In the News!
At Issue: Horse Slaughter
The issue of horse slaughter has a long history, with much disinformation surrounding what is known as the “slaughter pipeline,” a ride to hell that begins in the local auction house, frequented by meat buyers also known as “kill buyers,” and ends in the kill box. At the auction, horses lose their identities; they lose their dignity; they become objects valued solely for their meat on a price-per-pound basis. And it goes downhill from there.
After the auction:
Once purchased by a kill buyer, horses now valued solely for their meat are loaded onto large shipping trailers, taken to feedlots or holding pens, and kept in large herds without regard to safety, breed or gender. Many are injured; all are traumatized. They are then sent with falsified papers to the nearest border, where the shipping trailer is sealed and cannot be opened until it arrives to unload at the slaughter plant. Many horses are injured during transportation, with broken bones and lacerations, many severe. In the case of horses sent to Mexico, if they are deemed unsuitable for slaughter due to their physical condition or soundness at the border crossing, they are rejected at the border and often turned loose to fend for themselves in the desert, or left to die in border holding pens, such as those in Presidio, Texas.
When the approved horses, already traumatized over a period of days or weeks, finally arrive at the slaughter plant, pass through the holding pens, and are pushed into the kill box, they are then subjected to inadequate stunning with the captive bolt gun, rendered unconscious, hung from a hind leg, their throat slit, and left to bleed out to death (exsanguination) before being cut for their meat. During this process, many horses regain consciousness between being shot and bled out as their unique head and neck anatomy and natural behavior makes them poor candidates for this method. In fact, it may take 8-10 attempts with the captive bolt gun to succeed in rendering the horse unconscious, and they often regain consciousness within minutes, able to sense and feel pain but unable to move due to brain trauma. The fact is, horses are often literally butchered alive. This system is inherently cruel from start to finish. Read more here (there are somewhat graphic images at this link as well, which clearly document the slaughter process.): Link
Not only are these cruelties documented by animal welfare groups, even the USDA documented the abuses of the slaughter pipeline prior to the closing of U.S. slaughterhouses in 2007. Since then, the USDA continues to document cruelty and abuse in the border pens, including severe broken legs, head trauma and eye lacerations. There is no stop along the slaughter pipeline that can be called “humane.” In addition, Animal Angels regularly documents conditions at auctions, feedlots and other locations along the slaughter pipeline throughout the U.S.
What can I do?
There are many ways to help put an end to horse slaughter and to help those helping horses in need.
- Support your favorite rescue. Rescues perform many functions, from saving horses from slaughter to assisting local authorities in neglect cases. Funds are needed for basic care as well as veterinary treatments, housing and transportation.
- Become informed. Below are a few links to resources on the facts regarding horse slaughter. Examine this information for yourself and come to your own conclusions! Is horse slaughter needed? Is it humane? Let the facts speak for themselves.
- Contact your U.S. Representative and your two U.S. Senators and urge them to co-sponsor HR 1094/S.541 — The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act. You can look up phone numbers and send an easy message here: Link
- Look up your Federal Legislators here: Link
- Please share what you learn with others, and support the growing movement to put an end to the slaughter of U.S. horses once and for all. While the percentage of horses sent to slaughter is small (about 1%), the number of healthy horses killed only for the meat is far too many—over 174,000 were sent to Mexico, Japan and Canada in 2012 alone. Our horses are bred, raised and trained to be our companions and sport horses; they are not born to become someone’s dinner entrée.
Humane vs. Inhumane Horse Slaughter:
This collection of videos, compiled by the group Veterinarians for Equine Welfare, depict the contrast between inhumane horse slaughter and humane euthanasia: Link
Their excellent “White Paper” on horse slaughter is here: Link
Horse Slaughter Truth/Deception
This is another excellent white paper on the history, context, and realities of horse slaughter. Written by Charmaine Jens, Public Relations Representative for Americans Against Horse Slaughter, it is well researched and provides in one document the much needed information needed to truly understand the function of horse slaughter in the horse industry.
One Hundred and Eighteen Drugs found in Racehorses.
At this link you will find a list of drugs that U.S. racehorses have tested positive for over the past few years. This includes the drug name, its common use, and other relevant info.
These drugs are merely the ones that are illegal to use in a sport horse. These and other substances are in the horses sent to slaughter, intended for human consumption. Falsified documents accompany horses sent to slaughter from the U.S. as they do not meet the food safety requirements of the European Union and other countries. The most common drug banned in horse meat sold to the E.U. is “Bute” (phenylbutazone), commonly given to horses as an anti-inflammatory. Only horse bred and raised as food animals can be said to be free of Bute and other banned drugs, and we do not raise horses as food animals in the U.S.
Horse Slaughter Facts & FAQs.
If you only read one thing, read this.
This will take you to the Animal Welfare Institute’s page on the facts about horse slaughter.
Links to Library of Congress Bill Summary and Status
S.541 Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act of 2013
Read the text of the legislation, see the current status and list of cosponsors in the Senate:
H.R. 1094 Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act of 2013
Read the text of the legislation, see the current status and list of cosponsors in the House of Representatives: