Horse News

The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011 (S. 1176)

Sponsored by:
Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA)/Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

The Problem: Somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000 horses/year are exported from the United States each year with the intent to slaughter for human consumption.

There are no horse slaughterhouses in the United States, and there is not a demand for horse meat in the United States. Two out three Americans believe the practice of horse slaughter is unnecessary and inhumane. Transport to foreign slaughterhouses is lengthy and cruel.

Horses in the United States differ from other livestock in that they have never been raised for the purpose of slaughter. As such, they are frequently treated with drugs that are toxic when ingested by humans and not approved for use in animals raised for human consumption. Additionally, we have no system in the United States to track which medications a horse has received throughout its lifetime, which makes horse meat a serious food safety/American food export risk.

The Solution: The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011 amends the Horse Protection Act (HPA) to prohibit the sale or transport of horses or equine parts in interstate or foreign commerce with the intent of processing for human consumption.

Most Common Fallacies: Horses going to slaughter are old and are infirm. The USDA has estimated that 92.3% of the horses going to slaughter are healthy, sound, and in “good” condition.

Without slaughtering, we will have up to 100,000 unwanted horses. Some horses that end up at slaughter are stolen or sold to “killer-buyers” unwittingly or illegally. In 1998, when California banned horse slaughter, horse theft went down by 34%. Horse owners will buy some of these horses, horse rescue facilities will absorb some, and others will be humanely euthanized.

It is expensive to euthanize and dispose of a horse. The average cost for humane euthanasia and disposal of a horse is approximately $225, which is about the same amount as one month’s care. Ninety percent of the horses that die each year are humanely euthanized and/or safely disposed, so this additional ten percent is not a burden. Brutal slaughter is not an appropriate alternative.

24 replies »

  1. Last time I had to euth my canine it cost over $275; the cat was about $225.

    Responsible animal ownership COSTS MONEY and is inherent in their care…period.

    Thank you Senators.


    • Amen! I can’t currently afford an animal. But I often shake my head at the term used ‘unwanted’ animals. It’s an inaccurate term. They ARE wanted. We just can’t all afford them.
      But one thing all American’s CAN afford is to dream. And how many little girl’s dream of that wild mustang? I’ll bet none dream of a horse being slaughtered. That’s not a dream, it’s a nightmare!


  2. The bill needs to come to a vote this time. No more of the Senate sending a piece of “difficult” legislation to committee for reconciliation, but not reporting it out – the “black hole” where many good bills die when the session ends. Congress should have the courage to act – yea or nay. If successful, it will be a wonderful day for America’s horses. If not, at least we’ll know who needs further education.

    If the bill does pass, we must be ready to work hard for solutions. Some great strides have been and are being made. The TB industry is stepping up with the Jockey Club’s Thoroughbred Connect and a program for training people to help with second careers. They need encouragement to expand their efforts. The Unwanted Horse Coalition has held some gelding clinics, but needs to develop a system for funding humane euthanasia and proper disposal. Shelters and retirement facilities need money.

    BTW, the AQHA recently revamped a program I didn’t know existed. It’s now called “Full Circle”, and seems similar to Thoroughbred Connect. Let’s hope it isn’t PR “fluff, and they’re truly committed.


  3. I had Chico my old TN Walker euthanized earlier this spring the cost was $150, $50 of that was the trip call. I then buried him here at the farm with the other seven horses that have gone before him. While Chico was alive it cost me approx $180 a month in senior feed.


  4. Thank God someone is finally listening.. My two other horses passed away at 32 and 34
    years of age. My Apply was purchased as a yearling and lived to the age of 32. My
    Lippizan was purchased at the age of 10 and lived to the age of 34. I cannot put a dollar
    amount on the gifts of knowlege and the companionships that these 2 horses afforded
    me during their life times. Both were lucky to find their final resting place in the pasture
    that they roamed for most of their lives. I COMMEND both of these Senators for their
    support and conviction to save Americas horses. I am going to call their offices and
    tell them how much their support means to me and our American horses.

    Kudos to Senator Mary Landrieu and Senator Lindsey Graham


  5. I agree with Denise on this, last year in New York, saratoga County where I live it cost $175.00 for the vet to arrive and another $ 275.00 for a man to come and get the carcass to hawl off. I once regrettably asked what is done with the carcasses and I found out that the renders make money off the hide and the rest is ground into fertilizer. You would think that their would be a price break for this service and not this. You cant put a price on how your friend has to go but, I would feel better that he or she didn’t suffer in the process.
    Each horse I had to attend to didn’t go alone, I was their with them until their heart stopped. Its stressful but I know that they trusted me to make sure that they went as quickly as possible. I hate the task but that is what being responsible for your horse is all about to see them born raise them to be good partner’s and have a good life right up til the good lord calls them back. I wish it could be that way for people who suffer from horrible diseases, we after all are not a neutral country but to make sure the horse has the painless and quickest end is a must.


    • I forgot that the fees I paid would have been higher if I’d let the vet dispose of the body; I took them home and buried them properly and with in my local laws. Some vets cremate, render or send to the dump…I wanted to make sure their remains DIDN’T go to the dump.

      As to rendering in the US…it is a mess that needs addressing more than more people know, much more even can begin to understand. I’m not dis’ing the industry. But many stockmen don’t properly dispose of their dead animals because of costs and many animal control facilities go to the dump as allowed by ordinance; which is another point to dispute with those saying chemical euth of an equine is dangerous to ground water etc. Oh really? And just how many dogs and cats are in landfills across the nation? Wallis and her slaughter trolls use that all argument ALL THE TIME.

      If you can bury…great; rendering (can be expensive) is a viable option, but it needs some reworking on pickup areas, charges, etc….BUT IT IS BETTER THAN MEXICO!

      Regardless of the varying responsible options for euthanizing your equine, it takes a ton of guts, courage and love to do the right thing. That’s why I always remember the people that had their equine stolen…it must make them sick thinking about what might have happened to them. Another reason to stop slaughter and transport for same…theft!


      • Pardon the typo’s and repeats….long day in 100 degree heat at the tail end of a colic problem….she is fine, but I’m on pins and needles waiting for another shoe (not horseshoe lol) to drop and all the work AND MONEY that goes with her nursing.

        That’s called owning a horse you slaughter ding-a-lings!


  6. I’ll be calling my senators on Monday to tell them to support this bill and get it through. Wish I would have noticed this earlier, but both my boys were AMAZING today.

    May I ask where the lovely photograph was taken?


  7. It’s obvious why they round up and ship the wild horses ; no drugs, more money for greedy butchering ranchers and BLM


    • Actually Debbie, the Mustangs are not drug free. The horses pulled off the range are wormed and those with injuries treated with bute. The BLM has confirmed this.

      While we know they are going to slaughter, the only wild equidae meat that is accepted by the EU is zebra meat but we know how well they follow regulations…


  8. “There are no horse slaughterhouses in the United States” This comment right here isn’t true unless the one I know of is illegal. There is still in operation a slaughter house that kills horses for zoo diets in NJ. Bravo packaging. I haven’t seen a report or heard word they got shut down. I hope I am wrong. I want to be wrong. I hope there are no horse slaughter plants in the U.S.


    • Jedi44, I could be wrong, but think someone contacted Bravo, and the owner stated they didn’t actually slaughter horses, but did import (frozen?) horsemeat for zoo animals. Since they’re in NJ, I assume it’s from Canada. Many zoos have eliminate horsemeat, because of the toxins. They’ve switched to beef. I wonder why they don’t use deer meat, since overpopulation has become a big problem in some Eastern states. It’s lean and drug-free, except for does that have been contracepted.


      • There are just as many, actually more sometimes, medications given to beef! They are implanted with a hormone pellet at weaning and given antibiotics all their lives if kept in a feed lot, or else they would die or bring e-coli into our food chain. They are given the same type of wormers, same types of antibiotics, wound treatments. If sick, they are treated with medications as well.


  9. The Pro-slaughter claims are, that the slaughter of horses for human consumption is “humane” and “necessary” because of a huge overpopulation or unwanted horse problem. This may sound like a reasonable argument, but the reason for this widespread deception of the American public, is easily deciphered:

    The business of Horse slaughter is not a service business designed to help us dispose of unwanted horses, it is a FOR-profit, demand-driven business, like any other business. The amount of horses slaughtered, is determined by the demand of horse meat abroad and by the contracts that the kill buyers have to fulfill, NOT by the amount of unwanted horses

    While we are certainly going through harsh economic times, and nobody denies that we have an overpopulation problem, when you stop to consider the facts more realistically, it becomes very clear that horse slaughter is the anti-solution to the problem.

    The truth is that the abandoned and starving horses are not the ones that end up in the slaughter plants at all, for the simple fact that their owners chose to abandon them rather than send them to slaughter.

    The demand of the horse slaughter plants is for healthy, young flesh as this is the tenderest and fetches the highest price per pound. Therefore the killer buyers are in search of the young fat and healthy and leave the skinny, old and sick for society to take care of. Killer buyers bid against good homes and horse rescues at every auction all over the country, because they have contracts with the slaughter plants to fulfill.

    In addition to the obvious motives of the slaughter industry, the option of horse slaughter in itself in fact has created, is creating and will continue to create an overpopulation problem, by enabling over breeding (lottery breeding) and encouraging a quick turn around and dumping of horses.

    As a convenient and lucrative means of disposal, horse slaughter allows the large breeding industries to dispose of horses that do not have the perfect conformation or speed or strength necessary for their discipline. The larger the quantities they breed, the larger their chances of a winner. The youngster that disappoints simply gets cashed into the killer buyer.

    The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) (Dave Duquette) celebrated their 7 millionth foal, and reported over 140,000 foals in 2009. This is approximately the same number as the number of U.S. horses slaughtered. Could it be possible that their motives be related to the fact that they need that same amount of horses to go to slaughter in order to make way for their new stock and keep prices falsely inflated? In any case, they seem morbidly afraid of a bill that will stand in their way of making their fortunes.

    So while they cleverly make it seem as if they are protecting the individual horseman and as if they actually care about the welfare of horses, in all reality it is about pure and simple greed of the big industries, like it always is.

    The most creative part of this well funded scam on Americans is that the very businesses creating the overpopulation problem turn around and use this problem to convince good hearted people to side with their cause. They promote horse slaughter as a necessary evil, so that these businesses may continue to produce “unwanted” horses and keep selling them pound for pound.

    Some people might be surprised to learn these breeding industries receive both huge breeding incentives from their perspective breeding associations as well as huge tax advantages and write-offs from the IRS. This further encourages breeding strategies that are not consistent with demand. When you throw in the current state of the economy on top of the overpopulation problem and the breeding incentives for coming years, the future seems rather bleak for American horses.

    According to very simple economic principals when supply is overabundant, demand goes down and values decrease. The housing industry understands this principal and builders have stopped building. How come breeders cannot do the same? Because they still have their crutch of horse slaughter to lean on and as long as they have it, breeding will never slow down to what the market can sustain.

    To point to the closing of the American slaughter houses for the decrease of horse values and the demise of the horse industry is a cowardly deflection to avoid blame, and a clever rouse for people who dont take the time to investigate any further. Very much like the banking industry, the breeding industry is self destructing by not paying attention to the market, and horse slaughter is their bail out.

    Change is needed, certain questions need to be asked. What if we take a part of the same taxes from the horse races that are currently used as breed incentives, and instead we make humane euthanasia funds and gelding funds and hay funds for horse rescues? If these breed associations care about the welfare of the horse like they say they do, perhaps they will take this into serious consideration. We all want horse prices to rise again and the only way to do it is to slow the overabundant supply.

    We have almost 10 million domestic horses in America. The approximate amount of 100,000 horses ending up in foreign slaughter plants are in all reality only 1% of the horse population. Not an insurmountable amount to be absorbed back into society as the pro slaughter evils would like us to believe. It would take only a slight adjustment of the breeding industry.

    It is the want and need for human attention and praise that gives the horse its incredible versatility. It is these same qualities that are a major factor in the assessment of the amount of mental and physical suffering involved with horse slaughter. The myth that horse slaughter is in any way quick or humane, is a wishfull, far fetched stretch of the truth to say the very least.

    Every argument for preserving the barbaric practice of horse slaughter, is greed motivated, un-factual and clearly deceptive. Horse slaughter is unacceptable and beyond un-necessary. It is time to find solutions to the problems we create without compromising our humanity.

    Pass the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011, S1176!!!

    All rights reserved 2010 Respect4horses.


    • Thanks, R.T. and Simone. Insightful information, as usual. I did some poking around this morning, and found a number of articles on incentives from breed associations and states. Kentucky provided $19.2 million in 2007. Their incentives aren’t just for Thoroughbreds (80% in 2007 – $15.4 million), but include a number of other breeds as well.

      Incentives are based on PERFORMANCE – money won by racehorses, and points accumulated by others. Breeders tout their stallions and set stud fees based on what’s earned by their get. Recognizing and promoting the “best of the best” is healthy for any business, but doing it with money only encourages keeping the winners, and disposing of the rest by the most convenient method – usually the sale barn.

      VERY generous state tax breaks encourage breeders to set up shop in places that offer the most financial gain, and are good for horse real estate. In the current financial crisis, states are taking a hard look at reducing or eliminating those breaks.

      I read this about Indiana’s booming horse “industry” (I HATE that word, when it’s appied to sentient beings!): “… some of Indiana’s thoroughbred breeders are worried that their good days could take a hit if state lawmakers approve proposed cuts to a state incentive fund.”

      It would be interesting to find out what other states have been “booming”. I’d also like to know if and how much breeders in those states are actually giving back to retrain and rehome horses that don’t make the grade. Lots of high-sounding talk about that recently, and some promising programs. I want to see PROOF – census numbers and financials.


    • Very well writen. Breaking down all the pro slaughter arguments and exposing the truth. I have had the same thoughts and feelings just couldnt put it out there like that. Well done


  10. I just came across this blog on S. 1176. If you are trying to rally support or see what others are thinking check out POPVOX.COM POPVOX is a nonpartisan, transparent, public platform for activity on bills pending before Congress, built by a former Congressional staffer, a former advocate, and the founder of

    With a link from your article to the action page for S. 1176 ( or other pending bills, your audience can get more information about the bill, find the bill’s language when it is available, see what others are saying, and share their opinion with Congress. We also have an easy widget, if you would like to show readers a real-time opinion tally:

    Thanks and please do not hesitate in contacting me if you have any questions!

    Best regards,

    Devin Patel


  11. I am a breeder of very special horses…. and since the passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act passed, the market is gone for my purebred quality horses. There are so many horses out there, the so called rescues are making money selling grade horses to the unknowing population. And the cost to euthenize is much more that you think. I had one of my prize mares break a leg last month, and I had to put down, for the first time I will add, a horse. I have not lost one in over 10 yrs of our program. The cost for the vet to come out started at $60. The medication and then the rendering company to come and take her away was $180 alone. it was over $500 for the day, but more importly I lost a very special mare. I have been to horse auctions and I have seen what is being disposed of. Some horses are crazy and dangerous. Do you want your kids to work with those…. There is a balance here, we should not distroy the quality, but there has to be a means to keep the ecosystem in check. RETHINK your ideas!


  12. It’s sad that most horse breeders look to horse slaughter as an option to unload a horse that doesnt meet their standards or expectations on the track on in the arena.Horses by their very nature can’t be humanely processed in a slaughter designed for cattle.What about free or low cost euthanasia and disposal clinics for horse owners who can’t afford to have a horse put to euthanized?I had my first horse humanely put down.Cost $300 back hoe $160.00 vet.I sold alot of stuff and did without to do it.I consider it money well spent so I could get a good nights sleep knowing exactly where he was and not worring about what happened to him.I owed him that much.


    • Unfortunately, large horse operations consider sending a horse to the Sale Barn (whatever its fate) part of their bottom line.

      For responsible folks, the International Fund for Horses (Vivian Grant) has compiled guidelines for end-of-life issues, including coping with the emotions people will face. Everything that lives dies, and it’s incubent upon those who own horses (or any pets) to face the facts from the beginning.

      Then there’s Estate Planning. We have Trusts and Wills set up for our family, but I hadn’t even thought of making provisions for our pets. Who would be willing to take them (primary and other individuals) How much money should be set aside for their care? What are the choices we want thier caregivers to make if they become ill or require euthanasia? This is a basic guide for Estate Planning for horses, which could be applied to all pets:

      And there should be humane euthanasia clinics and disposal options in every state. IMO, these should be offered by all rescues and licensed vets, based on a sliding scale determined by the individual’s latest income tax records. There may be a way to set up reimbursements to cover expenses beyond what those with provable need can afford. This is from the Horse Plus Humane Society (NorCal):

      If the Unwanted Horse Coalition, Breed and Vet Associations, Temple Grandin, and even some members of United Horsemen, are so concerned about the WELFARE of horses, they should organize, publicize, and find ways to help fund humane euthanasia clinics and disposal as a way of proving their sincerity!


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