CHATHAM, N.Y. -- Speakers at the Equine Advocates' 2013 American Equine Summit are voicing concerns and begging for government leaders to take action against horse slaughtering in the U.S.
The nonprofit organization Equine Advocates rescues, protects and prevents the abuse of equines and is currently working to ban the slaughter of American horses for food sold outside the country.
"The average person, if you were to stop them in the shopping mall and ask them do you know what horse slaughter is, they would not be aware of it," said JoAnne Normile of Normile Racehorse Protection.
Normile, now an advocate for race horses says something must be done to keep the athletes from slaughter houses.
"We have to start protecting our race horses," said Normile.
In 2007, congress shut down the remaining horse slaughter houses in the U.S., but in 2011 it lifted a ban on funding horse processing inspections. Now horses can be butchered and their meat sold for consumption in the U.S., something Normile says is cruel and dangerous to people's health.
"They're not classified as a food animal so the drugs that are given are not overseen," said Normile.
Now those using their voices to protect the horses are concerned that slaughter houses will once again open in the United States.
"The battle is whether or not one of these new plants that wants to come back online will be able to," said John Holland, President of the Equine Welfare Alliance. "This is stupid. We shouldn't be killing our horses. Everybody knows it."
According to the government accountability office, since slaughter houses were closed in the U.S. there was an increase in horses from the U.S. being shipped for slaughter to Canada and Mexico.