The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued its report on horse welfare issues since domestic slaughter ceased in 2007. Specifically, the GAO reported on how cessation has impacted the U.S. horse market, horse welfare, state and local governmental agencies, tribes, animal welfare organizations, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
As part of its report, GAO found that in 2010 the number of domestic horses sent to Canada and Mexico for slaughter (137,000) was higher than the number slaughtered in the U.S. (104,000) in 2006, the last full year of domestic slaughter. The GAO also reported an increase in the number of investigations for horse neglect by state, local government, and animal welfare organizations.
The USDA oversees the welfare of slaughter bound horses in transport. With the cessation of U.S. slaughter, domestic horses now travel an average of 203 miles longer to slaughter than their predecessors did before domestic slaughter ceased, according to the GAO. Furthermore, the defunding of USDA inspectors has had the unintended consequence of horses traveling without the protections as set forth in the Commercial Transportation of Equines to Slaughter regulations.
Click here to read the entire GAO report and its recommendations.