Bipartisan legislation that would made it illegal to transport horses across state lines in double-decker trailers has been introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives.
Introduced by Representatives Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Walter B. Jones (R-NC) on Oct. 12, HR 4040, the Horse Transportation Safety Act, would prohibit the interstate transport of horses in a motor vehicle containing two or more levels stacked on top of one another. If passed, violators could be subject to fines of at least $100 for each horse involved.
The measure is the latest incarnation of similar legislation prompted by a 2007 roll-over accident involving 59 draft horses traveling from Indiana to Minnesota in a double-decker trailer. Seventeen horses were killed and several more were injured.
In a written statement the USDA said double-decker trailers do not provide adequate headroom for adult horses. Research by the National Agriculture Safety Database called for at least a 7- to 8- foot ceiling clearance to provide adequate headroom for a 15-hand horse to stand with normal posture while traveling.
The legislation, if passed, would tighten current regulations governing horse transport, said Cohen spokesman Michael Eisenstatt.
“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,” Cohen said.
The measure is pending.