cheap tag ($5,000), there were no takers. Then, just four days later, this post appeared:

While it looks as though Babe avoided the butcher’s knife, the larger point remains: “Responsible aftercare” is a lie; most (thousands annually) spent racehorses land in equine hell – the slaughterhouse – at career’s end. This alone should be enough for all Americans of good conscience to repudiate this vile industry once and for all.

The “Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act” is a 2019 federal bill that would ban both the slaughtering of horses on U.S. soil (currently there are no active slaughterhouses, but that’s only because USDA inspections of those facilities has been defunded) and the export of American horses for the purpose of slaughter.

U.S. Horseracing, as we well know, is in a fight for its very existence. You would think, then, that all the major players would have enthusiastically lined up to back legislation that addresses the blackest of marks on their industry – the wholesale slaughter of their erstwhile “athletes.” But you would be wrong. For some – most conspicuously, The Jockey Club – support is still missing; for others, like the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association (PHBA), it’s only now coming – after two years.

In a press release last week, the PHBA wrote:

Continuing to demonstrate its commitment to the health and welfare of thoroughbreds, the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association today announced its endorsement of the Safeguard American Food Exports Act.

The release continued:

PHBA Board member Hank Nothhaft said … the fact that many unwanted thoroughbred broodmares are found in slaughter pens proved to be a call to action. “There was unanimous support from the PHBA Board to mitigate the slaughter of broodmares,” said Nothhaft. “Older broodmares, especially, are not attractive candidates for equestrian activities, and thus they are not as easy to rehome as younger horses. This has really pushed us from sitting on the bench towards getting into the fray.”

Imagine that. Only now, two years after the bill’s introduction, only now, after decades of carnage (which all have been aware of) are the PA breeders “demonstrat[ing] [their] commitment to the health and welfare of thoroughbreds, [no longer] sitting on the bench, getting into the fray.” It is cynical; it is disgusting; it is horseracing.