A bipartisan group of lawmakers in both chambers is introducing legislation to prohibit the slaughter of horses.

The bills, written by Reps. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), would stop the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from forming new regulations to inspect horse slaughterhouses in the U.S., a move that would clear the way for horse meat in stores.

“This is a bill whose time has come,” said Meehan at a press conference on Wednesday. “Until a ban is in place, every horse is just one bad sale away from being sent to slaughter.”

Animal rights activists joined lawmakers to promote the bills, which would ban slaughterhouses in the United States and stop the current practice of shipping the animals to Mexico or Canada for slaughter. Every year, 160,000 American horses are exported to slaughterhouses abroad, according to The Humane Society.

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