Sunday, April 29, 2012

Did You Know This About Horse Slaughter?

I decided to make a list of facts (in no particular order) about horse slaughter to let people know what is really happening to America's horses.  How many did you already know?  Do you have any to add to the list?


1. Every 3.5 minutes an American horse is slaughtered in either Canada or Mexico.
2. Each year approximately 150,000+ American horses are slaughtered for human consumption.
3. A national poll showed that 80% of Americans are strongly against horse slaughter.
4. Horse slaughter is inhumane and cruel.
5. Horses are NOT raised for slaughter in the United States.
6. ALL horses are at risk, both domestic and wild.
7. Kill buyers have admitted to gouging out the eyes of horses so they don't fight on the trucks during transport.
8. Horses are our companions and are not raised for food consumption.
9. The USDA found that more than 92% of all horses sent to slaughter are in good condition - they are not old and sickly.
11. The is NO SUCH THING as an "unwanted horse".
12. On average, the cost to humanely euthanize a horse is equal to one month's care of the horse.
13. During transport to feedlots and/or slaughter houses, horses die right on the trucks and even get legs ripped off.
14. During transport, the drivers don't stop and don't give the horses food, water or rest.
15. Slaughter is not a humane form of euthanasia.
16. Slaughter is NOT a "necessary evil".
17. American's DON'T EAT horse meat.  Most horse meat is exported to Italy, France, Belgium and Japan.
18. Because of their biology, the methods used to kill horses - even in state-of-the-art slaughter plants - rarely result in quick painless deaths.
19.  Horses are often conscious during their slaughter and dismemberment.
20.  At auctions, kill buyers outbid people who would give the horse a good home and let them live.
21.  Most horses are regularly given medications that are banned in animals for human consumption.
22.  Horses helped build our country.
23.  Horses helped build economy.
24.  Horse ownership is a responsibility.



  1. None of us prefer the sentencing to death or slaughter of any animal, regardless of the species; but, the reality of it all is, that we need horse slaughter houses as a practical alternative and solution to govern the horse population. Public Laws forbid burying a horse on your own property these days because of possible contamination of water sources and supplies; so, what’s the practical alternative or solution? I agree that the need of unnecessary suffering needs to be resolved in all slaughter houses, regardless of species . . . cow, pig, chicken, etc. As for horse meat for human consumption, if it is untainted and USDA inspected, it is an excellent source of meat protein and an alternative to beef, pork, poultry, and other human-grade meat sources. If that is too hard for the U.S. human meat industry to consider, use horse meat for carnivorous animal food diets, just as other animal sources are used. The horse industry has crashed since the close of horse slaughter houses, and reopening of the horse slaughter houses is the only resolution to the over population of horses in the U.S. Do you really think that hunter’s get the shot exactly right for an instant kill every time, or slashing the throats of cows and pigs is a quick death, or wringing the necks or cutting-off the heads of chickens is instantaneous demise? Sit-back and give serious thought to all animal slaughter solutions, not just that of horses; if you’re going to sympathize with one species of animal, sympathize with them all; but the end result and reality-check has been the same for thousands of years of animal slaughter for human and animal consumption. Citizens within the U.S. need to ban together and offer better solutions to the overall humane slaughter of animals for whatever the meat by-product use is and not the concentration of one species.

    1. are correct to say that citizens meed to ban together to offer better solutions to the overall humane slaughter of animals. No animal should be made to suffer during the slaughter process. However, horses ARE a special case. They cannot be humanely slaughtered in a commercial setting; they are flight animals, unlike cows, pigs, sheep, or chickens, and react very differently to the killpen environment. Their very nature makes them unsuitable candidates for commercial slaughter where time is money. Temple Grandin, the accepted expert of commercial slaughter methods, despite all her best attempts and years of working on it, has not been able to come up with a humane method for commercial equine slaughter.

      Regarding the disposal of euthanized horses: there are other methods of disposal such as composting and cremation. Admittedly,cremation can be pricey, but properly composting euthanized horses and other farm animals is a very effective means of disposal and presents very little threat to the environment. There ARE options for just have to look for them.

      And I'd like to address the subject of 'governing' the horse population. Your posit that slaughter is the solution is merely a bandaid and does nothing to get at the root cause of the problem. The horse industry is no different than any other industry. And in no other viable, self-sustaining industry is there a built in disposal or scrap option (except for maybe puppy mill breeders who use the services of the public animal shelters.) Automakers don't keep on building cars and junking them if there is no market, do they? No. For far too long, the horse industry has been breeding at full throttle knowing full well there was a relief valve to keep prices artificially high. Then, when the economy tanked, and the market dried up, there were still the same number of horses being produced and slaughter was still just moved over the border. Closing the domestic slaughter plants had no effect on the horse population and did not deny anyone the ability to send his or her horse to slaughter. The difference this time is, enough people were and have become outraged at horses being slaughtered for ANY reason and have stepped up to wage a more vigorous campaign to end it once and for all. People need to take responsibility for the life they choose to start or keep as a companion. It's a lifetime commitment, not a temporary situation.

    2. Part I of II

      Dear Anonymous,

      Slaughter is about food production, not a means to control the population of horses. That needs to be left to those that create the excesses, the breeders. Food production is a highly regulated industry to insure the quality and safety of that which we produce.

      I live in Missouri and no law prohibits horse burial on your property, at least where I live. Besides, there are many other means of disposal such as cremation,landfill,composting, bio-digesting or rendering. Most people are able to find a way to "get rid of" the body. We have approximately 9 million + horses alive at any given time in the US and the annual attrition rate of horses that die naturally or are put down humanely is 10-12%, The rate they are slaughtered in 1-2% I ask you and others that deem slaughter a necessary evil that if we can properly dispose of 10-12% of 9 million + horses annually then why can't the relatively small addition of 1-2% be handled the same way? That logical way of thinking has led me to believe that the is absolutely no reason that we must put our equines through so much terror and pain. The world does not need another protein source and 80% of the U.S population do not agree with eating horses or their slaughter.

      Cows, chickens, pigs etc are raised for food production unlike horses. They are heavily regulated from birth to slaughter. Horses are not because......they are not raised specifically for food. As a result they are given many products that are clearly labeled "not for use in food producing animals". The horses we send to slaughter are filled with banned substances. Can you not see that fact alone renders them unfit for humans to eat?

      The decline of the price of a horse cannot be specifically allocated to the demise of domestic slaughter. What it can and should be attributed to is the world wide economic recession. The worst since the Great Depression. High unemployment rates, rapid increases in the cost of living and the costs associated with keeping large animals are factors that have affected the horse industry. Then lastly we have a shift in demographics. Baby boomers are entering retirement at an ever increasing rate. They no longer have the income to take care of a horse or participate in horse related activities as they once did. The upcoming generation is about 1/2 of what the baby boomers were so you have more people leaving the horse industry and you have less entering it. All these factors combined have had a deleterious effect. Bringing back slaughter will only put a bandaid on the real problem and that is over breeding the market. Breeders need to be cautious rather than fool hardy. They over bred in the boon of the baby boomer years, and are still over producing, just not to the degree they were. Slaughter is nothing more than a convenient means to be rid of those that do not make the cut or the owner chooses to shirk their responsibility. I do not believe we should foster that mentality.

      I have gone over the character count so will be continued in part two.

    3. Part II of II

      Slaughter houses do not afford a horse a humane death. You mention hunters but I will argue that even though some hunters may not get the killing shot the first time at least the animal they are targeting has no idea it is going to die until that moment, it is not transported hundreds of miles without food, water or rest. Nor is it pushed and prodded with groups of other prey animals while being forced into a kill box. There is no comparison there. As for the livestock that are raised to produce food (and I do agree that abuse exists in that arena too which needs to be dealt with too) such as cows, sheep, and pigs the fact of the matter is that they are recognized as food animals and are handled that way their entire lives. They form no bonds with humans (to speak of). Horses are kept as companion animals and are used to a close relationship with humans. That is where the betrayal comes in for me. There are many other reasons that make equine slaughter inhumane but no need to go into them since they are not a food source. We all make choices about what we eat. I choose not to eat veal due to the fact the calves are ripped from their mothers side at birth and put into a small box for the rest of their short lives. They are fed low protein/iron milk to the point of anemia and are forced to remain still, I choose to avoid cows milk because it is the reason for the veal industry, I choose not to eat kosher produced animal products because the slaughter process is beyond cruel. I choose not to eat a lot of things due to the excessive cruel nature of slaughter and factory farms. But the one glaring difference is that one fact..... that horses are not a food producing animal first. The ones that end up slaughtered are the unlucky ones. I believe that we can get to a balance of supply and demand if we all try hard enough. I sympathize with all animals that are exploited by humans and suffer because of it. I am not for the end of animal agriculture but I am most definitely for holding those that supply our food accountable for their means to an end. No animal should have to suffer the indignities that they now suffer. In conclusion, I think citizens of the U.S. should ban together and end the inhumane practice of the slaughter of American horse within and outside our borders. I do not think America should cater to the underbelly of the horse world anymore. It's Nike time folks.....just say NO ! ! !

  2. Declan these are all excellent points for people to consider why horse slaughter is inhumane. It always has been and there is simply no way to make it humane, despite the fact that some people try and convince otherwise.

    As far as the comment by "Anonymous" I would like to point out the following:

    a) I would think if you believe so strongly in your convictions you would at least be willing to use your name, rather than the ubiquitous "anonymous".

    b) The reality is we do NOT need horse slaughter as a practical alternative and solution to govern the horse population. What we DO NEED is breeders that are responsible. If you don't have a buyer for that new foal, simple, don't breed. Period. For too long now greedy and unscrupulous breeders have used horse slaughter as convenient inventory control.

    The American Quarter Horse Association and the Horse Racing Industry being the worst offenders. 40% of horses slaughtered each year are Quarter Horses and 40% are Thoroughbreds. Callous people continue to breed horses as if they are a crop of fruit to be harvested. They are not. Horses are sentient beings who feel fear, terror, anxiety and pain. They are noble animals who helped us settle this country, fight our wars, carried us on their backs and provided love companionship. They do not deserve to be carved up as a delicacy for European and Asian diners.

    Most Americans would no more think eating their companion horse than they would their dog or cat.

  3. Dear Declan - you rock, Mister! Don't you let anyone tell you different. Children are our future, and it does my heart good to know that children like you will be leading the next generation into that future. I applaud you for standing up for what you believe in, for having the courage of your convictions and for taking that stand, along with your steadfast convictions, to the Hill! So many of us out here are so very, very proud of you.

    Your above points are accurate, honest, well thought out and articulated...and sadly, true.

    As for you, Mr./Mrs./Ms. Anonymous - please state your name. No hiding here. I can only assume that you, on the other hand, might possibly not have the courage of your convictions, and you may well be one of the breeders, professional or otherwise, who benefit by turning your back on your responsibility. Or perhaps merely an owner of a Horse or three that has tired of them. Bottom line, Sir...or M''s about responsibility and owning up to that responsibility. Not tossing to the curb what no longer suits your fancy like a piece of old furniture. Life is NOT disposable. Nor are the creatures we choose to bring into our lives as pets, as companions, as fellow friends, who ask nothing in return but compassion and proper care for the partnership they give us.

    A few words of one of your sentences, Anonymous, does ring true - we do need to "ban ["band", I assume you meant, though we do need to "ban" Horse slaughter, thank you] together and offer better solutions", but the slaughtering of our Horses for consumption by humans is NOT the solution - it is the problem. If slaughter were not an option, owners and breeders would be forced to take responsibility for the living, breathing magnificent creature that is the Horse, the creature you once welcomed into your life. They would be forced to THINK before they breed, THINK before they purchase, THINK. Oh, I know...crap happens, but there are alternatives. One of them is called humane euthanasia, and if people would think beyond their immediate gratification and constant desire for bigger, better, faster, (and oh, yes the almighty $$$)and factor this, and only this, in as their 'go to' when that crap happens, as well as when their companion has reached that time in their life when life is no longer offering comfort...if humane euthanasia were the only alternative....the slaughter of our Horses for any reason would be a distant, revolting, worthless, inhumane memory. together as compassionate human beings, band together to STOP the madness that is the possibility of the slaughter of our Horses on American soil, and band together to STOP the transport of our Horses across our borders to that evil fate.

    Bottom line #2 - evolved, enlightened, moral humans do NOT eat their pets, or anyone elses' pets.

    And as a not-so-side note, do you really believe that "USDA inspected" actually means safe and untainted? I prefer the antibiotics and other medications I ingest to be prescribed by my doctor...but that's just me.