In Arizona, it is a crime to improperly transport your horse to a “slaughtering establishment”. It’s not a crime to improperly transport your horse if you just want to ride it, but if you’re taking it to be killed, the State of Arizona wants to make sure you do it right.
The statute that addresses this is A.R.S. 28-912. Some highlights include:
- The cargo compartment must protect the health and well-being of the equine that is being taken to be slaughtered.
- The equine must be given an opportunity to rest for 6 hours before being loaded for transport to slaughter.
- The equine must have enough floor space so that it is not crowded in such a way as to cause injury or discomfort to the horse that is about to be slaughtered.
Now we want to be clear – we are not advocating the mistreatment of horses. We think all animals should be treated humanely, even if slaughter is imminent. What stands out here is that there is not a matching statute regarding transportation of horses for recreational use. Why not? Why is the State concerned about horses going to slaughter, but not concerned about the transportation of other horses?
Consequences of improperly transporting a horse to slaughter
A first conviction for improperly transporting one horse to slaughter is a class 3 misdemeanor, the lowest level misdemeanor in Arizona. A class 3 misdemeanor can result in up to 30 days in jail, and fines up to $500 plus surcharges (just about doubling the fines), and probation. A subsequent violation is a class 2 misdemeanor.
A first conviction for improperly transporting two or more horses to slaughter is a class 2 misdemeanor. A class 2 misdemeanor can result in up to 4 months in jail, and fines up to $750 plus surcharges (just about doubling the fines), and probation. A subsequent conviction is a class 1 misdemeanor.