Horse Slaughter

Mud, Blood and Horse Crap: There’s no way to “Pretty Up” Horse Slaughter

Commentary by R.T. Fitch – author of “Straight from the Horse’s Heart

I have to be honest with you, all of this recent talk of horse slaughter and the cruelty that the likes of “Slaughterhouse” Sue Wallis wants to dish out on our companion animals has conjured up some pretty poignant memories on the topic of horse slaughter.

I don’t know if I have ever admitted to this, in a public forum, but personally witnessing the horrendous act of cruel, bloody horse slaughter pushed me over the edge before the plants were finally shuttered.  Ole Sue Wallis admits she has never seen the process, so obviously she has no clue, but there are several cursed souls out there who have witnessed the obscenity and are forever scarred; some you know, some you don’t but I am one and I am someone who did not handle it very well.

Looking over the back fence of the Dallas Crowne plant, in Kaufman Texas, I saw, heard and even smelled more than I will ever want to experience again and that is coming from a veteran of two armed conflicts and a former military medic who is no stranger to blood and gore.  It was more than my senses could bear and I will be forever soiled by what I witnessed.

There is no soap that can cleanse my mind of the stench, erase the sounds or wipe away the visions of blood, it just does not exist.  Even work, toil, activity and time will not make the nightmares go away as they have become embedded into the very fiber of my being…there’s no escape.

I won’t ever forget seeing that young, healthy Paint run up the passageway to the “room” where we couldn’t quite see in the window.  I only caught glimpses of the horse through the cracks in the fence as he was driven to the door of the building.  It wasn’t a pretty scene with a worker with a stick whacking at the horse to move.  Then the silence and the sound of the captive bolt gun, the screams from the horse as the bolt missed it’s mark and did not stun; then the chain from the hoist being wrapped around a rear leg as the screams intensified.  The wails began to gurgle as the horse started to inhale its own blood as his throat was cut while hanging upside down.  Still the chains rattled as the squeals died away and then silence as the illegal immigrants carved away at the horse’s warm body.  Soon, on the conveyor belt that ran out of a hole in the buildings side, came the bloodied hide of the beautiful paint and burned into my memory is the vision of it’s pelt, complete with proud mane, fall off the dripping end of the conveyer belt into a waiting dumpster with a sickening, wet, “plop” while a cloud of disturbed black flies rose up like a small thundercloud from inside the dumpster and then dove back upon the fresh, bloody meal.

I don’t remember much about the weeks that followed.  I do know that my good friend Jerry Finch watched over me and that my wife Terry wouldn’t let me near a computer for a very long time.  I pulled in, retracted and parts of me, to this day, have never come back out to enjoy the sun and all that is good.

So when an Ed Butcher or a Sue Wallis begins to spout lies and deviously attempts to mislead and distort the truth I see red in more ways than one.  They have no right, they have no fact and they have no credibility as they have wasted their lives on planning to cause pain, inflict harm and their life’s hope is to revel in the blood of the innocents who have pledged their trust and faith to we undeserving humans.  How dare they.

I have hope that one day, someday soon, we can look into the eyes of our equine companions and say that it is over, there is no more screaming, the blood has stopped running and that they are finally all safe.

And I know that for myself, I will try my best, my very level best, to say that I am sorry and beg forgiveness for the atrocities that my species has committed against one of the most gentle of all creatures on this planet, the keepers of our hearts and sanity, the horse.

I hear the call, it’s the Force of the Horse and it calls not to me alone, it calls to us all.

It’s just a matter of who is listening…

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56 replies »

  1. I’m listening, R.T. The very heart and soul of me is listening with tears that will not stop.

    Thank you for all you’ve done and continue to do for the horses.


  2. Amen and bless you R.T. Its a daily struggle just to keep “that” vision from my head. The same way I try not to think about puppy mills and veal calves, crying wolves and baby seals, sharks, whales and dolphins’ deaths. But we must continue to think about them, hope for them, pray for them. I wonder where has the humanity in humans has gone?


  3. More and more are listening because of your unwavering fight to end these atrocities. Your book gave me the strength to listen and the knowledge to share with others. Thank you for your continued fight in this battle.


  4. R. T. people so ignorant, and cruel. If we paid them all to stop, they still would not. The filmmakers of THE COVE, tried to offer the murderers just that, and they refused. Where does this inhumanity come from? I don’t know this…. it’s not part of any ounce of my being. How do we fight this monster? This is cultural in third world nations. How do we stop this? I’d give all the money in the world to stop it.. but it would not end. People are monsters. We have not evolved any further then throwing Christians to the lions for entertainment. I am beside myself with grief.


    • Excellent observation Contessa!

      Simple answer…it’s arrogance and disrespect.

      We fight by exposing, demanding and enforcing acceptable behavior.

      Don’t give up! Don’t EVER give up!


    • She’s right- it’s cultural.

      This country is headed that way. Look at how we are all truly seperated by computers perhaps, also by sheer numbers. Most live in cities with no connection to the wild horse, or anything wild. We are seperate by state almost like by country, in terms of culture. 

      With so much, previously prized, variety of interest and self-expression, with such increasing populations, we are headed for the same fate – that of strange and brutal customs. Unless we stand up and illuminate the possibility!

      The last #%^~! president and administration, and maybe a few before as well, really whacked us out! The war made us all ashamed and hopeless. If you had faith in Democracy once, it’s likely demolished, and don’t take lightly the reprocussions of a loss of trust, pride and enthusiasm within this country. Are we going to get it back? Immigration and birth rates make it difficult.

      Incidently, it’s interesting to me that Spain and Mexico, with long histories of the horse, are the most brutal and backward culturally speaking with regard to the horse. And the Spanish children are the caretakers of our horses now!    


  5. There will never be anything more (to date) heartbreaking than the testimony of those with Mayor Bacon (or it may be Ms. Bacon herself) that watched the beautfil horse with the red ribbons in the mane going up the chutes. Who would spend that kind of time to pretty a horse for sale to go to the meatman? Just who? Who lied? Who cheated?

    Nothing…nothing will ever convince me that this is nothing more than an evil, evil business (and I don’t consider it a business…just human trash sucking up life for profit) brutalizing animals and peddling dangerous food to humans.

    That horse with the red ribbons will live with me forever…FOREVER.

    What a waste. What saddness. Got to get a Kleenex. BUT I’LL BE BACK SS AND DD. I will never give up.


  6. I pray that someday soon, you’ll be able to get through the horrors you witnessed. You probably will never “forget”(HOW could ANYONE!!??), &, will never be able to forgive anyone capable of doing such a brutal act,(I think ONLY Jesus could forgive that sort!!), but, on the brighter side, because of what you witnessed, you are helping bring awareness & the TRUTH to many who would otherwise never really know what goes on in those evil places, &, MAYBE, you are SAVING many more horses from this horrible fate. Sometimes going through hardships makes us stronger! Keep up the good fight for these beautiful, helpless creatures!


  7. I’m repulsed by any killing. I personally don’t see the difference between slaughter and concentration camps. I don’t mean to offend but I feel my rights to life are compromised by the killing of any life form.


  8. I don’t have the specific link, but google kaufman zoning….absolutely amazing level of ugliness allowed. Could some re prot the kaufman link for me?



  9. What is wrong with these people. The governor is getting paid off and this Sue from hell will make a fortune I’m sure if the people of Wyoming don’t wake up.
    What a sick sick person.


    • The people of Wyoming? I was born and raised there. Let me tell you, when it comes to the horse, or anything, Wyoming is a different planet!

      We must talk they’re language. They see the end of a horse’s life as a very burdonsome passage of time, both for themselves and the horse. They also protect their rangelands from horses, wolves or anything with a vengence. Tough folks- in both good and bad ways, but not progressive intrinsically.


  10. I’m listening too. Everything you post, and the comments by readers, gives me hope that there will be enough people out there that feel the same love and compassion for horses to change the violence facing them. So many people turn a blind eye to what is going on and when you try to update them, show, or tell them how horrific and inhumane horse slaughter is there are many that will not listen. They just do not want to know about the bad things in the world…but their ignorance is not bliss to the enlightened or the unfortunate souls that suffer from it. But we all must try to educate those who will listen. RT you are doing a fabulous job!


  11. R.T., it is truly sad that you witnessed such an event, but if not for your bravery to tell us the story, which must be a reliving of the event for you, we would not comprehend the horror and the fight that must be waged. Thank you for all you do. My sincerest hope is that your pain finds a compartment that is overshadowed by all the good that you do, and by all the little and some big triumphs that you will probably never know you caused.

    Have you seen or read “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”? Recommend – and hold on to that. It is strangly not religous in nature.


  12. I too am heartbroken at the atrocities committed by the butchers of horses. I saw the photos of the last group of horses waiting to be murdered at the Dallas Crowne
    slaughterhouse. The bastards there left those horses for days while it was determined what was going to happen,they would not turn them out to graze. I hope all humans that have participated in horse transport to or the slaughter of or the selling to slaughter will burn in hell.


  13. is part of Mary Nash’s site (knew RT had it).

    Many occupying forces have taken great effort to physically erase witness and evidence of cruelty…whether human or ecological.


  14. Temple Grandin has been co-opted by Sue Wallis and the UOH. A quote by her appears on their website, which prompted me to write her. Here is her response right down to the UOH suggestion to google abandoned, neglected horses. I am very disappointed that she has joined the dark side trying to open up horse slaughter in the US under the guise we can make this painless and maybe even a “good” thing. I will be writing her publisher, Simon and Schuster and letting them know that their author is in favor of expanding horse slaughter in this country. Here’s Temple’s response to me. ( I also rec’d a long email by Sue Wallis but I deleted as it made be physically ill to have it.) Temple is being used and her colleagues and friends are allowing her to be, imo.

    Dear ,
    Below is a short paragraph from p. 256 of the paperback version of “Animals Make us Human” with my views on horse slaughter:

    Look at the situation with horse slaughter in the United States. The Humane Society managed to get all the horse slaughter plants shut down in America. Now the old Amish carriage horses and other unfortunate equines are getting transported down to Mexico, where they’re worked and starved until they drop dead from lack of nutrition and overwork. If I were a retired Amish carriage horse, would I rather get hitched up to an old pickup truck and get sores and go hungry, or go to a U.S. slaughter plant? I got into a discussion with some of the people trying to shut down the plants once and I said, “You want to make sure, if you do this, the horses don’t have a worse fate.” My worst nightmares came true. Thousands of horses have traveled to Mexico where they were killed by the barbaric process of stabbing them in the back of the neck. Yes, in an ideal world all retired and unridable horses would go to sanctuaries, but we don’t live in an ideal world.

    Horse neglect has become an increasingly serious issue. I was shocked when I searched on the internet using key words “horse neglect.” There were many cases of criminal horse neglect. I challenge the activist groups to develop alternatives to horse slaughter. That will require raising a substantial amount of money to pay for alternative services or staffed educational programs to reduce excess horse breeding.

    Temple Grandin


    • And I challenge Ms. Grandin to work toward solutions that ARE actually humane–stopping the need for horse slaughter–foreign markets and overbreeding.


      • If the slaughter stopped, so would the overbreeding. How can anyone fall for something SO obvious?

        And WHERE did she get the idea that our old horses go to Mexico to work? They go to be slaughtered. What the HELL is she talking about?


    • Well, I’m personally impressed that you got a response from Dr. Grandin because every effort via phone and email (and CSU) resulted in no response with Dr. Grandin or her handlers/staff. In addition, she is a highly controlled “commodity” in the slaughter biz and relies heavily on their participation to make change. They are not a change oriented industry by nature.

      Please send your “disgusting” email from SS and response from Dr. Grandin to RT privately.

      I highly doubt that a visual thinker like Dr. Grandin uses the internet word as a basis of correctness regarding slaughter and in addition, would not personally use phrases and experiences that have not been personally experienced by her directly. And her witness to equine slaughter (foreign and domestic) and the remedy is published for free is documented where? Because it’s always about the animals, right Dr. Grandin?


    • Look at the article on racing out today. Look at the economy. Horses- all dependents- suffer from the current conditions. Death is a relief if you believe in eternal life, and I do.

      I would prefer they develope a humane method, since it can not stop. Immpossible not to put animals down in this mess of a world. So do it nicely!


  15. I too am listening, RT, the horror that we inflict on each other is bad enough, what we do to innocent animals is beyond words. Not only veal calves, but baby pigs, their mothers, dairy cows, chickens, turkeys, puppy mills, fur farms, ALL factory farms, gas chambers for unwanted dogs and cats, and that’s our domesticated animals, what we do to all the wild ones is …i don’t have the words. What’s going on now in the Gulf of Mexico, the ecosystem there will NEVER recover, all the animals, fish, all that IS the Gulf is covered in oil; and the government is STILL set on opening up more and more of what little is still pristine and wild to drilling, when we will wake up and STOP this insanity. Because as we destroy all that share this world with us, we destroy ourselves.


  16. Tell her to search the Kaufmann zone and see how many horses went to Canada and Mexico when the plants were still here….owned by the same butchers…they make me sick. In a Ideal world, over breeding would be stopped and put Suzie Slaughter and company out of business.


    • Dr. Grandin doesn’t search, she watches and reports with substantive changes regarding the status quo (whomever it is).

      That being said, the traditional meat industry in the US is still disgusting.

      The Grandin “expertise” has to become a bit more transparent to my liking…or is she still just eating yogurt?


  17. Temple Grandin’s very practical… I’m not pro-slaughter but am curious what changes she would make to the system that ensure a humane horse slaughter procedure? Has anyone heard back from her on this subject? This too a large undertaking and I’m keen on hearing her thoughts on the subject.


    • Well, “savewildhorses” seems to have a direct line to Dr. Grandin. Congrats!

      Let’s watch and see what the response is…of course, I’m still waiting for swh’s private email to RT to clarify SS’s private email and the email sent from Grandin (or handlers).

      p.s. I could never find published info on Grandin’s proposition that equines had to have their heads restrained during slaughter. Maybe I wasn’t on the subscription list, but many scientists/researchers publish papers in a myriad of trade pubs or societies (Ummm like she did for cattle)….never found the one from Dr. Grandin re: horse slaughter.

      If anyone knows, please enlighten (in all seriousness).


      • Deer? What? How can this get any weirder for me? Do they really run wild deer alive through slaughter? What happend to getting a license and going out on a hunting trip for a few days anyway? EEEE Gads!


      • Andrea, every private owner should use injection when it’s time for the horse to cross the rainbow bridge. I asked a vet about injection for the horses coming from auctions, and she answered that lethal injection is poison, and if the horses are destined for meat, they can’t use that. Don’t mind all the medications, that’s slow poisoning.


      • After all drug testing- USING HELPLESS animals- you would think! With all of our technology! That we would have some drug by now to use.


      • Not that I believe in synthetic drugs, I do not! But these jerks do unthinkable things to animals and come up with what!!!!??????

        They are injecting monkeys nearby, for instance, with HIV, foolishly seeking a vaccine. Or who knows, maybe there’s another agenda there. Fred Hutchinson, Seattle/Oregon – Hitleresque!!!!


  18. RT I’m sorry you had to witness first hand that horrid scene. I’ve watched some of the videos, but with the sound off. The sights are bad enough but I knew I couldn’t recover from the sounds of screaming horses, screams like nothing that should ever issue from any equine. I’ll continue to view sans sound. I will always insist that the only reason for slaughter is due to the callousness of humans and their insistence on gratifying their own desires ie. breeding, owning the “new” horse to replace that old one that loves you dearly but has become too familiar. Deer? new one on me too Roxy. Suppose Grandin will come up with a way to restrain the family cat next.


  19. Good news–Rep Nicely withdraws his bill in Tennessee for the slaughter of horses for human consumption due to overwhelming public response.


  20. It’s a heavy thing to carry R.T. I hate every last little bit of it, from the people who send them, without thought, to auction to the Jim Tuckers (Cavel) who so callously kill them. Every iteration of it is hell on earth.


  21. I have had to take a break from this horrific situation too, my experiences have not been anywhere near what you have endured R.T. but it has scarred me indellibly and I battle most days to stay sane and stop crying so I can only imagine what you are enduring. Thank you and your wife and colleagues for your strength, we are making a difference. I am keeping up to date the best I can but my sanity is in dire threat right now. Thank you again!


  22. Thank-you R.T. for writing this! I have been listening for a long time – I, too had the “opportunity” to witness a horse slaughter many, many years ago – I am still haunted by it – it also helped to prompt me to start Horse Play, the Rhode Island based non-profit horse rescue and sanctuary – thank-you again for writing this – as long as I am able I will do everything I can to stop these atrocities!


  23. Wallis’ email exchange with my friend Sharon in Canada:
    Subject: Re: part 2 of the nightmare on Wallis street Sharon’s email:
    Ms. Wallis, I have been raised with horses and understand their beauty, intelligence and a generosity that is sadly lacking in most of humanity. You use offensive language when you speak to others yet you accuse them of insensitivity because they wish to guard horses with love and compassion. All your arguements and blusters can be defeated by the one realities that you are choosing to ignore:
    1. God created earth to be a sanctuary….killing came into Eden after Adam’s fall. 2. Christ died on the cross not only to pay our sin-debt but to give justice to all creation (which includes all of the animal kingdom). 3. We are instructed by commandment “thou shalt not kill”. And, if you really want a perspective on how valuable God’s creatures are to Him then I suggest you read Genesis, then travel along to Noah and the history of the Ark….and don’t forget to read about the first witnesses to the birth of Christ (which were the animals – the Magi were still riding the road when the animals were bowed in adoration and reverence to the King of all Kings).
    And when you are reflecting on the lives of God’s servants just remember this….the best friends of Christ all worked on behalf of all creation….all of life is our brothers and sisters……from the ant to the zebra….they belong to God and he expects us to give them love, kindness and compassion. We will be judged one day on our treatment of the poor, the marginalized and on how we completed our service to Christ with respect for God’s workmanship or with or dispisement of earth and its creatures.
    In love and service to Christ
    Sharon J. Kennedy


  24. Wallis’ ridiculous and self-righteous reply to Sharon:
    Ms. Kennedy,
    With all due respect, I do not think that I have showed disrespect to you or any of the others…quite the opposite is true. I presume from your message that you are proposing that human beings should not eat meat of any kind, because according to your interpretation, this would be against God’s word. I think that most of your fellow Christians would reject this extreme and unnatural position out of hand.
    What I will tell you of my personal belief and practice is that every animal, including horses, needs to be treated humanely from birth to death. An instantaneous death causing complete insensibility—which is, and has been the standard set by the American Meat Institute for many, many years—after which all sensation ends, and what happens to the carcass is no longer an issue of animal welfare…is far, far preferable to the long and agonizing death of starvation that far, far too many of our horses have suffered since the closure of humane slaughter facilities here in the US where we can control the regulations. Dr. Temple Grandin probably says it best, “Humane slaughter is not abuse. Abuse is starving to death and having your guts ripped out by coyotes while you are still alive because you are too weak to get up.”
    So, please refrain from lecturing myself or my colleagues on the ethics and morals surrounding the proper way to take care of horses who would otherwise be consigned to a horrific fate.
    Or, perhaps you are personally going to pay for the $2,500 average cost that it will take to keep every excess, unusable, unwanted, unmarketable horse until they live out their 30+ years of natural life? Figure on a minimum of 120,000 horses per year who fit that category. Or, perhaps you think that what this country really needs in this suffering economy is another welfare entitlement program for horses at taxpayer expense?
    I think we have all been waiting for some realistic solution. If you have one that will restore the equine economy and restore the 500,000 jobs working with horses that have been lost because the short-sighted action of a few radicals that shut down the horse processing facilities in 2007 has stagnated the entire horse economy from top to bottom.
    If you don’t have those solutions, then shame on you for condemning my colleagues and myself who are doing everything we can do to guarantee every horse a good life, and when it is appropriate to guarantee them a decent and humane death. Like our Native American brothers we are appalled, quite frankly, that anyone who respects and honors any animal that has been harvested for our use, would be wasted and not respectfully utilized. Near as I can tell, that is exactly what you are espousing.
    Sue Wallis


  25. Sharon’s brave reply to a nutcase gone mad, evil and beyond decent:

    Ms. Wallis I appreciate your reply. However, your stance on slaughterhouses, jobs, etc. does not line up with what we are instructed by the life of Christ and by God’s commands. You seem to be focussed on profit, and defending jobs and on killing as a solution to this problem suggests that you have not Scriptures for guidance, but rather your own wisdom, which unfortunately is not compatible with commandments and the examples of the saints.

    We are not given the right to kill…..moreover, our founding fathers would be opposed to the slaughter of the land and its creatures simply for greed and profit…..your sarcasm toward others who want to build justice for all creation is also a disappointment….I pray that you find your way back to consulting the Scriptures before you pop off at everyone who truly loves and respects God’s workmanship and who strive to build a better world by persisting in the cause justice for all creation.

    Sharon Kennedy
    servant and ambassador for Christ


  26. Man that Wallis sure is good at making mud of the issue of slaughter as end of life for horses.

    she lumped horses in with the beef/meat industry and doesn’t seem to give a hoot that horses are not similar to cattle at all.


  27. Bottom line in my opinion, and I have been plenty guilty too, it is gambling, sport, greed, trophies, ego, envy and lust for “ownership” that is the culprit. Sue herself only refers to equines as a “business and economy”. God did not naturally breed these animals in excess numbers, humans did, her industry did this. The bible does give man “dominion” over earth and animals, but not for greed, profit, gambling, ego, “ownership”, etc. Sadly when you consider current cloning and genetic altering businesses and industries for patenting purposes that is the direction we seem to be going.

    In my perfect world – you breed them, you clean it up, whether business or back yard. Everyone who breeds animals would post a bond for potential rescue and adoption efforts and a safe, clean humane end – even in slaughter there would be no excuse for rushed cheap inhumane actions. And every breeder, including each employee equally, would volunteer time at animal control, primarily in the euthanasia section and/or slaughter plants. They should “experience” these for themselves. These should not be a burden to taxpayers – this is otherwise a sort of tax payer subsidy for breeders with no consequences.

    Wallis implies somehow that it is someone else’s fault that there are so many animals in the first place. Blame the victim. This does seem to be a current popular tactic watching the Wall Street defense strategies. I suppose if the citizenry is at fault for everything that elected officials do, or don’t do as the case may be, that is the case. An example of strategy that I recently ran into after hearing of some radio talking heads that the banking problem is somehow the victims faults, somehow perpetrated by the Jimmy Carter administration – however read the whole history of the Consumer Reinvestment Act in Wikipedia, and read all the revisions to that act over the years (sorry had to throw that in).

    Animals born into the wild do become food for other animals, yes it is brutal, that is the way the natural system works.

    It is not possible in any event to humanely slaughter wild horses, as the whole event from capture to end is unnatural for them.

    Does it really only cost $2500 over a 30 year span to care for a horse? Or is that per month?


  28. FYI – R.T., you might want to check the WordPress spam filter. I’ve tried to post a link here and on the Hardin story and it won’t accept it. Had the same problem at The Mustang Project earlier, and T. fixed it.


  29. the horror, we have to keep exposing this. we have to, especially through the media. where in hell is oprah? i can’t stand this. and to call ourselves humans. horses are trusting, thay trusted their masters.


  30. RE: MISSOURI HORSE SLAUGHTER BILL. This is the page from Kinship Circle. I’m adding it to a lot of posts on slaughter, because I want it to reach the widest audience possible. My OUTRAGE isn’t just about the bill itself, but the underhanded and downright dangerous tactics by the opposition.

    The page was apparently hacked and unavailable for a time, but has since been restored – who knows for how long. What happened to them should be illegal. I hope someone is recording those harassing phone calls & caller IDs.


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