San Diego International Law Journal

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



This Comment will address how the de facto ban on horse slaughter and the shift in destination of American horses bound for harvesting has had unintended negative consequences for equine welfare and for the safety of international consumers of horse meat. Part II analyzes the role of the horse in American history, and how this has shaped horse slaughter legislation and the international trade of American horse meat. Part III examines regulations and guidelines for the humane transportation, handling, and slaughter of horses in the United States, Canada and Mexico, and demonstrates how poorly-framed legislation, a lack of formal agreements for procedure, and lack of unified standards have compromised equine welfare and traceability of exported horses. Part IV addresses the potential health risks to international consumers of horse meat as a result of insufficient procedures for tracking medications and treatments administered to horses in the United States, and the failure of Canadian and Mexican agencies to properly test horse meat for contamination. Part V then explores the domestic implications of horse slaughter bans on the horse industry in the United States and presents evidence of increases in abuse, abandonment, and neglect of horses since the cessation. Part VI proposes a statute that would renew horse slaughter operations in the United States with heightened regulatory standards for the transportation, handling, and slaughter of equines. In addition, this section illustrates why previously proposed legislation to ban the export of American horses for slaughter, such as the Safeguard American Food Exports Act (SAFE), would fail to improve equine welfare and be economically and procedurally unfeasible.