New USDA rule closes loophole on transporting horses in double-deck trailers; veterinary groups support action

Oct 18, 2011
By staff
National Report — A new rule further curtailing the use of double-deck trailers to transport horses bound for slaughter is being applauded by veterinary groups.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) praised the new rule, which was finalized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) in September and went into effect Oct. 7.

“We are very encouraged by the USDA issuing this final rule,” says Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, director of the AVMA Government Relations Division. “It is key in ensuring the proper welfare of horses being shipped long distances for the purpose of slaughter.”

Using double-decker trailers to transport horses directly to slaughter was banned in 2006, but some buyers used a loophole that allowed them to use double-deck trailers when making a stop between the auction house and the slaughter plant. The new rule bans the use of double-deck trailers when horses are banned for slaughter and are first delivered to an assembly point, feedlot or stockyard.