The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a complete ban on the use of double-decker trailers to transport American horses to slaughter. Previously, the 2006 regulation only prevented the transport of horses in double-decker trailers if they were en route directly to slaughter plants. The new rule extends protections to horses that are first delivered to a feedlot or stockyard during their lengthy trip to foreign slaughtering plants in Canada or Mexico.

“American horses are not raised for food, but some are purchased for slaughter by buyers for foreign slaughterhouses and trucked under painful and dangerous conditions,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “This new regulation is a good step in helping to protect those horses en route, but sadly, they will meet the same terrible end so we will continue to champion a complete ban on horse slaughter.”

In June, the Government Accountability Office issued a report recommending a ban on the use of double-decker vehicles for horse transport, identifying this as a serious problem affecting the welfare of American horses sent to slaughter.  The report also concluded that a ban on transport of horses to slaughter would improve horse welfare.