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Horse Slaughter Information

USDA Video regarding Slaughter Horse Transport

For those who think horses going to slaughter are starved, watch this video put out in August by our USDA which shows healthy, beautful horses on their way to slaughter.



Horse Slaughter - Its Ethical Impact and Subsequent Response of the Veterinary Profession  by  Veterinarians for Equine Welfare

"Horse slaughter has never been considered by veterinary professionals to be a form of euthanasia. Congress and the general public must hear from veterinarians that horse slaughter is not and should not be equated with humane euthanasia. Rather, the slaughtering of horses is a brutal and predatory business that promotes cruelty and neglect and which claimed the lives of more than 100,000 American horses in 2008."

'Rather than aiding horse welfare, as slaughter proponents contend, horse slaughter results in very tangible animal cruelty and suffering while engendering abuse and neglect. Currently, horse owners have a choice of what to do at the end of their horse’s life - pay to do the right thing or be paid to do the wrong thing."

This Horse Slaughter White Paper by  Veterinarians for Equine Welfare includes a discussion, highlights below, on the important horse slaughter issues and it is a MUST READ.

  1. Horse Slaughter is not humane euthanasia
    • "...no evidence exists to support the claim that horse slaughter is a form of humane euthanasia. Rather, it is a brutal process that results in very tangible and easily observable equine suffering."

  2. Transport of horses to slaughter compounds equine suffering
    • "...horses continue to suffer immeasurably en route to slaughter. Current regulations are paltry, allowing for horses to be transported for more than 24 hours without food, water or rest. Heavily pregnant mares can be moved to slaughter, as can horses with broken limbs or who are blind in one eye. Further, the regulations only cover the final leg of the journey, so slaughter-bound horses moved from auction to feedlot, for instance, are not covered by the rule."

  3. Use of Captive-Bolt in Horse Slaughter Wholly Unacceptable
    • "...The captive bolt pistol is not satisfactory for horses since firm pressure on the forehead is essential for its effective use and this tends to be resisted by the horse."
    • "it is the united conclusion of VEW professionals that the captive bolt should be deemed "conditionally acceptable" and used only in emergency (non-slaughter) situations where no other option exists to humanely end a horse’s suffering or when advanced circulatory dysfunction might diminish the efficiency of chemical euthanasia. Even then it must be administered properly. When used in the slaughter context it is not equitable with humane euthanasia."
  4. Horses stabbed to death in Mexican slaughter plants
    • "horses being repeatedly stabbed in the neck with these knives prior to slaughter. Such a barbaric practice does not render the horse unconscious, it simply paralyzes the animal. The horse is still fully conscious at the start of the slaughter process during which the animal is hung by a hind leg, its throat slit and its body butchered."

  5. Unfounded claims that banning horse slaughter will lead to an increase in equine abandonment and neglect
    • "No increase in the abandonment or neglect of horses has been documented since the closure of the three domestic slaughter plants in the earlier part of 2007."

    • "The horse slaughter business is not providing a service for the disposal of “unwanted” horses, but rather is preying on largely healthy, marketable horses that might otherwise be used for more productive purposes."

  6. Horse slaughter does not provide a humane service for “unwanted” horses
    • "the horse slaughter industry exists solely because a profit stands to be made in fulfilling gourmet demand in foreign countries for horseflesh."

    • when "horse slaughter plants were operating in the US, Cavel International imported horses from Canada for slaughter in order to fill their demand."

  7. The promotion of genuine humane euthanasia for “unwanted” horses is absent from the repertoire of the pro-horse slaughter lobby
    • "The absolute absence of the subject of actual humane euthanasia from the agenda of the pro-horse slaughter lobby...is stunning and telling"

    • The American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) brochure "How do I know it is time? Equine Euthanasia", was published to help "horse owners learn when to humanely terminate their horse's life and offers resources for help" and it states "Perhaps the kindest thing you can do for a horse that is extremely ill, severely injured, lame, or dangerous is to have your veterinarian induce its death quickly and humanely through euthanasia. Your decision to have your horse euthanatized is a serious one, and is seldom easy to make...economic, emotional and space limitations may also force an owner to consider euthanasia for a horse if a suitable home cannot be found." Even the AVMA states that euthanasia should be done humanely by a veterinarian.

  8. Cost of euthanasia
    • The average cost is relatively cheap ($225) and less than an average month's board bill.

    • "It is VEW’s contention that this expense is simply a part of responsible horse ownership and one that most horse owners already bear without any reluctance."

  9. Proper disposal of horse carcasses no longer slaughtered
    • "Even assuming all horses currently going to slaughter would need to be mortally disposed of, the impact would be insignificant. A generally accepted rate of mortality among livestock in a given year is 5 - 10%. Therefore, based on the 9.2 million horses currently in the US, 460,000 - 920,000 die naturally or are euthanized each year without notable impact...another 1 or 100,000 horses will make no significant impact."

    • They would only account for a measly 1% to 2% of the total livestock and poultry mortalities.

Freedom of Information Act information from the USDA

These documents and photos are from when the slaughter plants were open in the US.  Download and watch the video and tell me if this looks humane to you;  there are graphic photos that, in my opinion, young children should not be allowed to see. The KaufmanZoning website has a lot of slaughter information, so be sure and check it out.

Animals Angels

Animals Angels has additional facts on horse slaughter, a report that details evidence obtained during 30 months of cruelty investigations (be warned there are graphic photos that young children should not be allowed to see) and a shorter version of this report.  From reading the report which goes through 2009 and looking at the more recent horse related invesitagations, it appears (to me anyway) that the incidence of starving horses in the kill pipeline has decreased.  Whether it has or not, slaughter clearly is NOT the answer to starving horses, it just provides a way from someone to criminally neglect and abuse a horse and get away with it and then to get paid to dispose of it.

Pro-slaughter folks say that slaughter houses should be reopened in the USA becuase it would be more humane! Not true.  First, the slaughter house location has nothing to do with the ongoing abuse of the kill horses in the auction pipeline, those abuses will continue until slaughter is completely halted.  Second, when the slaughter houses were open in the US the horses were subjected to immense cruelty, Animals Angels provides an introduction to the FOIA documents (the Freedom of Information Act docs mentioned above) and i don't think anyone can refute the fact that those documents clearly show how bad the situation was in the US plants! US Slaugher is not an answer.

Animals Angels has some videos of animal cruelty, including several videos dealing with horse slaughter and show all the horror horses endure during transport, at auctions and at the plants. They are graphic so, in my opinon, young children should not be allowed to watch.

Their mothers were shipped to slaughter and they were left to die, but an Angel stepped in.


Does this look like a useless, unwanted horse?

He is neither useless, nor unwanted; yet he was only hours away from shipping to slaughter!

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Int'l Fund For Horses

Int'l Fund for Horses has written a 24-page, fully-referenced document for use in lobbying against horse slaughter. It is an in depth report on the impacts that occur When Horse Slaughter Comes to Town. Vivian Grant is the founder and president of Int'l Fund for Horses and she is also the Editor of Tuesday's Horse. Tuesday's Horse has serialized the document into five parts to educate the public about the significant negative impacts should horse slaughter come to their community.

When Horse Slaughter Comes to Town:
Part 1: Environmental Impact
Part 2: Economic Growth and Community Image
Part 3: Legal Implications
Part 4: Opposition to Horse Slaughter
Part 5: Alternatives to Horse Slaughter

Videos and Other Links

CBC News piece on Horse Slaughterhouse in Canada
The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition