The Horse Transportation Safety Act (HTSA) was recently reintroduced in the U.S. to ban the transportation of horses across state lines in double-decker trucks or trailers containing two or more levels stacked on one another.
As previously reported by WAN, the bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives last July as part of a larger federal transportation package, but the Senate failed to vote on the legislation. This year’s version of the bill currently has 105 bipartisan co-sponsors.
“Horses deserve to be transported in as humane a manner as possible. Double-deck trailers do not provide adequate headroom for adult horses, and accidents involving double-deck trailers are a horrendous reminder that the practice is also dangerous to the driving public,” Congressman Cohen, who has supported the measure since it was first introduced in 2008, said in a statement. “I look forward to this measure moving forward as it did last year and be signed into law.”
As noted by Animal Welfare Institute, the impetus for the HTSA was a horrific accident in 2007 in which a double-deck trailer carrying 59 Belgian draft horses overturned in Wadsworth, Illinois, killing 19 horses.
The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends at least a 7- or 8-foot clearance for horses; double-deck trailers usually have a ceiling clearance of 4 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 5 inches, which typically does not allow horses to stand comfortably or even fully extend their heads and necks inside. Moreover, because horses cannot maintain proper balance, they are at higher risk of injury from falling. Horses can also sustain injuries while being loaded onto the steep ramp of a double-deck trailer.
“As a society, it is imperative that we protect the welfare of animals, both big and small. As a member of the bipartisan Congressional Animal Protection Caucus and an outspoken defender of animals, I continue to be committed to ensuring that our government is doing its part in promoting animal welfare,” stated Congressman Fitzpatrick. “I am proud to stand with Representative Cohen to guarantee the safe and humane treatment of horses on highways and roads.”
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