Slaughter Horse Transportation-Science, Societal Concerns, and Legislation

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1 Scopus citations


Transportation conditions of slaughter horses for human consumption have become a visible issue in the media during the last decade. Animal protection groups successfully lobbied Congress during the 1996 Farm Bill to establish regulations governing the care of slaughter horses during transport. These regulations were based partially on funded research projects initiated in 1997 examining types of transport vehicles, fitness of horses for travel, types of injuries, length of transit, dehydration and water management, and stocking density. Using the results of these independent research studies along with public input, a comprehensive set of regulations was drafted and published for public comment in 1999. In the proposed regulations, conveyances with two or more stacked levels will be prohibited from transporting equines 5 yr after the publication of the final rule. Additionally, the maximum transit length will be 28 h, and no electrical prods can be used on equines in commercial transport for any purpose, including loading and unloading. Each horse must have a completed owner-shipper certificate with a statement of fitness to travel as defined by the ability to bear weight on all four limbs, the ability to walk unassisted, and not being blind in both eyes. The shipper must present the owner-shipper certificates to a USDA representative and not leave the slaughter facility until equines have been examined by a USDA representative. Civil penalties of up to $5000 US may be assessed for any violation of the final rule.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-163
Number of pages5
JournalProfessional Animal Scientist
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2000


  • Animal welfare
  • Handling
  • Horses
  • Stress
  • Transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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