The Real Skinny on Horse Slaughter

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As is often the case, perception and reality are two entirely different animals.  Let’s take horse slaughter, for example. Follow along as I relate a story of two horses, both bound for slaughter.

Thunder is old, lame, injured, unrideable and unwanted.  Unsuccessful in their attempts to find him a home, his owners, who can no longer afford to feed him, take him to the local auction.  Some “killer buyers” pay the owner $400, and load the horse onto a truck.  Thunder takes a ride down the road to the slaughterhouse, where he is humanely euthanized under the watchful eye of the USDA and other agencies who ensure he does not suffer.

Then, some animal rights activist gets a photo of a horse hanging up-side-down from a hook at a slaughterhouse (most likely in Mexico or Japan), and publishes the photo on the internet.  The cry goes out: Save the Poor Abused Horses! End The Suffering of Our Equine Friends!!!  As might be predicted, the photo and rally cries spread across the internet like wildfire.  Next thing you know there is a bill to ban horse slaughter in congress.  More publicity, more rally cries, and poof! Just like that, horse slaughter in the US is banned.  Everyone breathes a sigh of relief and goes home.

But hold on. There’s a final chapter in this story that has not been publicized. While everyone is patting each other on the back and congralutating themselves on saving the Noble Horse, nobody is paying attention to what is happening now.

Horse slaughter has been banned in the US.  It has not, however, been banned in other countries. Horse meat is still popular for consumption in many countries, and where there is demand, there is supply.  Now,  take Zippy, Thunder’s cousin, who is taking an entirely different trip to the slaughterhouse than old Thunder.  He is still purchased by the killer buyers at the auction. Then he is loaded onto a cattle truck or train car (no need to regulate this anymore… it’s no longer our problem!) where he cannot stand up. He rides for many days and nights with no food or water. (No need to feed or water him, right?  The USDA’s not looking!)   Some of his travelmates will die on the way.  He has to lie among the dead ones.  Finally he gets to a dirty slaughterhouse in Mexico, where a chain is wrapped around his hind leg and he is dragged from the truck.  Too weak to stand, his head is bashed against the floor as they hang him up, still alive. He will be lucky if someone comes along to slit his throat before he is dropped, head first, into a vat of boiling acid to de-hair him.

Congratulations, America!  Another job well done.  But don’t take my word for it… First, read this excellent article about what happens to horses in the racing industry.

Then, check out this fact sheet from the American Quarter Horse Association, the largest horse organization in America:

HORSE SLAUGHTER MYTHS AND FACTS  — Reprinted from the Virginia Quarter Horse Assoc. website

MYTH: Horse slaughter must be stopped because it is inhumane.
FACT: The euthanasia method used at the plants occurs before processing, and this method is humane, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the USDA, which regulates the practice. The method meets specific humane requirements set forth by AVMA’s Panel on Euthanasia, the U.S. Congress,1 the American Association of Equine Practitioners, and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) Statement on Euthanasia because it results in instantaneous brain death. The plants are required to have USDA veterinarians on site supervising the euthanasia of each horse during the entire time the plant is in operation. The veterinarian is bound by law to stop the process and close the plant immediately if any evidence of inhumane treatment is witnessed. Retired USDA veterinarians who fulfilled this role are available for interviews.

MYTH: Banning U.S. horse slaughter will not affect our economy since the plants are foreign-owned.
FACT: Hundreds of employees in the United States who work for horse owners, trucking companies, auction houses, shipping companies and other suppliers will lose their jobs. The plant communities of DeKalb, Illinois, and Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, will be especially hard-hit, with each of the local economies taking a predicted hit of $41 million. The value of each horse will decrease by approximately $300, according to an independent report on the unintended consequences of a horse slaughter ban — the ripple effect of which is predicted to cripple the $40 billion U.S. horse industry.2 The negative impact will be significant, just as it is when a Toyota plant or other foreign-owned business is closed in any other community.

MYTH: If horse slaughter for human consumption is banned, the processing plants will still accept horses and process them for other important purposes.
FACT: H.R. 503’s ban on processing horses for human consumption will close down the three processing plants, according to plant owners, and result in:

  • Elimination of the only option that provides salvage value to the horse owner for an animal that is no longer serviceable, useful or desired.
  • Elimination of the only USDA-inspected source of equine protein, an essential element in the diet of U.S. zoo animals.
  • Elimination of the only large-scale equine research venue for leading schools of veterinary medicine.
  • Elimination of the only U.S. source of equine pericardium sacs used in human heart surgeries.
  • Elimination of the service plants provide to horse owners by preparing the horse carcasses for acceptance by rendering plants – a time consuming procedure that the slaughter plants now provide at no cost to the owner.

MYTH: The only way to prevent the inhumane treatment of horses is to BAN the private property right to choose horse processing.
FACT: Congress has already performed its duty by passing laws that govern the humane treatment of horses during transportation to the plants and onsite. Enforcement of these laws is the role of the USDA and local and state officials, so if there is ever a compliance problem, these officials will report it. However, if the right to send a horse to slaughter is taken away from horse owners, the Unintended Consequences paper predicts serious problems. Nearly half of all horse owners earn between $25,000 and $75,000 per year.3 If these owners are forced to pay $300-$2,000 to dispose of a horse, instead of being able to receive value for their property ($300-400 for processing), the report says that some owners will have no other option but to abandon the animal, slaughter it themselves and prepare the carcass for rendering, or simply neglect it by not adequately feeding the horse. Concerns regarding the effects of BSE and other diseases on rendered products have resulted in a decreasing number of rendering facilities in the U.S., so horse owners are finding it increasingly difficult to find a renderer. Horse burial is illegal in many areas.

MYTH: The horse industry supports HR 503.
FACT: The American Quarter Horse Association (largest U.S. horse organization), the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture (which has jurisdiction over the legislation), and 190 other horse, veterinary, cattle, and agriculture organizations OPPOSE this horse slaughter ban based on fundamental economic, humane and public health issues. Many horse owners support keeping the
horse processing option, even if some choose not to use it.

MYTH: If U.S. horse slaughter is banned, Kentucky Derby champions like Ferdinand will be saved from slaughter in the future.
FACT: Ferdinand was slaughtered in Japan, and this ban will not prevent the foreign slaughter of any future unwanted horses. After horses leave this country – whether they go to Mexico, Latin America, or Japan – passage of HR 503 would not prevent them from being slaughtered in one of many foreign slaughterhouses, where seven million horses are slaughtered each year for human consumption. The legislation would simply eliminate the U.S. plants: the most stringently regulated and humane animal processing plants in the world.

MYTH: “Some horses…are improperly stunned and are conscious when they are hoisted by a rear leg to have their throats cut,” states the HSUS horse slaughter fact sheet posted at http://www.hsus.org.
FACT: Each and every horse is humanely euthanized before any processing activities occur and the three plants have a documented track record of humane treatment. In fact, USDA veterinarian inspectors are present for the humane euthanasia of every horse, and are mandated by law to stop the process if the horses aren’t rendered brain dead before they are moved and processed. Not only is humane treatment the law, it is good business practice. Treating the horses well and minimizing their pain and stress keeps the plants operating smoothly and efficiently.

MYTH: Horse neglect did not increase in the past when the number slaughtered horses declined, so if HR 503 passes and the number of horses slaughtered drops from 90,000 to zero, there will be no increase in neglect, according to bill sponsor Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky). 4
FACT: An increase in neglect is likely, according to university experts, because the ban will take away the only option that provides salvage value for disposing of the nation’s unwanted horses. According to the Unintended Consequences report, “Tens of thousands of horses could be neglected or abandoned if a processing ban were imposed…Local and state governments will be adversely impacted by increased costs of regulation and care of unwanted or neglected horses.”5 Market forces, not slaughter plants, determine how many horses go to slaughter. Since there is no national system for recording and tracking horse neglect, there is no way to identify trends or compare trends to slaughter numbers. Each year, a variety of factors dictate the number of unwanted horses: the number of horses with insurmountable behavior problems, the disposable income of horse owners, and the market value of horses. The plants are the repository for the unwanted horses that no one else will take.

MYTH: If horse slaughter is banned, people will adopt or buy the unwanted horses.
FACT: The horses that go to slaughter are the unwanted of the unwanted — often because they can’t be ridden, or are dangerous. Their market value is so low, no one else bought them. A few of the influx of 60,000 to 90,000 unwanted horses may be adopted. However, if there were such a demand to adopt and care for this type of horse, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management would
have been able to find homes for the thousands of unwanted wild horses that taxpayers paid nearly $40 million to feed and shelter in 2005. The average yearly cost of caring for a horse is $2,300 and many horses live to be 30 years old. According to a memo from the Congressional Research Service, “A key concern expressed by a number of equine groups is whether the existing U.S. horse sanctuaries have adequate resources to absorb the large number of animals that could be confiscated or otherwise diverted from slaughter if this law were to pass…AHPA agrees that no nationwide standard-setting or oversight system is in place and also that no rescue organizations may have the resources or business capabilities to take in large numbers of horses.”6

MYTH: Slaughter plants should be closed because that’s where stolen horses end up.
FACT: There is no evidence of a stolen horse problem at the plants, so banning horse slaughter can’t be a solution. The three horse slaughter plants document every horse that arrives, and very few, if any, stolen horses have been found. In Texas, as of 1997, a law enforcement official onsite inspects each horse and checks it against reports of stolen horses. In Illinois, horses arriving are also checked against records of stolen horses. Why would someone steal a horse worth $3,000 or $800 to sell it for $300 to a processing plant?

MYTH: Horses are treated poorly during transport to slaughter.
FACT: The treatment of horses to slaughter is stringently regulated. No other animal has humane treatment laws governing its transportation to slaughter, so horses are already protected more than any other livestock animal. USDA reports that the regulations are being enforced. In fact, an analysis published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 1999, conducted by renowned animal welfare expert Temple Grandin, PhD, stated “…owner abuse or neglect (before transportation) is the primary cause of severe welfare problems in horses arriving at slaughter plants.” Although USDA has increased the number of inspections of horse transportation to slaughter, inspectors have found no evidence of a systemic problem, according to a recent USDA letter to the House Committee on Agriculture.7

MYTH: Video on anti-slaughter Web sites proves that horse slaughter is not humane.
FACT: The footage of horses being mistreated may have been shot in Mexico or Latin America, but it was NOT filmed in any of the three U.S. plants operating today, nor does it reflect the humane euthanasia process mandated by current federal laws and regulations. To the plants’ and their regulators’ knowledge, there is no evidence that demonstrates a systemic problem of horses being mistreated in the three U.S. processing plants. Therefore, there is no defendable reason to ban horse processing for human consumption.

MYTH: Americans should support HR 503 because animal rights groups say it will improve horse welfare.
FACT: The Humane Society of the United States also said it would improve the welfare of animals saved after Hurricane Katrina, but HSUS is currently under investigation by the Louisiana Attorney General, who is questioning exactly how they improved animal welfare, especially since they raised $30 million to pursue this end.8 The Animal Liberation Front supports a ban on horse slaughter so strongly that one of their members burned down a horse slaughter plant in 1997, putting animals at risk. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) employees were also charged with animal cruelty last year for killing cats and dogs and throwing them into dumpsters after stating they were going to take them to shelters and put them up for adoption.9

# # #

1 – The Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1904, The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1977, and USDA Food Safety Inspection Service
Regulations on Humane Handling and Slaughter of Livestock (1978 – 2003) and 1996 Commercial Transportation of Horses to Slaughter
(updated 2002)
2 – Ahearn J, Anderson D, Bailey D, et al. “The Unintended Consequences of a Ban on the Humane Slaughter (Processing) of Horses in the
United States,” available at http://www.animalwelfarecouncil.org. Accessed July 29, 2006.
3 – American Horse Council, 2005
4 – U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee Hearing on H.R. 503, 25 July 2006
5 – Ahearn J, Anderson D, Bailey D, et al. “The Unintended Consequences of a Ban on the Humane Slaughter (Processing) of Horses in the
United States,” available at http://www.animalwelfarecouncil.org. Accessed July 29, 2006.
6 – Memo from Congressional Research Service to House Agriculture Committee, “Equine Rescue Organizations,” May 7, 2004
7 – Letter from USDA to Bob Goodlatte, Chairman, U.S. House Committee on Agriculture.
8 – Salmon, Jacqueline, “Red Cross, Humane Society Under Investigation” Sunday, March 26, 2006, p. A10, available at
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/25/AR2006032501002_2.html. Retrieved August 14, 2006.
9 – “PETA Employees Face Felony Cruelty Animal Charges,” available at http://www.petakillsanimals.com/petaTrial.cfm. Retrieved August 21,2006.

Another important article is at:

http://sev.prnewswire.com/agriculture/20060830/DCW04130082006-1.html

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78 Responses

  1. AMEN AMEN AMEN, I agree on every point. The value of the horses I have bred from great bloodlines is practically nothing. The market is ruined. I am so tired of the minority running the country.

  2. Can we REALLY trust the USDA to properly do their job of regulating slaughter? It appears to me we cannot…

  3. You bring up a very good point… and it’s true, the USDA is not ‘all that it could be’ on many levels… but I think in this case it would have been the lesser of the evils… of course, sadly, it’s a moot point now.

  4. I think it would make sence to open up a couple of processing plants in every state so we can choose and take our own horses to be destroyed if necessary. That way they wouldn’t always have to be auctioned to someone who has access to slaughter plants. When I lived in CA we had a rendering plant and when it was time to end a horses life to stop the suffering they would take the horse in and put it down for $5. They kept the body and processed it.
    If we had a place to take the horses and maybe get paid that little bit of blood money in the end then maybe fewer horses would suffer neglect because they always pay more when the horse is in better condition. Just another take on the matter.

  5. I agree that we should have highly regulated slaughter houses here. As someone said it is the lesser of the evils. However, I think that the mentallity of sending a horse to auction and slaughter as the norm for ending it’s life is something that we need to change. Every horse owner should figure the expense of humanely having their horse euthanized by a vet and hauled away when the time comes as part of the cost of horse ownership. Stop trying to squeeze a few more bucks out your horse by sending it off to auction and step up to the responsibilty of ownership from start to end.

    • Thank you! Finally! No one expects for someone to buy their dog or cat from them when it’s old or sick. Why then horses? I’m sure in most cases the horses have fulfilled their duty and then some! Give them a proper death. If you cannot afford it, then it may be time to consider that owning a horse is not right for you.

  6. In a perfect world, that would be fine. In actuality, a lot of horse owners find themselves not in a financial position to have their horse euthanized. In the situation now (after the plants have been closed), many horses are starving in their pastures because the owner cannot afford to feed them, and now has no other options but to let them starve. At least the auction/killer buyers provided an incentive for owners to bring them to the sale, where the horse had a small chance of being bought by someone other than a killer buyer…. either way, at least they would not be just starving like they are now. It is worse, I think.

  7. Sad as it is, it is not as sad as those poor horses being shipped to Mexico. That is a nightmare. And just to put some fears to rest, I am a natural horsemanship trainer, a third year student in vet school, and I have worked for the USDA. And the only way to make sure slaughter is done humanely is to get the USDA actively involved! They aren’t perfect, but they are the best we have, and they do a pretty good job. So put pressure on your neighbors, congressmen, etc, to reverse this law so we can help these horses and the people who can no longer afford to take care of them in a humane way.

  8. How about those who live in areas where illegal to bury bodies of livestock. I would rather have a place to take an elderly horse to be euthanized than to have their body lay by the road (sometimes for days) to get picked up. I have even seen where and injured horse was required to walk to the road to be put down.(talk about the “Walk of Death”) Doesn’t make more sense to have a processing plant that is regulated versus making horses suffer more. Or try explaining to a kid why their horse is laying by the road to get picked up. Has to be a better way.

  9. THANK YOU. Finally something more than a gut reaction to all of the hype. Your facts are correct and you are taking a rational approach to educating an equine public who have so far responded emotionally rather than rationally to our current problem.

    You might consider adding an article I recently red in JAVMA that horse abuse cases in the US have increased since the slaughter ban was imposed.

  10. Finally a true horseman!! Like me, you know you can only save so many, and then what about the rest. We are licensed dealers and the horse prices have been pushed so low by the ban that we actually have to turn horse owners away that want to GIVE us horses. I have 6 horses of my own now, having added 2 in the last year, but that is all I can keep. I am also training a few horses to give them a future and feeding a few horses that are nice but were starved. I know that I “the hated horse dealer” am doing more to help than most of the activist that campaigned to shut the plants here are. I am investing my personal time and money into trying to save a few, not just signing a petition and then going on my happy way. I see the results of what they accomplished everyday, and it almost brings me to tears at times, at least I use to know the fate of the unwanted horses was humane slaughter, now you can only imagine the what the end holds for so many.

  11. You stated that horses go to the slaughter house because they are dangerous. Well actually, a true “natural horseman” knows that there is no such thing as a dangerous horse. Horses only act dangerous when THEY feel they are in danger of YOU.

    Keepin it Natural
    -AS

    • Hi Amanda,
      Thanks for your input. Let me correct you on a couple points. I said ONE of the reasons a horse might be sent to slaughter was because it was dangerous. And there is indeed such a thing as a dangerous horse. I’ll give you one example: One horse I rescued in California was a chronic kicker. He had been traumatized as a youngster when something wrapped around his back legs and trapped him. After he recovered from his injuries, he spent the rest of his life kicking at ANYTHING that came near his hind end, whether it be a dog (he’d killed one and injured another), a person, a child, whatever. I worked with him for 6 months and was not able to get him to the point where I deemed him safe to be around. I then sent him to a 5-star Parelli instructor who specialized in problem horses. She did everything she could think of and could not get him to the point where he was safe. We ended up donating him to one of her students to be a pasture ornament, which was lucky for him. Most horses do not have that option, and most people cannot afford to have a useless horse hanging around sucking up $$ in feed and vet bills. While I agree there are not many horses that I would say are beyond help, there are some. Personally, I don’t like to see any horse suffer for any reason, but if that horse was starving out in some field, I think humane euthanasia/slaughter would have been preferable.

    • Also consider horses with conditions such as Wobblers, which can turn a perfectly wonderful horse into a threat to the lives of everyone around him in the blink of an eye- due to a malformed spine, which can never be fixed. Wobbler horses are extremely dangerous, and not everyone has the time, resources, and guts to accommodate a horse that has a condition that can cause it to turn into an animal that actively charges at you with the intent to kill.

      • It’s really hard to be civil to someone who would try to sell a crippled horse for slaughter rather than euthanize him. The good news is, the Killers probably won’t buy him – the slaughter plants DO NOT accept crippled horses! If by some chance they do take him, he faces a LONG ride in an overcrowded trailer with strange horses that are as panicky as he is. As a Wobbler, he will certainly fall down and be trampled by the other horses. If he is lucky, he will be dead before he reaches the slaughter plant.

        Please don’t EVER get more horses. They just don’t deserve YOU.

  12. YOUR article was wonderful. I agreed with everything YOU wrote. Then you quoted the AQHA. I don’t feel it is fair to your readers to quote the opinion of one organization, especially the largest supporter of horse slaughter. Why do you think they are the largest supporter of slaughter? I will not take the time to agree or agrue each of the myths or facts. What I will say are some of my feelings regarding slaughter. Like dogs and cats, there are too many horses and not enough homes. We need to educate people to stop randomly breeding horses. Yes, there are too many worthless horses on the market because of careless breeding, and not enough training. Everyone is responsible for this, including the QH, TB, Arab, ect., and backyard breeders. They breed all their mares, then when they don’t get a saleable foal its off to the auction for a quick buck. Something is better than nothing. Remember, slaughter age is 6 months and older.
    I think it was wrong to have closed the slaughter plants in the US. What should have been done was to enforce the laws already on the books. Cruelty was occuring. Horses were suffering. This was because, for whatever reason, the laws already on the books were not being followed. As we know this is true with all animals, not just horses. Lets not make more laws, lets enforce the ones we already have.

    • Why would the AQHA or anyone else stop over breeding when slaughter is available? If slaughter were the solution for overpopulation, why do we STILL have overpopulation after 30 YEARS of unfettered access to slaughter?

      The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.

      And just what existing laws are you referring to, pray tell. The USDA totally ignored the welfare of the horses then, and it would be even worse now because they don’t have any money.

      The guy that’s trying to reopen his plant for horses in New Mexico was shut down two times in a year and a half when he was slaughtering cattle for inhumane handling and environmental violations. In all the years we had horse slaughter plants – from the early 70s to 2007 – the USDA took hundreds of pictures of the most horrific treatment you will ever see, but they NEVER ONCE shut those hell-holes down. Why do you think it would be better now that they are broke?

  13. Thank you,
    Its really nice to have some one put some light on what is going on know that slaughter plants are shut down in the u.s.
    I know that none of us like the idea of horse slaughter and we see all the sad pics of hanging horses …….now that we have shut down slaughter plants that had boundries and laws to obey,the real night mare starts FOR THE HORSE. The people didn’t stop anything(horse slaughter) they just made it harder on the horse. If in fact the horse isn’t sold to a kill buyer it is probably dropped of in the mountains to fend for itself (we have it all the time where we live)We found horses starved to death or still alive but hamstrung by preditors on deaths door. The abuse these poor animals go through from abuse to neglect in any and every fashion.
    I don’t know what the solution is but the horse is worse off in my opinion and the “people” should have looked at the big picture.

  14. Hi Aeron,
    would you allow me to copy the whole article and translate it to german and to publish it in some forums and other platforms in english and german? Of course I will always name the author and give a link to your page.

    Thanks! S.

  15. Sorry…but going to have to disagree with you on the slaughter issue. To extend your example of “Thunder,” I can’t think of anything sadder than some family’s poor old horse being taking away from everything and everyone he’s ever known, run though an auction, crammed onto a trailer with several other terrified horses and shipped off to slaughter.

    And don’t even try to use that pathetic excuse of, “They can’t afford the humane euthanasia.” For Shame! If you can “afford” a horse, you darn well better have a few hundred bucks set aside to humanely give that horse a dignified and painless end when his time comes! THAT is what’s known as responsible ownership – taking care of your animal from start to finish!

    As for slaughter in general, the question responsible horse people should be asking is not, “Why are so many horses going to slaughter,” but instead, “Why do we have so many unwanted horses?” The issue of slaughter will never go away until people stop over-breeding horses. You’d think it would be common sense – simple supply and demand economics. The market for horses is poor. Therefore, stop over-supplying. And yet, breeding goes unchecked.

    The slaughter industry is driven by greed, and supplied by ignorance.

    • Yes, ideally, a horse owner paying for the humane euthanasia of their older/unwanted/unusable horses is the best solution. Unfortunately, this is not what’s happening. I attend local horse auctions every month to monitor the situation, and I can tell you that the majority of the people who bring horses to these sales are not the types to spend a couple hundred dollars PER HORSE to put the poor critters down. And yes, I think we have already agreed that we need to stop over-breeding… but it will take YEARS before we see any kind of sizable reduction in numbers…. the question is, what do we do with the horses that are starving NOW? It’s easy to say “spend the money to put them down humanely,” so if it’s so easy, why don’t you come, as my guest, to the next horse auction, and buy up some of these crippled or dangerous horses, and you can put your money where your mouth is.

      • My name is Kayla Lonkard kaylalonkard@yahoo.com give me an e-mail if ya’lll want, but thankyou! “Put your money where your mouth is” no one wants to do that, the problem is they don’t own horses but want to tell horse owners how to take care of our horses and the industry they don’t understand. I am a breeder and trainer and I can tell you the problem is people overbreeding but also that without slaughter its going to be very difficult because people can’t get rid of these unwanted horses unless they shoot them themselves and then PETA or someone like ya’ll with your bleeding hearts would have a fit. These are private property and people need to remember that. If anyone has a problem, you’ve got my contact information. Bring it.

      • It’s against the law to even SHIP a crippled horse to slaughter, and the plants, operating under stricter EU regulations, really will NOT accept them – even in Mexico. So, what do the kill buyers do with these rejects? They take them to a deserted stretch of road and abandon them. Or, they leave them in a feed lot without access to food, water of shelter. This has been documented by about 5 agencies including the USDA. At least 5,000 horses have been abandoned in this way.

        And, there is a feed lot in Presidio, TX, where, in spite of proof that horses were dying there, Federal Vets were ordered to stay away. You can check this out too if you don’t care to take my word for it. If you do check for yourself, you’ll find that I left our a LOT of stuff that will curl your hair.

      • Okay Suzanne, I hear what you’re saying. So here is my question: Yes, lots of horses are suffering. So what can be done about it? If you are going to complain about something, you must be prepared to do something about it. What’s your solution?

    • miznova,
      You are so anti-horse slaughter, and do not agree with the fact that horses should be taken to slaughterhouses when there is no longer a use for them. These animals (in the United States) were processed EXACTLY the same as are cattle. Are you saying that we should stop cattle production as well? I had a pet steer, but that did not stop me letting him go to a slaughter house. He provided food for humans, and these horses provided food for humans in other countries that could not get beef as easily. When the slaughter houses closed, not only have horses been mistreated, but humans in other countries-children in other countries-starved because Americans no longer wanted to allow their LIVESTOCK to be processed for them to eat. America is the only country that does not eat horsemeat, just as India is the main country that refuses to eat beef. We should not allow other human beings to starve just because of people who do not understand the Agriculture industry. What do you propose that we do with all of the sick and dying horses now? They are unchecked, just as deer would be if hunting was banned. We can inject them with poison to achieve euthanasia, (which is the ONLY humane way to slaughter an animal according to PETA and HSUS) and give them a proper burial. But did you know that the stuff they injected can seep into water systems after the body decays (and I am including underground water, not just streams and water runoff and whatnot), a child could drink it and die? This is just some food for thought. But then again, there are children who died of starvation (and of course the media was not going to show this side because horses are more important than children apparently) just because the American population is under educated about their most basic human need-their own agriculture production, and sustenance for life.

      • Sara – The problem with horse slaughter is that the bolt to the head has been proven to often not render them unconscious or dead as horses throw there heads around, are terrified and freak out. (Anyone who has ever owned a horse know this to be a fact and it has also been documented) After inspections of horse slaughter plants they have found horse heads with more than 5 – 7 shots to the head. Although possibly paralyzed it has also been shown that horses have gone through the whole slaughter, skinned etc. alert and in extreme pain until they finally bleed out! I urge you to do more research as surely you cannot find that humane. I also don’t believe that banning horse slaughter in the US would somehow end starving children in other parts of the world as there are plenty of cheaper ways to fix world hunger than horse slaughter so I really don’t know where you are going with that argument.

  16. When was horse slaughter banned in the US? That bill was just once again introduced January 14th, 2009. I know the last plants closed but I don’t believe it was because horse slaughter was banned, can someone clarify for me?

    • drj…….I will attempt again to answer your question. Horse slaughter was never banned in the US. Instead USDA horse meat inspection was defunded. That shut the last of the plants down and kept any more from opening until this past November. At that time Kingston, Khol and Blunt went into a back room after our Ag committee voted to keep the defunding in the budget and removed it. A simple check at maplight.org will show you the campaign donations to these three by the meat industry, along with other politicians.

  17. As far as I know, the last US slaughterhouse closed in Sept of 2007 (see article here: http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/09/23/bloomberg/bxhorse.php). The bill that is up now is attempting to control the shipment of horses to Mexico and Canado for slaughter… (article here: http://www.winonadailynews.com/articles/2008/03/23/news/07horses.txt).
    Unfortunately, horses are still shipped out of the country for slaughter to places where there are fewer laws to protect them… if we had slaughterhouses here in the US, at least we could control them and ensure the horses were destroyed humanely. It’s not a pretty picture, but we could be doing more to protect the horses and ensure their last days were not as horrible.

  18. I am a veterinarian and have seen hours and hours of footage from hidden cameras of horses slaughtered at plants in the USA and Canada. If you could see these videos there is no possible way that a compassionate horse over like yourself could claim that current horse slaughter practices in the USA or Canada constitutes a humane death. I have seen footage of multiple horses hung before there were rendered unconscious, horses shot multiple times in the head after misfires failed to kill them on the first shot and so an. ALL of these things occurred in the presence of veterinary inspectors. The fact is that many of the people who work in horse kill plants DO NOT CARE about animal suffering. Your list of facts and myths is poorly researched. Some horse slaughter facilities in North America, excluding Mexico, are horror chambers and no horse owner with a heart could possibly wish a horse to be executed in such a manner.

    • I never said the plants in the USA or Canada were humane… quite the opposite. I think you missed the point of the article, which was: we need to MAKE them more humane.. but the only way we can control that is if the plants are IN the US. We can’t control the plants in Mexico and Canada, which is where all the horses are currently going… and we won’t even get into the horrible journey without food and water getting them TO these plants. Yes, we have all seen the horrible videos… so the question is: how do we make things better? Ending horse slaughter is not an option… so what’s the next best thing? To minimize the suffering of the animals. That’s what my article was about…. and ps, the “Facts and Myths” section was written by the largest horse organization in the world, the AQHA, so you should take your criticism of their research practices directly to them.

      • aeronm – There IS NO humane way to slaughter a horse for consumption. I realize that your argument is that they suffer worse by being transported and agree. The humane solution is to also ban the transportation of horses for slaughter. But allowing this horrific practice to take place in the US is not the answer. In my opinion!

  19. Also, it does not help the economy of these cities if no one wants to live near a horse slaughter plant

    • Hmmm… no one wants to live near a prison, power plant, dump, or sewage treatment facility either. What do you suggest we do with those?

  20. You are not correct in your communications about Commercial Horse Slaughter at all and I suspect you are someone who is connected to the financial gains of this cruel and toxic practice. Get your facts straight! THEY DO NOT “EUTHANIZE” HORSES FOR SLAUGHTER!!! They have always and continue to shoot them in the head, which is completely ineffective and produces levels of adrenaline and cortisol in the meat end product that are far, far higher than what is legally allowed in beef. It is impossible to “humanely” kill a horse for the purposes of human consumption in a commercial environment. I have the full endorsement of Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM and expert USDA supervisor of slaughter inspection for nearly 20 years, who spoke out against the unsafe and inhumane head-shot kill process to U.S. Congress in 2008. The AQHA is a purely political organization that is corrupted from the top down. They know not of what they speak at all, claiming commercial horse slaughter can be humane. This has never been proven and never been practiced. Google Commercial Horse Slaughter, watch the bodies of the horses twitching post-shot and judge for yourself. If you know anything at all about slaughter, the chemistry and biology involved in slaughter, you would realize that your statements are contrary to the truth. Horses produce more adrenaline and cortisol per pound than any other animal.

    • Karin, you DO realize that “euthanize” means kill, right? Yes, they do kill the horses. Also, the horses are killed the exact same way cows are killed (bolt to the head in the US, much much worse in Mexico and Canada), so your statement implying that the process is somehow worse for horses than for cows is patently false. Also, please read all the articles on my site more carefully…. no one has said the process is humane. What I said was: it IS possible to make the process MORE humane than it is now. Also, you have missed the most important point which is: we CANNOT control what is happening to our horses once they cross into Mexico and Canada… but we CAN control what happens to them in the US… don’t you think it would be better to have control over these processing plants? Do you think the animals are treated any better in the other countries? Because I assure you, they are not. And yes, I have seen all of the horrible videos, 99% of which were shot in Mexico and Canada, and illustrate EXACTLY what I am talking about. If you truly want to make a difference in these horses’ lives, then I suggest that you and all of your teenage friends who have been flooding my blogsite with silly comments like this one take a deep breath, do some more research, and figure out what is the best thing for the horses. I have spent the last 20 years rescuing horses bound for slaughter and rehabilitating and rehoming them. What have YOU done?

  21. I have also left comments here, very diplomatic, stating why horse slaughter is not the best option for dealing with “unwanted” horses and not one of them has been has been published, here. Slanted article? Ya’ think?

    • Dorothy, I’m sorry, but your previous comments were rude and I have a stated policy of not publishing rude/disrespectful posts. You are welcome to spew that sort of thing on your own blog, of course! I will always post comments that are thoughtful and respectful, so feel free to give it another shot when you’re in a better mood! : )

      • My comment got deleted and all I said was that I live right by a prison and it doesn’t bother me or anyone else in the community. But I would really not want to live near a horse slaughter house. How is that rude?

      • Lucy, your comment was not deleted. Just because you leave a comment does not automatically guarantee it will be published. All comments are read but not all of them are approved to be published.

      • Gee, my strictly factual comment about USDA inspectors not watching for humane kill was deleted also. Is the truth a problem?

      • No, but your attitude is. Sorry. : )

      • aeronm,
        I so wish your blog comments had options where I could “like” them as if it were facebook! I have followed horse slaughter for the past seven years and through the FFA, participated in numerous speech contests where I promoted horse slaughter. If one were to read my speech, I have predicted all that is troubling the economy as well as the horse industry today, and I began my research when I was in 10th grade! I find it very sad that there is such a gap between farmers and those I call “city folk” (for lack of a better term at the moment) and I truly wish that there could be a program implemented in all middle and high schools that requires students to take an agriculture class in order to graduate. Thank you for what you are doing and I appreciate the fact that you are helping get the facts out there. It may be too late for the horse industry, but our country is getting what is coming to them, unfortunately and the rest of us have nothing to do but ride along and hope for the best. This may sound melancholy, and please forgive me for that, there is just so much going on with the agriculture industry that is not even being run by agriculturalists and I am concerned where this will lead. ( not only with horse slaughter, but also the ethanol ordeal where corn is driving prices of feed which in turn drives the price of meat as well as fuel up and isnt even very efficient in the first place as a fuel alternative) Anyway, sorry for my ramble, I just wanted to let you know that my heart goes out to you for standing up for agriculture, and even if it may seem like a losing battle, someday agriculture will prevail, and if it doesn’t, then at least you and I know that we can sustain ourselves on our knowledge of agriculture and feed our families! 🙂

  22. I am an owner of a registered Quarter Horse through AQHA. I love my mare and do not agree in any way shape or form with the AQHA’s stand on slaughter. Yet they speak for the organization as a whole!! I bought my mare from an auction, of which the ranch brought truck loads and unloaded all at once. She was probably one of the few lucky ones. I have now owned her 7 years, she is a very sensitive girl, 9 years old with a sweet nature, that has never had to have a foal for my grandkids to see the natural childbirth process; nor will she ever as long as I own her. Nor will she ever have to give me a Skipper W foal. I believe that if the registries offered more competitive incentives for retraining, rehabing, and rehoming (similar to the Mustang Makeover) of their messed up breeding programs, and more incentives to geld instead of more incentives for that one perfect foal, breed less (quantity vs. quality), better quality horses would rebound the market supply vs. demand (econ 101).

    I had considered buying a horse a few years ago that my grandchildren could ride on their own. Yet, as I began my search from unscrupulous horse breeders, owners, sellers, I gave up. I found dozens and dozens of breeders that have almost as many pastures full of dogfood type horses they all proclaimed they could get $30,000 for, each with a pedigree they said to die for, that’s obvious because I am quite sure most of them died for that pedigree. Finally, as I was giving up my search, the more I heard that garbage, the more furious I became at the breeders, I told many, sell them for $30K to someone else, because they are worthless to me. Once again, responsible breeding, ethical representation of your breeding, and horses that are actually broke for God’s sake. Don’t try to sell a person looking for a well-broke kid horse a 5 year old broodmare that hasn’t been touched by anything but a stud horse!

    I, as a HORSE OWNER, have also been educating myself on the slaughter issues, I was not even aware this barbaric practice took place in the 21st century. I am not a bleeding heart…I own one horse, because I can only afford one horse and with the hay prices and shortage it is becoming rapidly harder to afford one horse. I have read the pro’s and con’s of the slaughter issue, I do believe it is inhumane and no matter what city, state, or country, can NEVER be implemented humanely. There have been many vets and highly educated ag folks that have agreed with this assessment, because of the horses extreme flight or fight sensitivities. Temple Gradin, world-renowned slaughter specialist has even voiced this concern many times.

    And NO! Slaughter is not euthanasia, the two are not alike whatsoever, I stayed with my mare, rubbing her and talking calmly with her while she was euthanized; no one pounded her head multiple times, she laid down and went to sleep peacefully with her head in my lap.

    • BJ, thank you for your thoughtful comment. Even though you have a different opinion than I do, I agree with much of what you say. However, we must all keep in mind that 1) NO ONE is pro-slaughter. Just because I would rather have the processing plants in the US as opposed to Mexico does not mean I am pro-slaughter… in fact, I have never come across a single person who is pro-slaughter. It’s like saying someone is pro-abortion. It’s ridiculous; no one wants to kill a baby, and no one wants to kill a horse. However, we must be realistic BJ! The sad fact of the matter is this: there is a market for horsemeat. I’m sorry to say that it is a matter of supply and demand; if there are those willing to pay for horsemeat, then there will be those willing to sell it. There is very little you or I or anyone can do about that. Most of the folks eating horsemeat are in europe, where it is more acceptable than it is here. And you can’t just bury your head in the sand and say “well, then, we just won’t ship ANY horses to ANY processing plant EVER!” It simply doesn’t work that way. You can’t legislate a legal demand for a “product.”
      Second: there is the small matter of the thousands and thousands of unwanted horses that must be addressed. Yes, over-breeding is a problem. The race horse industry is a problem. The show horse industry is a problem…. but those things are not going to change anytime soon. So, what to do with all of these unwanted horses? Let them starve in the fields? (Many do). Yes, ideally, each and every owner would humanely euthanize their own horse when it was time. But we are talking about hundreds of thousands of horses here…. do you know how much it would cost for a vet to humanely euthanize all the horses that currently go to slaughter?? Millions of dollars. Who is going to pay for that? You? Me?
      So while I totally understand that horse slaughter is horrible, and what happens to the horses is horrible, and that, in an ideal world, no horse would EVER suffer…. we have to be realistic. Change is not going to happen over night. But one thing all the experts agree on: since the US plants closed, the suffering of these horses has increased exponentially. So, instead of just sitting back and saying “horse slaughter is bad”…. we must take small, logical, achievable steps to improve how this industry operates. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

      • Aeronm, thanks for your respectful opinion. At the end, I must agree to disagree. I do not believe trading evil for evil is the lesser of two evils. I believe that if the associations, i.e., AQHA, APHA, AHA, Jockey Club, would stand up for once and take a good look, instead of at the almighty buck; require a 1 year moratorium on all foal breeding’s, provide an incentive program to rehab, retrain, and rehome what is already available, make a competition out of it, as this seems the only American way to get things done right. This would begin to ease up the problem of younger unwanted animals, help in homing the older, aging animals, and help rebuild the horse market in the U.S. My state of NM, provide’s a low cost gelding program, low cost / free euthanization / disposal program, and a one time only subsidy of hay for people who have lost their jobs. They are beginning to take steps in the right direction. As you probably know, there was a proposed slaughter facility for our state, not far from home. It was very upsetting for everyone in our region. Come to find out these people lost their beef slaughter house due to “CRUELTY TO ANIMALS” (USDA publicizes these charges); how does one propose they would treat any other living creature any differently.

        It is also my understanding that the slaughter proponents that are acquiring the land to build their slaughter houses are not interested in the current horse market anyway. Their plans are to open their own “factory breeding” facilities, so they can start abuse and cruelty in the beginning…no meds for pain or internal parasite control, no fly spray for the irritating pests, these are their incentives for putting slaughter back into the United States! Talk about flooded markets. Wow, we will be overwhelmed with the horses that can’t be used and the new “factory bred” animals of no value other than their poor maimed carcasses. Also, these facilities do not create jobs for the locals, these facilities bring in illegal aliens from Mexico, the butcher in Roswell was teaming with his family and friends from Mexico to bring them in to help him design, and run the facility. So it moves from one border back to ours.

        I am still of the opinion that these animals are detrimental for the consumption of humans, I bute my mare when she has health issues, fly sprays, wormers, etc. For the American markets to be dumping our excess animals into the system of some spoiled socialite is bewildering and extremely irresponsible of America as a nation. America is upset with China, Tawain, Canada, etc, when they release toys into the United States for our children to play with, or tainted baby formula, or beef with mad cow disease, etc., but the double edged sword is, it is alright for the U.S. to dump our medicated / carcinogenic horses into other’s countries…sorry, this doesn’t wash with me, it shouldn’t with our government, their governments (as of Aug 2013, it doesnt with them either), why is it alright with 20% of the American people that we do it? That’s right the almighty $. There is something morally and ethically wrong with that.

        However, you are correct! What do we do with the excess, unwanted horses (used lightly). Again, many of these animals end up where they are because of HUMAN circumstances…finances, health, lack of interest, dissatisfaction, greed, so on. Everyone has agreed, this is only going to get worse, not better. We have already been warned in our area that hay is going to be extremely hard to get this winter, our supplier has recommended that we stock up while we can, the farmers are holding onto what they have to make it through the winter with their livestock, others have contracted to the dairies for better hay prices. We have already seen a dozen horses surrendered in our town due to hay prices/supplies. But slaughter will not make this go away. It will only make it worse as the slaughter houses bring their own factory farms to breed for unadulterated meat. If everyone could quit bickering, and fighting, and help devise a plan to start in our own communities, that would be far better than our current options, maybe we could make a difference. I know there are many creative people out there.

      • Actually change is going to happen overnight. In August 2013 horse meat from North American horses will no longer be eligible for export to Europe. That is 80% of the market for meat from our horses. If Canada and Mexico have any market left they certainly won’t have to import live horses from the USA to fill their orders. US plants will not come online to compete in a shrinking market. The “demand” will have dried up over night, and we will have to have other options in place for our horses.

        Those in the horse business who wish to continue will have to find ways to make money without depending on sales of young stock as them main income. With the cost of keeping a horse so high, this might be a perfect time to look at leasing, renting, teaching and arranging shared leases for those who can’t afford to own a horse. If you are in the business you know you can buy grain in bulk at a lower cost. You can contract for a year’s supply of hay cheaper than an individual owner can. You can spread the increased costs to your customers who will be involved at a level less than full ownership. You can bring the opportunity to ride a horse, to people who can’t afford to own one. By the time the economy turns around you may have hooked some new folks on this equine habit we all love. You will have employed some otherwise ‘unwanted’ horses, and created an increased demand for riding horses.

        We have just over 10 months to get some options working. Anyone else have any good ideas?

  23. You make some great points, BJ. And Aeromn, sorry about the misunderstanding.

  24. Hi I know that you are relying on the USDA to make sure that the horse is humanely killed. But I used to raised beef cattle and when ever I took some in, the USDA agent was always in the coffee room. One thing that is very important is if they have to die – make dam good and sure they are killed properly! There are some agents out there that do not care at all! I hate the fact that they are to be put down. I wish that all owners would just get the Vet out there and give them a shot to end a bad quality of life! But that isn’t whats going on for most of these horses. There is a need to ban all horses from going across the boarder! The USA can’t control over the border, but we can here.

    All of us can make a differences if we make it mandatory – to handle this problem one certain way.
    The proper killing of the animal! One with a guarantee that the horse and all livestock are dead the FIRST time. NOT second or third time! Make USDA check all their agents on surprise visits! All plants must conform to a planed Blue Print building. NO EXCEPTIONS! No animal should – hear, smell or see a death of an other animal. No matter what kind that other animal is. A law that incarcerates all people slaughtering ANY animal that isn’t working in one of these “state controlled” slaughter houses. With steep fines of 5,000 or more. Any person from another country that is found slaughtering – life in jail. As they will cross the boarder again at some point. This will send out the word that we are done with the killing of animals in an abusive way! Plus there must be a State Vet representative at all slaughter houses. Not just at the auction houses. If any of these reps. are found to be taking bribes then – jail time of 5 years and 5,000 fine!

    I know there are lots of people that don’t believe there are that many horses out there going to auction. They are turning a blind eye to it. The rescues that I have seen and looked at in person and on the internet are real. So many people trying to save horses. Ones that are young – ones that have plenty more years in them. Yet no one wants them as they are extras to a world that is inundated with horses! All of them ~ are the ones that need some one to speak up for, as they are on their way to death!

    Horse Breeders: Yup all of them! Taxes on breeding for next years foals! That is going to be unpopular as all get out!!! It will be costly to breed. So no more back yard breeding just because you have a mare and he has a stallion! I know of many farms/ranches that keep all the mares in foal so they can have an income off the animal. That is not needed! It is time they farmed by making more food for the world of staving people – instead of animals that go to slaughter! Horses are considered a pleasure animal. Not a food animal. If they were then there would be control of the drugs that are given to them! Any one that eats this meat – tainted with drugs – is going to be very sick! Yet that’s where all this so called food is going! Across seas to the 3rd worlds, with some of it getting into the upper class! Think of all the law suits from that! There is so much more to this problem!

    So the end thought is …. tax the breeders, state control the slaughter houses, one plan for humanely killing the animals, one plan for every slaughter house, zero horses for people to eat, heavy fines and jail time for every one that is found guilty!

    Please every one that reads this – please do a lot of thinking about it!! As always I am open to ideas – better suggestions etc. There is an over load of horses to be considered!!

    • Slaughter has never been the answer to overpopulation and it never will be. If it were the answer, we wouldn’t be seeing overpopulation now would we?

      Everything you said about the cruelty is on target – except the part about stopping it. WHO, pray tell is gong to make things any better than they were last go round? The USDA? Yer kidding. They don’t have ANY funding left. They can’t even control what goes on with OUR food animals. They have always ignored the horses completely, and they will again, even worse, if that were possible.

      Quit dreaming!

  25. Along with my other post I believe that all live animals should be banned from export. Not only are horses abused in other country’s but all our livestock is too. If any of the “meat” is to be exported it must be cut and wrapped first, and flash frozen for shipment. No exceptions! I have seen sheep that were shipped live – where most were dead duo to no food and water in-transport. That is only one example. It would make for more jobs for our country resulting in a heathery economy. This does not include frozen embryos or other non breathing/living animals. In this country we must control animal abuse!

  26. Thanks Diana, what a great idea. If more people could be part of the solution, instead of the problem, educate breeders, current and future owners, the public. It’s time for breeders to be held responsible for and accountable for the mess that has been created. I don’t know about the rest of you, I have absolutely no desire to nibble on or eat Black Beauty, it would be like stir frying up Lassie for desert. Thanks but NO THANKS! I am from a civilized society not from a third world country.

    • Diana, I want to comment on what you were saying, I read a wonderful article about a prison in Maryland where the prisoners care for the unwanted horses, each prisoner is assigned to a horse and they form a bond and the positive effect the horses have on them is amazing. Hardened criminals will become human again. It’s beautiful. My question is why is this only done in one particular prison, why not prisons all over the country when there are homeless horses out there? I just feel that there are creative solutions to the homeless horse problem rather than destructive ones, when a horse can help someone like one of these prisoners, why kill it instead?

      • Absolutely Lucy. Here we use our “unwanted” horses for special needs and at risk children at no charge to the families. Our community is supportive to this program for a three fold reason. First it saves the horse from a death that is not legal by our own US anti cruelty laws for livestock of one strike, insensible. Second it gives special needs children the window to become self sufficient and they do, Third it keeps the global food chain free of toxins. Pretty simple solution.

      • You really think this is a viable solution for 200,000 ex-racers that come off the track every year?? You are dreaming!

  27. Amen!!! to BJ on educating breeders!!! THEY are the ones who should be responsible for the animal for it’s lifetime! If this were the law, there would certainly be more precise, and less casual breeding of horses!!!

  28. Thank you so much for this article!!! The horse industry was running smoothly in the US until clueless folks had nothing better to do than cause trouble. I don’t think there is another country that has better standards for the processing of anything (veggies, animals, meds, etc) than the US. Horses are livestock and just because it has not been a common practice here for human consumption of horse meat it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen. (Zoos are also big consumers of horse meet in the US) Some countries don’t consume beef and other don’t consume pork but that doesn’t stop a lot of Americans from stopping off for a bacon cheese burger. Having a government regulation to tell a ranch they can no longer breed their livestock – be it cattle, goats, horses, etc is a step towards communism. Lets say you want to live in a certain school district for the sake of your children’s education but now you have to drive 30 miles to your job but the government steps in and says you are not allowed to drive more than 10 miles to your job because some folks have complained about the noise on the highway. Well, choosing where you live and what type of work you do and where you send your children to school is your privilege provided to you by our founding fathers. Well, I could go on and on but I have to go do feeding chores. Yes, we have a horse ranch, all are registered AQHA horses. We pay a lot of money for registration fees, all of our breeding stock is DNA typed not to mention money paid for vet services and the feed bills. Some of our horses are pets but some are purely breeding stock….not any different than a cattle ranch, pig farm or poultry operation except when people buy our foals they don’t purchase them with the intent to eat them but sometimes for what ever the reason they can not be used for the buyers intent then there has to be a humane way to deal with the animal.

  29. Okay, folks, this is my LAST POST here, and I know you’re all glad about that. There are new anti-horse slaughter bills in Congress. H.R. 1094/S. 541, the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act which will ban horse slaughter in the US AND ban transport across borders for the purpose of slaughter.

    As you can see, they will not only stop domestic horse slaughter but will ALSO prohibit transport across borders for the purpose of slaughter. Since so many of you claim longer drives and more inhumane conditions, you ought to jump right on this! IF you really care about horses shipped to Mexico and Canada that is. Because opening domestic plants will NOT stop the shipment of horses across borders. We have always send thousands of our horses to Mexico and Canada for slaughter and we always will if it’s not stopped by law. If you don’t support this bill, we’ll know you didn’t REALLY care about the drives and treatment – if was just an excuse to be pro-slaughter. Now we separate the men for the boys, people. Put up of SHUT UP!

    We only have until the end of July before the EU does the shutting down for us. It would just be so much nicer if we cleaned up our mess ourselves.

  30. For those of you that are in favor of horse slaughter, please please educate yourselves more (the milk man is not picking up your horse to take him down the road to be Euthanized) If you can not afford to vet your horse or have them put down and rendered then you shoud not have a horse.
    This Pod cast deals in facts not lil cute dreams of the Milk Man.
    If you don’t have time to listen to it, then you don’t have time to have an opinion

    http://www.pammckissick.com/horse-slaughter/

    • John, I’m curious…. have you ever actually met anyone who was in favor of horse slaughter? Cuz I sure haven’t. It’s like saying someone is in favor of abortion. No one is “pro abortion,” and no one is “pro slaughter.”

  31. Saddly Aeronm, I have met people, some with horses, that are proslaughter. Funny though when you ask a few questions you sure can tell they have such few facts on the matter (they always bring up starving horses and like slaughter helps that?) Last I checked the Asians and the EU they are not standing in line to consume sick-old horses. The majority of horses slaughtered are <7 years old. When you bring that one up to them you get a lot of; ummmm that can't be true, or you bring up the fact the horses are stuffed into a truck being bit, kicked on their long jurney for days n days with no food or water and collic along the way and then they don't want to talk about it anymore. Ignorance is bliss for some.

    • I understand where you are coming from, and I agree that for many people ignorance is bliss….. keep in mind that statistically horses that go to slaughter are all ages; I have seen no evidence on the statistic of them being under 7 years old. At all of the kill sales I’ve attended, the ages were all over the map, and that’s if you can even believe what the person who brought the horse to the auction tells you. I have seen many older horses go through the kill sales. But the europeans and asians who eat these horses have no clue, nor do they care, how old the horses are… do you know how old the cow was that made your last hamburger? Of course not… and chances are it was not healthy or young either. The issue is still one of supply and demand, and until that changes, horse slaughter is something we need to deal with. You can’t just “abolish” it and hope it goes away.

      • It’s the USDA that says 92% of slaughtered horses are under 7 years old and ranging in good to healthy condition. The USDA also says that 20,000 horses were abandoned in the desert to die of starvation last year because they were rejected by the slaughterhouses for being too old, sick, or skinny. And FYI cattle are slaughtered no older than 2 years old.

      • Ok, so my question is: what do we do with the hundreds of thousands of unwanted horses? The answer is to make the end more humane, not bury our heads in the sand, blame the breeders, and hope the problem goes away. People who are against slaughter don’t seem to have any alternative solutions to offer. And if you think the slaughterhouses don’t take old, sick, skinny horses, you are mistaken. They take them all and process them all. The meat that is not suitable for human consumption is used in dog food and other products.

  32. USDA documentation proves that the above article about horse slaughter is full of falsehoods. USDA statistics prove that 92% of slaughtered horses are between the ages of 18 months to 7 years, and are USDA rated in good to excellent condition. Slaughterhouses do not take old, sick, or skinny horses, they want young healthy horses for good quality meat to sell to their posh European customers Last year, 20,000 horses were abandoned by kill buyers in the desert to die of starvation because they were rejected by the slaughterhouses for being too old, sick, or skinny. The captive-bolt method used to stun cows doesn’t work on horses, so instead of being rendered unconscious by just one bolt shot into their heads, and the law requires, they’re illegally shot in the head with bolts an average of 4 to 20 times because they keep regaining consciousness. 40% of the horses are conscious when they’re hung upside-down by the foot and butchered. The Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses are owned and operated by the same European companies that owned and operated the US slaughterhouses, and they’re using the same equipment and gruesome, grisly, torturous, inhumane methods on the horses that go there as they used in the US slaughterhouses. This has all been documented by the USDA, including videos and eye witness testimony in court by US slaughterhouse employees, and USDA veterinarians! The AQHA overbreeds like crazy so they can get a few champions, and send the rest of the yearlings to slaughter as planned. Of course the AQHA wants to convince people that horse slaughter is humane because that’s how they keep the floor value of their horses higher and continue their inhumane overbreeding practices. 70% of slaughtered horses are Quarter Horses! This attempt to sell slaughter as a humane way to end a horse’s life is a pack of lies developed by greedy special interest groups, who coach their members on the FALSE talking points they use to dupe the public about horse slaughter. Horse Slaughter: Fact vs. Fiction: http://www.examiner.com/article/horse-slaughter-fact-vs-fiction-part-i

  33. Quite to the contrary EU plants, which is where American horses go DO NOT take skinny, injured or ill horses. Our government in the state of Texas traced over 5, 000 horses to kill buyers dumped in the desert last year that were turned away at the slaughter house. So all those dumped horses…….many are a product of the KB’s. Who by the way often hold emaciated horses in feed lots and pump them full of steroids and BANNED medications before taking them to slaughter. Bulk them up for a buck, at the cost of human health eh? The amount of horses going to slaughter is about 1% of our total horse population, easily reabsorbed into mainstream. But the pro slaughter folks who are at the head of not taking responsibility for what you bring into this world are quick to say you take my responsibility then. There’s a very simple solution to this issue that has been given over and over again. Yet, pro’s ignore it because it simply means taking personal responsibility for your property. Take care of your horse, if you can’t, then find it a home or rescue. Donate your time to rescues, sanctuaries and don’t take an animal you aren’t willing to provide for. Stop the excess breeding and we all know the horse industry has been extremely irresponsible with this, waiting far too long after the economic crash to even begin to cut back. If every decent horse owner either took one horse that was viable or supported through a monthly sponsor ship one horse, a measly $30 or $40 bucks a month, the crisis of our horses would quickly be absorbed. This irresponsible behavior of this industry that thinks it has the right to dump their problems on those that didn’t commit the problem or have us foot the bill for your irresponsibility is just ridiculous. Euthanize by injection or a REAL bullet to the head where the horse is at home and calm, not smelling the blood and hearing the screams of those before him might be a good start, along with gelding clinics, which are now being done across this Nation. It’s that simple, but requires having a conscience and taking responsibility. Something this industry has a serious lack of.

    • The slaughterhouses DO indeed take skinny, old, injured horses… they may go to dog food or other products, but they take them! If there is a dollar to be made, they are certainly not going to just turn it away! Also, excess breeding is only ONE of the issues… the biggest producer of unwanted horses in this country is the racing industry. How do you propose we change that?? The simple answer is: we can’t. So we MUST, therefore, figure out a humane way to handle the 200,000 horses coming off the track every year. What do you suggest? I’m still not hearing any viable solutions from you… just a lot of blame and complaining!

      • I’d like to know how many slaughter houses you’ve been to? Or what your personal experience is in this industry? Rendering plants are here. The slaughter houses in Canada and Mexico that American horses go to are for HUMAN consumption and EU controlled. The racing industry is not the biggest provider actually. The majority going over are in fact Quarter horses. Many in the racing industry have in changed, not all, but great progress has been made in that many tracks now forbid this practice and will suspend racing if caught. There are plenty doing their part to make change. I most certainly do my part daily, with currently 18 here saved. It’s more the question with your very obvious misinformation, is what are you done to help? We can change it and many are doing their part daily. Solutions have been given, but those who stand to make a buck, would prefer to slaughter and allow toxic meat in the food chain than listen to the solutions.

  34. Really what a sad lot of liars
    None of you care about horses. You are more concerned about money. I despise PETA as well the AQHA. After all.you well bred American Christian horse owners believe what the bible says. The root of all evil is the LOVE of money. Send your horses to slaughter plants and see how the bolt only knocks a horse down.

    • Leelee, you sound very angry. Instead of venting, how about coming up with some logical solutions to the problem? We are all ears!

  35. If you believe everything the USDA tells you, I have a nice bridge in Brooklyn you might be interested in. Do you know who owns the USDA? Do you know the players involved, and who is controlled by Big Ag? Do you really believe they have the interests of the animals, or the people for that matter, at heart? Also, there are very few cases of slaughterhouses turning away animals. Do you really think they’re going to turn down free money? Every horse that is processed, whether for human consumption, or for dog food, etc. is money in their pockets. Even skinny old horses will make them a couple bucks, so why would they turn them loose? On the other hand, there are ranches out west that have done this as the price of hay skyrocketed and they could no longer feed the horses. They just cut the fences and hope the horses can fend for themselves. Most of them starve to death. It is not a nice way to die.
    But you still have not provided any solutions to this problem….. if you really think the 100s of thousands of horses that come off the race tracks every year can be absorbed by adopters, you are pretty naive! What’s your solution???

  36. For those who are having trouble believing the statistic I mentioned above regarding the number of horses that go to slaughter each year, here is one (of many) reputable independent sources where I got this info…. and this in only in the US! Many more are killed in other countries as well……
    http://www.horsefund.org/horse-racing-through-the-slaughter-pipeline-part4.php

  37. I’ve been searching for information on the internet after recently witnessing via the news and facebook a horrible tragedy of horses found dead on a breeders property in Colorado. The surviving horses were finally rescued, one of which is a famous QH stallion, Dual Peppy, who from photos and videos appeared to be near death. I get it that there are many variables when it comes to protecting these magestic creatures. This is what I know so far: All horse associations allow breeders to pull as many eggs out of their mares as they want and put them into recipient mares. The Jockey Club is the only one that requires live cover. In 2014, our liberal government shut down horse slaughterhouses in the US and a liberal economy stagnates buying. We don’t eat horses in the US, yet horses are classified as livestock (I am not certain if this is true for all states). The only reason we know about the poor beasts in Colorado is because of an accidental finding by a neighbor who lost their dog. How many do we not know about? Is this something we have to get used to seeing more often? Should these beautiful, majestic creatures be looked upon as monetary value only? The breeders have to make a living, right? I realize that this horrific discovery goes much deeper than just a breeder leaving their horses to rot. It’s politics and when it’s politics, it is all about the money. I believe we need to do something to protect equines from this ever happening again. I understand that this is a huge undertaking, but we need to start somewhere. I would like to start somewhere sooner than later. Please post advise to help me in this journey. And to all the activists who are patting themselves on the back for closing US Slaughterhouses that could have been closely monitored by ALL OF YOU, where are you in this? Where is your money helping abandonded, retired horses? I know of one person in Colorado who has devoted her life to caring for unwanted horses, but she can only afford to take so many. I love the idea of being able to take your horse to a slaughterhouse to be humanly euthanized in your presence like we do for our precious dogs and cats. Why can’t horses have the same rights as domestic pets? This is overwhelming and emotional, but needs to be fixed. Please reply with any information you have and if you can help.

  38. aeron, slaughtering horses is not a solution to end over population or unwanted pets that are perfectly healthy. If a horse is sick, do the humane way of putting it to sleep and not shooting them or using the “captive bolt”. There are so many people out there today that would willingly take horses in that are unwanted. At my barn where I have my horses at, most of them were rescued from slaughter plants. Perfectly healthy, and willing , just a animal who was not understood.

    • I agree that slaughtering horses is not a solution to over-population – I never said it was…… but you are seeing the small picture, and not the big picture….. Obviously anyone who owns a pet horse is going to try to do the right thing and put them down humanely when the time comes… but what do you suggest we do with the thousands of horses that are already in the kill auctions and headed to HORRIBLE fates in mexican slaughterhouses? Just wishing the problem would go away is not going to make it so. We need real, and immediate, solutions WHILE we are figuring out how to reduce the number of animals that end up going to slaughter……

  39. I personally don’t agree with you on a majority of your points. One statement I do agree with tho. The HSUS is a big rip off to the public and PETA is filled with a bunch of radicals.
    I have three horses. One is pretty aged and when her quality of life gets to the point where she is better off dead then she will be euthanized at home. I am not going to try to get my last 400.00 out of her as she has spent her life giving to people and doing whatever they ask. I have a younger one that ripped the ligaments in her hock almost to shreds. After 18 months of rest she is now sound for riding. If it had gone another way and she couldn’t walk properly without pain, her fate would have been the same as the first one.
    In a perfect world the government would do their job and strictly enforce the laws but it’s not a perfect world.

    • I agree, but you and I have the luxury of being able to afford to put our beloved pet horses down when they are old. Not everyone has that ability. Also, that is fine for privately-owned horses… what about all the thousands of horses that are headed to slaughter from the racing industry and other industries……? What do you suggest we do with them? Let them suffer on a truck for a week with no food and water as they are shipped to some horrible fate in a mexican slaughterhouse? We owe them more than that.

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