Horse News

Americans Do Not Eat Horses

Guest OpEd by Calamity Cate ~ Founder/Publisher of “TrueCowboy Magazine

Hands Down, Full Stop, That’s the Way it is!

The true symbol of the American West ~ photo by Terry Fitch

I recently attended a conference called the Summit of the Horse in Las Vegas.  This was billed as a group of concerned horse owners, ranchers and breeders led by Sue Wallis, Wyoming State Rep, who were seeking solutions to the “unwanted” horse population in the U.S.A. to “benefit the horses”.  Their solution to their own practice of over-breeding was SLAUGHTER, of both domestic and wild horses, for human consumption to the “poor”, prisoners and school children.

Now I ask you, how do you think a young child would react upon learning the meat on their plate was the pony next door!  Even hard core prisoners would repulse this idea.

The poor?  Families who have probably stopped eating beef to cut back on their food bill.

So why would they eat horses?  They wouldn’t.

Apparently slaughtering cattle for human consumption, directed to prisoners, the poor and school children, is not sufficient.  Where once cattle ranchers could get top dollar for prime beef, that industry has been hit hard in our current economic climate and with the humane shifts in attitude and practice regarding meat consumption.  People are simply eating less meat for personal, economic and philosophical beliefs.

So why would they eat horses?  They wouldn’t.

Further, the group also perpetrated the idea that ALL animal rights and animal welfare advocates are “terrorists”!  Specifically citing Wayne Pacelle, President of HSUS, Ingrid Newkirk, President of PETA and John Holland, President of Equine Welfare Alliance,  as the leaders of the pack, and labeled repeatedly by certain speakers at the Summit as “enemies” and “Know who your enemies are.”   WTF?

Needless to say, I was sick emotionally, spiritually and physically by this ugly, hateful group of “horse lovers”!

Below are points of truth from the Animal Law Coalition and Equine Welfare Alliance.

Tofu anyone?

1. Horses are our companions and pets; they helped build this country and still work in the military and law enforcement and, provide entertainment in horse racing, shows and other sports and exhibitions. Horses are not raised for food in the U.S.

2. The slaughter of horses simply cannot be made humane: Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM & former Chief USDA Inspector, told Congress in 2008 that the captive bolt used to slaughter horses is simply not effective. Horses, in particular, are very sensitive about anything coming towards their heads and cannot be restrained as required for effective stunning. Dr. Friedlander stated, “These animals regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck, they are fully aware they are being vivisected.” The Government Accountability Office and dozens of veterinarians and other witnesses have confirmed that ineffective stunning is common and animals are conscious during slaughter.

3. The FDA does not regulate American horsemeat as food because there is no market for it in the U.S. and most importantly, horsemeat is dangerous, if not deadly, for humans to consume. Horses are given all manner of drugs, steroids, de-wormers and ointments throughout their lives. Horses are not tracked and typically may have several owners. A kill buyer has no idea of the veterinary or drug history of a horse taken to slaughter, and many of the most dangerous drugs have no or a very long withdrawal period. A typical drug given routinely to horses like aspirin, Bute, is a carcinogen and can cause aplastic anemia in humans. Bute is banned in all food producing animals and there is no withdrawal period.

4. The availability of slaughter actually increases the numbers of excess horses on the market. Slaughter creates a salvage or secondary market that encourages over-breeding. Banning slaughter would reduce the number of excess horses. Slaughter is not “an alternative” for so called unwanted horses or horses in need. Slaughter is a for profit industry driven by a demand for horse meat, and has nothing to do with the numbers of excess or unwanted horses. Slaughter actually encourages over-breeding and adds to the problem of horses in need. The USDA has confirmed more than 92% of horses that end up at slaughter are healthy; they are not unwanted, neglected or abused. Horses are in need right now because of the economy and, in fact, slaughter is still available which is further proof that lack of slaughter does not result in excess or unwanted horses. Just the opposite!

One more talking point, True Cowboys/girls DON’T eat their Friends!!!” ~ R.T.

25 replies »

  1. This country is out of control with breeding. Not just horses, but dogs/cats who pay the ultimate price for an ignorant society at best. Regulate this excess breeding, increase registration fees and rethink the throw-away approach. The public health threat of adulterated meat is another significant component that is conveniently dismissed by the pro side. Educate we must. Horse slaughter can’t be implemented humanely. Solutions were presented to Dr. Grandin before the summit, she put then on the table there. Yet in those is no profit –driving the pro-slaughter minds to exploit and continue the irresponsible, cheap dumping grounds of slaughter and looking the other way, an American trademark. SOLUTIONS
    Stop over-breeding, irresponsible breeding, (introduce incentives for quality over quantity breeding); License stallion owners; even a “nominal” fee might help deter irresponsible breeding practices; Increase brand inspection fees and use funds for low cost gelding and end of life (humane euthanasia via a licensed vet) programs; Strengthen cruelty statutes and ensure enforcement; Connect animal control officers with qualified rescues for impound/seizure assistance so there is no excuse to not remove abused horses;
    Develop horse related businesses to take in former slaughter bound horses (therapeutic riding centers, riding academies, guest ranches, trail riding organizations, equine assisted therapy programs, wounded warrior military programs, youth camps, etc.);
    Develop quality intern/apprenticeship programs; Support/develop more programs like CO. Front Range Equine Rescue’s “Stop the Backyard Breeder” and “Trails End” programs;
    Improve tracking of stolen horses and prosecute offenders;
    Educate on responsible horse care; Provide hay banks, Educate on re-homing of horses (safe advertising, networking); Develop businesses which offer burial/cremation services;
    Educate on injury prevention and rehab services to improve a horse’s chance to return to work, even modified; Develop prison/community service programs to help with re-training of horses.
    Know that humans are the problem, not the horses!


    • I couldn’t have said it any better Monika.
      My stud stands domit & has been for a while. I won’t sell him though some man wants him really bad. Thank God he’s at least branded. I also have 2 mares that have bad knees but they are also staying here with me.
      All together I have 5 horses. My husband says we need to down size. My 2 mares are still rideable to a point but I tell husband where they would end up because of their knees if I did let them go, though it frustrates him, he understands to a point
      I’m stubbern, my ladies stay here where they are safe & thank God I do know where to find help should I ever be forced to give them up. My stud would even go to a man I trust.
      More people that don’t understand why slaughter houses were closed & believe that they are still needed, need to educate themselves but many WON’T DO IT. THEY PREFFER TO SIT ON THEIR ASS’S & THINK WHAT THEY WANT!
      It frustrates me because I know people like this. They tell me to do my home work but when I tell them I have they still think I don’t know what I’m takling about, once again they sit there thinking only what they want to. It’s so hard to change a persons mind when….


  2. Larson has stated that the Nebraska ranchers who were BREEDING horses exclusively for slaughter were put under a “hardship” when Central Nebraska Packing was shut down. Breeding more horses just so you can kill them is NOT addressing overpopulation.

    And funny thing, if you Google “American horse slaughter,” Sue Wallis’s name comes up somewhere in every pro-slaughter article.


  3. Thank you for this article, Cate!
    Thank you for honoring those worthy of being honored, and pointing out to everyone the difference of others who have no idea of what honor even is, or understand loyalty and see nothing wrong with being disloyal.


  4. The constant whining of the pro slaughter on “what are we going to do with all these horses”… is truly a shameful and most evavise detour maneuver to avoid putting some solution-oriented efforts into this instead of the usual tap-into-what-can-we-exploit-next approach of the ag industry. All those promoting horse slaughter are oblivious of the truth, the horrors and huge shortcomings in any quality standards – as there are none. Oh no, they just love to make the ones who expose their profit driven agendas look foolish because we jeopardize their propaganda. Starving horses ? Yes that is cruel. In a society that is regulated up the yingyang that ought to be addressed by implementing tougher consequences and preventive measures.
    We don’t let our kids starve… if we did, we would pay a price, or not ? New bills are introduced too often by those who want to shield their perilous intentions and mislead the public with their whining stories of “unwanted” and overflow horses… These horses are only at risk, because this society needs to be told what is right or wrong in their responsibilities. Always quick to brag, how great and smart Americans are… yet when it comes to animal welfare and respect, many remain in the stone age, and resemble the archaic mindset of cave people. Keep breeding happily ever after, right ? Promote the easy dumping grounds for cheap disposal which slaughter is, right ? Increase the numbers of at risk horses, so a buck can be made, right ? And oh yeah, go after rescues now with legal action… to be punished when in fact those who create this painful mess should be !!! Get them in their wallets. Money talks, but it must be done the other way around, to implement new measures to teach responsibility, so the animals don’t have to pay the price with their death, such as dogs/cats/horses do every day, because people who promote breeding and slaughter are delusional and grossly egotistic.

    1. Race track tax to be applied for animal retirement, sanctuary and for rescuing. Would apply to trotters, too.

    2. Breeder registration with local or state offices that would give “x” number of breeding licenses and allow “x” number of horses to be bred.

    3. Setting up a system of standards and governance for what stallion and what mare make breeder quality animals.

    4. Tax on breeders for licensing on a sliding scale for number of horses bred.

    5. Central registration in state for horses available for purchase on a web site.


    • Monica, this might sound like a silly comment to make but I am dead serious – “cave people”, that is pre-civilized humans, didn’t have money, didn’t lock food up, were gather-hunters who mostly scavenged for their meat, or killed small animals,if any at all, were nomadic and didn’t breed animals, and the population of humans didn’t exceed the “carrying capacity” of the land. All the problems that horses face are because we are civilized humans, and there are way too many humans on the planet now, Some Neanderthals, for example, had larger brains than modern humans, and certainly only few had smaller ones. There is lots of new anthropological research that’s been done in the last 20 years or so that shows that stone age people had minimal negative effects on the ecology of their regions – they were living in harmony with it, including all of the animals. I think it’s important for people to be aware of this and not to elevate civilization, when it’s actually a huge negative for the entire earth and all living things, and relative to the entire duration of humans on this planet, a relatively new human-created phenomenon that has wreaked massive destruction everywhere it is present. Check out John Zerzan and Kirkpatrick Sale, authors, and you will see our entire situation in a new light – not the popular one we cling to.
      my 2 cents. ❤


  5. I wanted to add this to the “Horses are companions” section: With the growth of Equine Guided/Facilitated Psychotherapy and Coaching, horses are now recognized as guides to personal growth and learning. They are acknowledged as helpers and healer.
    Most practitioners don’t even integrate riding into their programs. I’m an Equine Guided Educator and my clients interact with horses on the ground only. This field, then, actually extends the “usefulness” of a horse beyond the years that he/she is capable of carrying a human being. My rescue mare, who can no longer be ridden or bred for health reasons, is a wonderful teacher. She’s gentle, people-friendly, and has lovely ground manners — and her owner was going to throw her away because she couldn’t be bred any longer.
    There are all kinds of wonderful programs for children and adults popping up throughout the US and abroad that partner with horses in human growth and development.
    I share this because working with horses to help people learn and grow is just another positive solution to the “problem” of “unwanted” horses. It’s one more piece of the puzzle to save and nurture rather than demean and destroy. So instead of trying to feed horses to kids, why don’t these pro-slaughter folks try starting programs to teach kids more about being better human beings?


    • This is wonderful information, Nora.

      I have always said that I enjoy our horse companions just as much on the ground as on their backs. To ride a horse is a great honor and an opportunity to share good times with your equine companion but it is by no means the only reason that horses reside upon our property.

      They bring great joy and balance into our lives.

      (Plus, they are the best entertainment on the planet. Take an ice cold beer and a lawn chair out into the pasture and watch what sort of fun will ensue…special moments)


      • Ain’t that the truth. Watching any animals antics is a meditative moment, frequently hysterically funny, frequently educational. We should never forget to value what we can learn from the animals when we shut our mouths and open our eyes and our hearts. I didn’t slaughter and eat my schoolteachers, nor will I eat my horse who is every bit the educator. I’m re-reading the Tao of Equus right now which also agrees with Nora’s comments.


      • Morgan – The Tao of Equus was written by my friend, Linda Kohanov. It’s the book that brought me back into the horse world 8 or 9 years ago. Since then, I discovered how many people offer experiential learning with horses and what profound results the work has. So I studied/apprenticed and am working on getting my horse coaching business going again, despite this crazy economy. This work is like a gift to me that I can pass along to others. It’s just amazing.
        I’m so happy to hear that people go out and sit in their own pastures to watch their horse friends. It’s a beautiful thing!
        And speaking of horse friends … off to meet the new farrier … You all have a wonderful day!


      • Well Nora you can tell your friend Linda that I am re-reading it for the 4th time and I never re-read books. In fact I am buying a copy for a gift for a friend. I think she has sold a lot of copies due to my high praise of her. I just love it.


  6. Live horses contribute to the economy but dead ones sure can’t. There are the feed stores, hay, tack ,barns, boarding stables, lessons, vets, farriers, etc, etc. Slaughtering horses is like killing the goose that laid the golden egg. Only idiots would want to do so.


  7. In one of the Nebraska articles, a hauler was whining about the new regulations as troublesome and cutting into his bottom line. Like those regs were just bureaucratic red tape.

    Maybe we should start enlightening them on the hoops they’re going to have to jump through in the future, and the regs become even more stringent. How about the passport system they would have to use if they were selling directly to the EU? The EU assured the Int’l Fund for Horses that if the plants reopened here they would be subject to the same regulations as anyone else. I presume that would mean the passport system.


  8. I understand that ranchers may love the ranching way of life, but Sue Wallis and her ilk seem to think they are entitled to public support to produce a product that the public does not want. Not only does the public not want horse meat, horse meat contains products that could result in serious debilitating illness to anyone who might consume this product. As an elected representative of the people of Wyoming, Sue Wallis would appear to have an inherent responsibility to, above all, do no harm to her constituents of other members of the public. Yet, she and her blood kin are about nothing but harm.

    It’s enough to make a steak loving person go vegan. Sue Wallis and the likes of her are a disgrace to the agricultural industry in this country. There are some ground hog holes in some of that grazing land that Sue and friends need to find so they can live-in their den of iniquities underground where decent folks do not have to put up with their inhumanity.

    Seriously, there is no question that horse slaughter can not be made humane. But the more I think about the terror that slaughter bound horses go through, the more I think about what the cows, sheep, pigs, and other animals go through, and the less I want to eat any animal that has to go through these processes. As Dr. Grand in points out in her book Animals Make Us Human, even slaughter facilities that adopt her methods slip back into their old, bad habits unless employees are monitored and behaviors of the staff as well as certain outcomes for the animals are measured.


  9. One theory regarding the prohorse slaughter effort, covertly supported by the meat agri-industry is that they are precisely concerned about the possible deep scrutinazation of their industries (slippery slope crap). Yet organics and free-range/grassfed custom producers (not corporate ag) are doing fairly well for that exact reason.

    Acutally last I checked, the beef industry has shifted focus from the American markets (save for peddling dairy cast-offs to fast food and grocery stores) to export and is actually doing quite well with export and custom cuts markets….you know, the rich aren’t worried about beef prices; they buy regardless just like the new middle class in Asia and those that plop $75 for a steak dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.


  10. Here’s a question that might very well require intelligent, accurate legislation:

    How is it that a meat reporting lobbying group can categorize equine flesh as “beef” in their group member and government (I’m special) reports?

    I say it is time for the Congress (god, help us) to demand accurracy with regard to shipment data, factuality, etc. Anyone watch the ads for drugs and insurance peddlers?….can you read the fine print? What a big fat ****lie!


  11. Ahhh…the passion of commitment sans content,production and documented results…and no, Mr./Ms Calamity Jane hit the nail on the head

    And the reason the press and Congres ignore this is why?
    Seriously…why do thry keep ignoring the ugly of one little part of governemT of which we care?…the wild and domesticated ones???????????????


  12. Thank you, once again, R.T., & Calamity Cate!! This story told us all we already knew, & hopefully, informed & educated those who were “unaware”. There is absolutely NO reason/excuse, for slaughtering horses & eating them, or using them in pet foods! They ARE our friends & companions, not grocery/meat market “items”. They have names & feelings. This is just not right, nor can we allow or tolerate this in America, or, anywhere else!!


  13. Isn’t the basic problem, so called “red, white & blue” Americans DO over breed for that one foal in a life time, bang my checking account….no matter the cost????????????????????? Not to dismiss the stupids that say…poochie, kittie, horsie…can’t hang, won’t work and certainly won’t take the time to put you down humanely/


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