Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Reps. Cohen and Jones Introduce the Bipartisan Horse Transportation Safety Act

October 12, 2017
Press Release

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Congressman Walter B. Jones (R-NC) today introduced the Horse Transportation Safety Act. This bipartisan legislation would prohibit interstate transportation of horses in a motor vehicle containing two or more levels stacked on top of one another. It would also create civil penalties of at least $100 for each horse involved.  

“When we allow animals to be mistreated or disrespected, we also devalue our own humanity,” said Congressman Cohen. “Horses cannot be safely or humanely transported in double-deck trailers that are built for much smaller animals, and our laws should reflect that. I am proud to sponsor the Horse Transportation Safety Act, which will ensure that these beautiful creatures are treated humanely.”

“As a longtime owner of horses, I know the importance of safe and secure transportation for these precious animals. Double-deck trailers and similar motor vehicles are not it,” said Congressman Jones. “Horses are incredible creatures that deserve the most humane treatment. Thank you Congressman Cohen for introducing legislation to ensure just that.”

On November 7, 2007, the United States Department of Agriculture issued a statement recognizing the inhumane practice stating that, “double-deck trailers do not provide adequate headroom for equines, with the possible exception of foals and yearlings. We do not believe that trailers that have two or more permanent levels that are not collapsible can be adequately altered to accommodate adult equines, especially tall equines.”

The Horse Transportation Safety Act would close a regulatory loophole whereby drivers have an incentive to inhumanely transport horses to assembly points then reload them into single level trailers just outside their final destination.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has approved the National Agriculture Safety Database’s research calling for at least 7’-8’ ceiling clearance for horses when traveling.  The average horse stands 7’ (15 hands) high and when traveling should at least have adequate headroom to stand with normal posture.  

Original cosponsors of the legislation include: Reps. Joyce Beatty, Donald S. Beyer, Earl Blumenauer, Mike Capuano, Judy Chu, Yvette Clarke, Katherine Clark, Gerald Connolly, Elijah Cummings, Susan Davis, Mark DeSaulnier, Ted Deutch, Elizabeth Esty, Raul Grijalva, Andy Harris, Alcee Hastings, Walter Jones, Bill Keating, Derek Kilmer, Peter King, Barbara Lee, Ted Lieu, Zoe Lofgren, Alan Lowenthal, Nita Lowey, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Jim McGovern, Jerry McNerney, Martha McSally, Jerrold Nadler, Grace Napolitano, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mark Pocan, Jared Polis, David Price, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Adam Schiff, Carol Shea-Porter, Albio Sires, Louise Slaughter, Adam Smith, Jackie Speier, Dina Titus, Nikki Tsongas, Nydia Velazquez, Peter Welch

The Horse Transportation Safety Act has been endorsed by the Animal Welfare Institute, the Humane Society of the United States, the National Black Farmers Association, and Return to Freedom, Wild Horse Conservation.