In 2000 and 2001 there was a great deal of discussion between the USDA and humane groups when they were rewriting the Commercial Transport of Equine to Slaughter regulations. The first draft was one that the humane groups agreed was probably the most humane regulations possible for those horses. However, what was eventually accepted was nothing like the original draft. It allowed a slow phase out of the VERY inhumane double decker trailers and put in a loophole big enough to drive a semi through. Fast forward to 2007, finally the USDA/APHIS has noticed this loophole and is proposing a change in regulations to close it and accepting public comments to the proposed change.
I can assure you that those using double deckers WILL comment, so it is VERY important that those of us who care about the humane treatment of horses comment in large numbers. We cannot have a repeat of what happened back in 2000-01. Double decker trailers are not a humane way to transport ANY horse, not even when they are modified. The USDA has already admitted this and the proposed change is a step in the right direction.
I ask every person reading this to please provide comments to the proposed regulation and passing along this alert to your friends and relatives. Please address ONLY the issue of transporting horses in double deckers. Talking about horse slaughter will not help your comment to be taken seriously. We all know horse slaughter is inhumane, but the place to address those comments are to your Senators and Representative on S 311/HR 503. Until slaughter is banned, we simply must insure that the horses are treated as humanely as possible and this is something they can address.
You can provide your comments by mailing them to Docket No. APHIS-2006-0168, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. You can also comment online by going to http://www.regulations.gov and selecting Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service from the drop down menu and entering Docket number 2006-0168. Comments are being accepted until Jan. 7, 2008.