Horse News

The High Price of Horse Slaughter

Equine Welfare Alliance and Animal Law Coalition

Chicago (EWA) – The Equine Welfare Alliance and Animal Law Coalition applaud Rep. Jim Moran and House of Representatives Appropriations Committee members who stood up for the horses this week. Rep. Moran introduced an amendment to the proposed agriculture appropriations bill to make sure commercial horse slaughter in the U.S. remains illegal.

The amendment was accepted by the Committee on a vote of 24 to 21 and it’s now on to a vote by the full House on the agriculture appropriations bill on June 15.

The amendment de-funds (prohibits funds from being spent on) ante-mortem inspections of horses to be slaughtered for human consumption. Without these inspections required by federal law, horses cannot be commercially slaughtered for human consumption in the U.S. The inspections have been de-funded since 2006.

The next step must be a ban on exports of U.S. horses for slaughter for human consumption. More than two thirds of Americans support a ban on horse slaughter. Proponents have avoided discussing what is clear to most Americans – the inherent cruelty of horse slaughter. As Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM & former Chief USDA Inspector, told Congress in 2008, “The captive bolt is not a proper instrument for the slaughter of equids, these animals regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck, they are fully aware they are being vivisected.”

There is virtually no market in the U.S. for horsemeat and U.S. horses are not raised under the regulations required for food animals. Indeed, horses are given a wide variety of drugs that are not tracked. Phenylbutazone (bute), for example, is given to horses like aspirin. Bute is a known carcinogen and causes liver failure, aplastic anemia and other blood diseases. It is banned by the FDA for use in food animals. Yet, we continue to allow horses full of drugs to be sent for slaughter for consumption as a pricey delicacy by people in other countries.

Slaughter is also not a “service” for so-called excess or “unwanted”, abandoned, neglected or infirm horses. If it were, we would have no horses in need because slaughter is still available for American horses in other countries. But a study for USDA confirms more than 92% of horses sent for slaughter are healthy. Kill buyers want the healthiest horses, not old, sick or infirm horses. Slaughter is driven by a demand for horsemeat in other countries.

Slaughter proponents claim that horse slaughter is necessary because there are too many horses, but the irony is that the availability of slaughter creates a “salvage market” that encourages excess breeding and poor breeding practices. In a market where supply is so easily increased, it will simply follow demand.

Among other observations, Rep. Moran made the point that the $5 million dollars of funding in question would merely prop up a foreign owned industry at US taxpayer expense. In the current fiscal environment, this argument resonated across party lines.

Slaughter represents less than 3 cents for every $100 of revenue in the horse industry. It has nothing to do with the health of the horse industry. All slaughter has ever brought to U.S. communities besides animal cruelty is environmental and economic devastation. The jobs are few and very poor; the profits along with the “product” are shipped off to foreign owners of slaughter facilities. As Paula Bacon, mayor of Kaufman, Texas when a horse slaughter facility operated there, said, “Our community did not benefit. We paid”.

It is time Americans and their horses stopped paying the awful price of horse slaughter. Call on your U.S. representative to retain the de-funding of horse inspections in the Agriculture Appropriations bill.

 The Equine Welfare Alliance is a dues free, umbrella organization with 155 member organizations and hundreds of individuals worldwide. The organization focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids.

The Animal Law Coalition is a coalition of pet owners and rescuers, advocates, attorneys, law students, veterinarians, shelter workers, decision makers, and other citizens, that advocates for the rights of animals to live and live free of cruelty and neglect.


12 replies »

  1. I will never, ever understand why we even have to put forth any effort to fight this issue. The price of being a moral person. But fight it I will, in all its absurdity.


    • I am the same way…vote on issues and the personal integrity of the individual (you lose there, Wallis) and party politics be damned. The entire system is broken.


  2. I was very proud to see that all California representatives present to vote – voted yea on the bill, as amended. Right on California! Not to say there are not criminals still transacting horses for slaughter. Those will be dealt with soon. It is important though to thank those politicians of California who have voted as the people have directed – against horse slaughter. They have stood up to protect horses again from the betrayal of those who feel compelled to hoard the almighty dollar.

    I am not sure why other states have not been directed by the people within, but highly recommend it. It certainly helps.


  3. I was ashamed to see A KY Congressman , Hal; Rogers, vote against the amendment. What a disgrace he is. He is well known for his pork barrel projects and an unnnessary highway in his district. Thank God For Congressman Moran.
    The congressmen and senators in D.C. need to get together and get bills passed to stop the wild horse wipe out and horse slaughter.


  4. It is a very sad sad day when we have to fight for our beautiful horses. Again, the
    majority of Americans are APPAULLED BY THIS PROCESS when the truth is
    known. Many people around the World are also appaulled by the handling of
    American horses both domestic and wild. We must all tell our friends and family
    members to write or call their Legislators to end the the transportation and
    IN THE US. If your friends and family members are not sure who represents them,
    I think we should help them find the information. We are in a very violatile period
    in our country. If any of my Legislators take a stand to support slaughter, I will
    obtain pamphlet information and send it out to all the district constituents. When we were in the process of closing Cavel, Intl. our Legislators were invited to view the
    slaughter process. Many left in disbelief because they truly did not know what
    happened in the process. Education can be a very powerful tool. However, it still
    was a fight that those of us in Illinois will continue if it is ever considered again.
    The American people have no idea how much the lobbyists in this country are
    being paid to pay to buy precious votes. If your Legislator voted against the
    amendment get your friends and family members to prepare documentation
    on your disbelief and disgrace to this vote. Let him know that he represents YOU
    AND NOT THE SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS. Americans through the voting
    process are the only ones who can change the course of what is happening.
    Votes and Voices will count, make your calls to Washington and the district
    office until he/she knows who you are. Trust me at some point, he/she will
    know you. Some of these Legislators never hear from their constituents so
    they do what ever they are paid to do by the lobbyists. Whether you like
    politics or not, you cannot sit back on this issue without becoming involved
    if you really want things to change. We cannot give up now because I
    think the tide is turning, we must continue our fight through our Legislators.


  5. Can anyone point me to a web site that shows who voted for what on these issues? I know I found one once but now I can’t find it again. The only one I know is But that doesn’t seem to cover this.


  6. Gail, so true All that and AMEN. Vote good ones in and bad ones OUT!!! We the People need to find out what the politicians are for and against before we put them in office, and if they turn on us, get them out at the next go ’round.

    What have you done for me lately?? Look at their voting records and see, if you don’t like what you see, share the dirt. If you like what you see, share the sunshine. Let people who don’t know, know. Sharing information is as easy as it gets these days. There’s no reason why we have so little say in what happens with OUR money in OUR country, all I know is that we let it get to this point, now, let’s fix it!!!


  7. Amen Suzanne, Lets get fixing here, calls I think are best to all Reps….. lets make them earn what we pay them…….for We must keep in mind that our Mustangs are about to be put to suffering we must stop it…………………………. Our Beauties need us now more then ever…………….Repetition is the answer……………………. Leave no reps without being called and recalled………………….


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