The USDA recently proposed a change to the existing regulations regarding the transport of horses to slaughter. What was the proposed change, and how did the AVMA respond?
In the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (FAIRA), Congress authorized the Secretary of Agriculture to regulate the commercial transport of equines to slaughter. Current regulations prohibit the use of double-decked trailers for the transport of horses to slaughter; however, there is a loophole in the regulations in that they only pertain to the final leg of the horse’s journey to the slaughterhouse. Under current regulations, horses can be transported in double-decked conveyances to a collection point, such as an auction yard or feedlot, and then be transferred to a single-deck conveyance that meets the requirements of the regulations for the final journey to the slaughterhouse. Since the closing of the horse slaughter plants, the number of horses transported to collection points has increased significantly and, therefore, so has the likelihood that they will be transported to these collection points in double-decked trailers. The proposed change to the regulations