Horse News

Texas A&M Fined for Horse Slaughter Transportation Violations

Information and report supplied by Animal’s Angels

Dead Horse found in “Deluxe” Transport Trailer

Rig used for Transport

AA has gained information through a Freedom of information Act Request (FOIA) that powerfully underscores the cruelty of horse slaughter on U.S. soil. Under the most ideal conditions possible – including watering stops during single-deck transport, less packed conditions and multiple cameras with a team of monitors – a horse died in the bottom of a trailer during transport. The study adds to ever increasing evidence that demonstrates horse slaughter cannot be ‘improved’ into something that is humane.

The subject of the FOIA is a graduate program study orchestrated by Texas A&M University veterinary professor Dr. Ted H. Friend. The USDA paid for the study. A kill buyer was chosen and TX A&M transported his horses for free to the slaughter plant. The study was designed to ‘improve’ transport to slaughter by “relieving transport stress.” Specifically, the study was to document the effect of providing water to horses in transport at 8 hour intervals.

Inside of Trailer

In his statement, Dr. Friend said that 8 hours was, “the most frequent interval that we could reasonably expect truckers to stop to water horses.” USDA regulations require checking all horses every six hours.

The researchers would also be taking blood samples to monitor stress levels in the horses. However, no blood sample was taken from the horse that later died.

Monte Clark of CO, a well known kill buyer, was the owner of the 26 horses. Texas A&M acted as shipper/transporter of the horses, moving them at no charge from Hudson, CO to Dallas Crown in Kaufman, TX.

Conditions were as ideal as possible. There had been several practice runs before the study began. A&M used a specially outfitted trailer with 12 video cameras, lighting and watering system.

There were 2 drivers instead of the usual 1 seen on most hauls, and 3 graduate students that followed the trailer to monitor the cameras and water the horses. The professor stated that “our densest compartment [of the trailer] could be increased by 60% and still be under what the USDA considers to be acceptable density.”

As unlikely as it sounds, all involved stated that cameras and lighting in the trailer “malfunctioned” where the dead horse was, though the cameras in other parts of the trailer continued to work properly.

AA believes it is due the presence of a USDA APHIS inspector at the slaughter plant that documentation of the incident exists. He stated that he “overheard” a graduate student telling the plant manager a trailer with a dead horse had arrived. APHIS inspectors are responsible for enforcement of transport to slaughter regulations (9 CFR, Part 88).

In his affidavit it is the driver who most frankly describes the journey’s start. He seems more in touch with the condition of horses as they were being loaded in CO than the ‘experts’, recalling,

“[S]ome horses had cuts above their eyes or cheeks. The horse that fell was one of our main concerns. He did not seem to be in too good of health. He was walking real slow and hair was fallen out. But [ the] owners son, if I am not mistaken said the horse would be alright for the trip….I may not know too much about horses, but I myself know when one is not in good health….”

Graduate student 1 seemed far less concerned with any horses’ welfare. In his affidavit he states Clark let him select additional horses from his “cripples pen“, choosing the “healthiest soundest looking horses.” However, as they began loading he sees the horse that would die in transport urinate, “the urine looked highly saturated with blood.” The student said that later ‘Monty’ commented that the horse was “going to the right place.” The student also states that after they arrived at Dallas Crown and found the dead horse, he told Chris the manager; “He did not seem surprised so I assumed this was a fairly common occurrence.”

Student 1 ends his affidavit by saying, “Many of the horses transported to slaughter look pretty bad and this one [the horse that died] did not look any worse off than the majority. I know in the future we will not be transporting any horses that have blood in their urine.”

A second graduate student gave an affidavit and also describes the pen of horses with “lower limb deformities”. He remembers that the palomino gelding in question had “abnormally long, curly hair” and “appeared lethargic”. However, neither of the graduate students in veterinary medicine hesitated when the decision was made to load this horse.

The trip took approx. 18 hours with one stop for watering the horses in Amarillo. Temperatures inside the trailer reached 97 degrees. Texas A & M was later fined $2,000 for failure to “at least once every six hours check on the physical conditions of all horses,” and for incomplete owner/shipper certifications showing any prior conditions of the horse that arrived dead.

During the stop in Amarillo, the students monitoring the cameras stated they were having problems with the lighting system of the trailer and did not notice any horses down in the trailer.

According to the APHIS inspector’s affidavit, he “did not ask if there was any tape of the horses or the dead horse” received that day.  No explanation was provided. Nobody took blood samples from the dead horse.

Slaughter Tag


A university study with watering stops, lower loading density and video camera monitoring, select horses, yet still a horse dies during transport – How bad is the reality of typical transport to slaughter with nothing that approaches such luxuries? These transports were planned for months, test runs were conducted at the university and graduate students in veterinary medicine were monitoring the horses’ welfare en route.

Still this poor horse died a grim death. According to Monte Clark, the palomino was, “going to the right place.” No doubt giving horses water is an improvement, but does it make horse slaughter humane? According to every bit of evidence Animals’ Angels has gathered since 2006, the answer is unquestionably No.

142 replies »

    • While I believe that the information that you asked about would be valuable to the people that document shipping of those animals (and Animal Angels do), I don’t think it is relative to the this question. Horses are diferent from those animals, even tho’ they have been stuffed into trailers designed for those animals. So I’m not really sure what your question would demystify.


      • Well, if you are that thick…NO explanation would DE-mystify you.

        I know who you are (no indictment), but seriously either reword your post or explain.


    • Actually there are departments in state and Fed ag divisions that are required to track that info. Why is it still fuzzy and TX A&M got a “mystery money” research to do this is the beauty of gov and K Street (lobbyists) and big ag.

      Problem? Congress and states keep researching to find the results they want…kinda like the “super committee” in DC (you folks understand these jerks are finding excuses to kick the can down the road????…there have been at least 3 committees before these partisan idiots…delay, delay, delay)…sound familiar with our wild ones??? Duh…..

      Stall, delay, stall, etc, etc!!!!!!!!!!!


      • I have no idea who you are, Denise. And I really don’t know how you know me..I’m pretty much a nobody, that raised Warmbloods in Texas for 27 years. But I was on the frontline of the fight to close the Texas Slaughter Plants in 2007, working with my state legislator in Austin. So I believe that perhaps you misunderstood my question to Kerry. I just wanted her to know that horses are different from those other animals, and perhaps the comparison was not valid, even if we had information on the transportation of those animals. And often pro-slaughter people start with that premise.. All animals that are slaughtered for meat are alike. But AA does investigate all animal cruelty. I am just concentrating on horses at this point.
        And everything you write sounds like you are yelling at the rest of us. We are all on the same side. So, I believe that you could be much more effective by writing/faxing/emailing the politicians that will ultimately make the decisions that effect the horses’ lives that we all value enough to spend our time speaking up for them..


      • My comment was to say that I KNOW you to be an advocate and stand up for equines. I thought Kerry asked a reasonable question.

        Maybe you and I are actually saying the same thing; just a different wording/approach.

        I apologize for causing any confusion…maybe I should go to “rewording” school.


  1. Thank you RT & Terry and everyone else involved in saving the innocent ones! Especially Animals Angels for the undercover work re: the rendering plant in NJ…I was shocked and very angry to hear about all of the horrific suffering of all of the animals…Even though the 3 US slaughter houses were closed, I am sure that very few people know that our innocent horses who are not fit for human consumption are being slaughtered right here right now on US soil…I had no clue…Your book is incredible..I have read it three times and purchased one for my friend to read and pass on to other horse lovers….You are truly an inspiration to all of us and you will be blessed! Thank you so much for standing to be a voice for the wild horses & burros….We are right behind you, my friend
    The horses thank you with all of their hearts….


    • Hey guys, I want to be real clear in saying that all I have done is simply post/report on all the hard and dangerous work that the good folks at Animal’s Angels do. I fully and unequivocally will go on record, as if there is any doubt, in stating that I stand behind every aspect of their efforts, but in reality, at this point, I am nothing more than a paperboy slinging the news up onto your doorstep.

      Hats off to AA and lets support them in their endeavors!!!


  2. My disappointment in Texas A&M Vet program is immense. Always their supporter, believing that they were one of the best, and feeling lucky (and once for certain) that my horses are located within a 3 hour drive to that facility, if the need arose. First, I can’t believe that this was buried for so long. It should have been made available in 2007, when we were fighting to have that very plant closed. And in the interum, as horse advocates fought, at the very least, to make transport more humane, this report/investigation/folllow up documentation was hidden, and in fact, covered up. The people that we most value as those that help our horses are the most corrupted by, I suspect, money from the pro-slaughter contingent, particularly the AQHA.


      • They are NEVER the best if they ignore their code of ethics and animals are allowed to die this way (no matter what school and UCDavis is on my hit list too)…when you start peddling HCHS, you are a piece of human scum…..and they support HCHS.

        See you have been drinking the AVMA, meat biz kool-aid.


      • No, Denise, I don’t drink “kool-aid” of any kind. I am simply a veterinarian assessing the current situation and asserting my opinion on the best way to deal with it. I can’t help it that you refuse to respect any portion of my education or knowledge.

        And I do want horse slaughter to end. And while we’re working towards that, why can’t we try to make the journey at least a little better for those who are making it?


  3. why is there a study on humane transport to slaughter a horse? what’s the point of this effort? seriously. why not an effort to, um, i dunno… STOP HORSE SLAUGHTER altogether? why would TX A&M even support this?


    • I was totally thinking the same thing!! What a stupid graduate study…gee…how will a bunch of horses do in a truck going to slaughter? …like you said…how about finding out a way to STOP the whole frickin process in the first place!!!!! For such a well known school – I wouldn’t want one of those graduates to take care of my animals!!


    • I agree with you totally. This study sounds like a march to the gas chambers. I sit here shuddering–these animals are innocent of everything–and forced to suffer and die in a transport trailer–for a “study” –of what ?? –how much can they take before they die? STOP killing our horses—- study that!


      • Both of you are entirely right We want to stop needless suffering, we want to stop Horse Slaughter !!!! Lets study that !!!!!!!! stop the transporting of horses across state lines thats were to start , make it illegal and make sure this doesnt happen, THERES ARE START TO END HORSE SLAUGHTER…………….


  4. It gets more horrible everyday , God Bless AA for all they do, Horse slaughter will never be humane , no matter what anyone does ……………My heart breaks everyday knowing this continues here …………………………. It needs to stop…………………………




  6. I’m with Paula on this, I am sickened by the fact that Texas A&M is involved in this. I have always been a supporter of theirs, but I will now think twice about taking my animals (of any kind) to their facilities. I now have to question what really happened to our precious Ethan. I’m absolutely disheartened and disgusted.

    Thank you, AA, for exposing this. As always, hats off to you guys (and gals)!


      • The current dean of the veterinary school is Dr. Eleanor Green, but she was not in the position when this incident occurred. I think there was an interim Dean, but I cannot remember who it was.


  7. Advocates:

    A get real moment here. You are SURPRISED???? WHY????

    Good school? Absolutely! Good for equines…not necessarily. Good for MEAT producers? Absolutely!!!!!

    I could throw UC Davis into that Ag Hag culture that does little for the TRUE welfare of equines….but they control the state/USDA extension game.

    No surprise to me, but I thank AA. And who do think funds these schools?????


    • This is Quarter Horse country through and through.. no one should be surprised. I think many an ag school has gone this way over the years. I would bet they are all of this mind set.


      • I agree…and I will add I WENT TO AG SCHOOL and in some places based on logic and humanity, morals, values…they (the school) made my brain hurt. That was 25 years ago and they still LIE about equines.

        I get it…the meat marketers, equine breeders and abusers DON’T.


      • I grew up at an Ag school and attended one also, Denise. I was just lucky to have a friend and 4H leader who taught us all about slaughter when we were young. Real young.


  8. It’s just sickening that anybody can treat innocent living beings in such horriffic ways. There is no good reason or excuse for this. I stay in perpetually horrified and in grief over the suffering pressed upon countless numbers of horses and burros.


  9. Let me qualify the “Lenz” rhetoric:

    Yes, he did not get his DVM from TX (Missouri…and ain’t they just great). He did get his MS from A&M and served with AAEP and the American Horse Council in many capacities. Last I checked, he is still associated with TX….plz note what he got his “Masters” in. I thought based on previous research he was involved in teaching in TX. He also rubber stamped horse slaughter in MEX for AAEP as “peachy-keen”.


  10. I spent a very interesting afternoon today with the first NAS meeting. Dean Bolstad was there giving BLM speak for what the study is about. Or should be. I don’t know if I’m seei g the picture clearly or not but no one hand I’m hearing “we’re going to listen to everyone and everything”. Kinda seemed like if I could have said HAY YOU NEED TO SPEAK TO THESE PEOPLE–I was welcome to tell them. But other advocates tell me it was whitewash.

    So I’m feeling sorta between a rock and a hard place…

    But there were some great advocates there! Deniz spoke–seemed like it was straight from the heart. She hit a grand slam with her remarks. D.J. Schubert from Animal Welfare Institute spoke really echoing Deniz’s statements. Craig Downer spoke and while some of it is still over my head–he did tell me afterwards that heterozygosity is really complicated! So now I didn’t feel all that dumb! Basically you need a big stable herd to prevent I breeding. At least that’s the understanding I got.

    Sadly there was a lady who went to the conference in Wash and is pro-slaughter. She apparently was disappointed that it wasn’t discussed two weeks ago as a viable method of control and she wants the committee to look at euthanasia as a viable method of control. Never mind what I wrote Deniz! I’d get banned! I don’t think her remarks were well received by the audience. I’m still trying to figure out why she even went to this conference and spent all that money when she knew it was pro-horse and not pro-euthanasia.

    Well it’s late, I have to get up early and then drive home. Let you know late to or row afternoon how the drive went.

    See ya!


    • Just a technicality, but being pro-euthanasia and pro-horse is consistent with wanting the best outcomes for a horse.

      We cannot let any pro-slaughter person get away with calling horse slaughter euthanasia. Remember eu (good) thanasia (death) with the least pain and the most comfort possible.

      Finally, remember that slaughter is for food production. Period.


  11. PS forgive my tired brain but Laura was there. She is so incredibly kind and sweet. She can tell you what’s what in no time. I particularly hope that the committee chooses to listen to her and Deniz and D J. I know I left others out. Forgive my tired brain. Common sense that’s all I’m asking. Reasonable decisions based on reasonable data that we all are privy too.

    OH A REAL SHOCK TODAY! Dean even said PREDATION! That it exists. Not in great numbers but it exists!

    Ok–I’m off to bed now!


    • You mean he is just figuring out that wild horses also have a mortality rate in addition to that inflated reproduction rate? Gee, he’s an Einstein.


  12. It’s pretty clear that this palomino horse that died plus others which were mentioned were very old horses with Cushings [curly shaggy coats] and were literally on their last legs when being loaded for a trip to the slaughter house, especially since they were from the “crippled” pen! You would think those people could wait a little longer for those horses to die of old age or put them to sleep.

    The veterinarians that were involved violated their own credo “to do no harm” by even allowing these poor horses to face such a long trip at all.

    And to think that their meat was to be sold for top dollar! Would that the diners had an inkling!

    And lastly, how convenient for the one camera focused on that dead horse was the only one that didn’t work… I smell a cover up…


  13. was this kept under wraps for so long. Who would pay for such a study except the lame brains supporting slaughter. I too thought that A & M was a good school. How much more goes on there that we don’t know about?
    There is NO WAY TO TRANSPORT AND THERE SHOULD BE NO HORSE SLAUGHTER. What a waste of about researching something that has merit. Its too bad it took this long to expose the misery. I pray for the one who was deceased..They should all go to hell for their contempt against our equines friends.


  14. Margaret, THANK YOU for the report. Dean Bolstead was there? I remember reading this:
    BLM spokesman Tom Gory said the agency has taken a “hands-off” approach to the committee’s review.


  15. R.T. when you get done there, come on back over to HORSEBACK and have a little talk with “Joe”. The comments have gone up to 34 and were still hashing it out:

    Louie Cocroft on October 25, 2011 at 8:24 pm
    From GOLDEN DAYS website:
    These videos are interviews of a horse killer, who for decades, bought and shipped horses to slaughter for human consumption. He and his associates also rounded up Wild Horses for slaughter.
    After leaving the business, his conclusion was that the entire industry was inhumane, cruel, lacking in transparency and with a profit margin was so small that it could never be regulated to be humane by any standards.That this was a
    business that was good for neither people nor horses

    Joe on October 27, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Louie Cocroft

    Your articles that you posted are very old and only represent maybe 1% of the industry. I will not disagree that there are still maybe only a very few dealers that may handle livestock like this. The industry like every industry needs to get rid of the bad apples, not the whole barrel. There have been a lot of changes since this person was at the top of his game. Was this interview in exchange for a lesser fine or sentence?

    I like 99% of the people want humane laws for handling livestock, both in raising and transportation. Stopping horse slaughter should by now be very clear to all of them that stopped hose slaughter. Just go to
    You can see a lot of examples of what has happened to the horses since the plants were forced to close.

    Just what is your solution and will you help pay for them? All I have seen is a lot of whining and no solution.Most if not all of the ideas from anti people only cause the horses more suffering.


  16. If these students are our future vets then I am doubly disgusted! They seem to have no empathy or feelings of concern nor an animal husbandry instincts WHATSOEVER. I would not trust them to care for any of my animals.


  17. “neither of the graduate students in veterinary medicine hesitated when the decision was made to load this horse.”

    This is a VERY sad commentary on these two budding veterinary students at Texas A & M. I agree with Sonora Winds that if this is the attitude and mentality that vet schools allow in their institutions of higher learning, it connotes a society that has no compassion, no dignity and no regard for horses.

    I can’t help but recall the use of a cattle prod on a wild horse by a veterinarian at a BLM short-term holding facility. Another example of someone who lacks insight, understanding and compassion about horses.

    What are we doing? And, where are we as a society going? The answers are chilling and bring man back to dark times.


    • I totally agree with you Ann. What kind of people are being trained as vets at this institution of higher education? Is there a course on humane treatment of animals or animal rights? It shocked me to read how unconcerned these students were for those horses. Something is terribly wrong there.


  18. Anyone remember reading about a study by a college in some plains state that was researching the effects of vet chem euth, burying and water contamination? This was about 2-3 years ago, maybe Nebraska, Missouri or Kansas?

    It was an attempt to show the dangers of vet chem euth and was very proslaughter in genesis, funding, etc.

    These vet schools are AVMA/AAEP/USDA drones.


  19. There are many cores to stop the horrible treatment of horses, so many that groups must be formed to address every and every core , we have so many experts here to direct this all out single group organization, this is the way to end our awesome horses suffering……………. we can not run around willy nilly trying to get every core without organization,…………… groups of experts on each core will get it done !!!!! We cannot waste time this needs all out pressure and we certainly know how to do that , we just need to ORGANIZE the experts here in each core . ………………


  20. BTW, the story has terminology either from SFTHH or AA that uses the term, “horse trailer”. This is NOT a horse trailer…it is a STOCK trailer….way, way different.


    • They have not a clue , they cannot distinguish between stock trailer and a horse trailer…….What the heck kind of SCHOOL IS THIS , they should be ashamed of themselves……………………………


  21. You people DO realize this 4 year old study is from the College of Agriculture and NOT the Vet School, yet everyone is railing against the College of Veterinary Medicine. Please read carefully and stop mis-directing your anger against the wrong people.


    • Sorry for the mistake , but maybe your Veterinary School should know what is going on in the Ag. Dept… would they approve????? All is not lost here !!!!!


      • It’s not “My” vet school. just trying to bring a little reality into a discussion. when you attack the very people who are dedicated to helping animals, you loose all credibility. This Fitch guy started this and probably will not ever admit he made a mistake, or apologize, or even acknowledge it – the way of fanatics and mobs.

        you diminish the power of any argument you make by missing the point the target and the facts. THEN never admitting the mistake and keep driving the wrong bus down the wrong street.


      • Arlene, the Colleges of Vetmed and Agriculture are allied, but they are not the same thing. It is impossible for both colleges to keep track of what the other is doing on a daily basis. It’s kind of like the committees in congress…you may know what’s going on generally but you don’t know the specifics.


    • And just exactly, WHERE do the students for the school of vet medicine come from??????????? Last I checked, they come from the undergraduate school of Agriculture; pre-vet and or production (animal science) options….NOT the liberal arts department.

      And I will repeat, vet schools are highly influenced by the AVMA and USDA AND lobbying interests because of donations, grants, etc….Uhhhh, yeah, undergrad/grad…that is your vet school.


      • Denise, I didn’t come from the college of Agriculture. I studied biology at the University of Texas. Most of my class didn’t come from the college of Ag either. And the USDA and the AVMA do NOT support veterinary schools. At this point, state and federal funding for all vet schools has been discontinued.
        Researchers get grants through either the government or private organizations, but it has nothing to do with the lobbying process.


      • BTW, how many vet schools you got in TX? Where are they?

        AVMA and USDA aren’t involved???? What planet you living on?

        Last I checked Dr Lenz is involved with 2 groups that lobby on a regular basis and influences much in TX and at Fed level.


      • My clients know that I am a great veterinarian that takes the best care of their pets within the means of what they can provide. I’m pretty sure they would be supportive of people trying to make the end of life journey for horses better.


  22. Dear Arlene:

    Thank you for expressing your support for legislation that would prohibit the slaughter of horses for food.

    During the 110th Congress, I was an original co-sponsor of S.311, a bill to amend the Horse Protection Act to prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses to be slaughtered for human consumption. This legislation has been re-introduced in the 112th Congress as S.1176, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.

    Should S.1176 come before the Senate for a vote, I will keep your support in mind. Thank you again for being in touch with my office.


    Sherrod Brown
    United States Senator


    • You have one of the best senators in the country. Him and Bernie Sanders. And Rep Jim Moran. These are some of the good guys.


      • And I am proud to say my 2 NY Senators, Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer were also original co-sponsors on June 9. We have 24 co-sponsors so far and we need more.


  23. We should all know who the good guys are , would love to see a list of them……..posted………………….It would be great for elections………………..


  24. Horse Slaughter is inhumane no matter how anyone tries to Justify it , it will cannot ever be humane no matter what it is broken and cannot be fixed, it is a more than horrific way for a horse to die……………. There is no justification for it………………… needs to be ended forever, …………… The horse has throughout History have been our illustrious ally who never questions us to the why when it comes to giving their services, is this your idea of a Thank You to them…..??????? Education has Failed you if so…………..


  25. It is known that a horses skin is so sensitive that a mire fly landing anywhere on his body will cause a reaction from his skin, so what do you think he feels when being slit from stem to stern by a knife while he is still alive????????? SLAUGHTER HOUSES WERE NEVER SET UP FOR HORSE SLAUGHTER NONE OF THEIR MEANS ARE HUMANE TO THEM…………………………OR WILL THEY EVER BE…………………..


  26. I don’t get it. Why send injuried, sick, or old horses to slaughter period? Why can’t a vet be a vet and put these animals out of their suffering. Hauling them all this way just to kill them…… It’s bad enough that they were already in the crippled pen and then to put them on a truck for 18 hours. I say it’s inhumane and cruel. I don’t care if they did have cameras, equipment, etc. to monitor them. What for???? Is this to tell them how much more suffering they can take before they have to die? What is wrong with this picture? Sick, Sick Sick, I thought horse slaugther is or was supposed to be baned. Isn’t this one of the bills we are trying to get Congress to vote against? I guess I must be suffering from information overload.


    Owner assistance program capable of rescuing 1000s of horses this winter
    Posted on Oct 27, 2011 by Vivian Grant

    National Equine Resource Network Press Release
    By Shirley Puga
    (October 27, 2011) — A pilot horse owner assistance program operated last winter by three independent nonprofit equine rescue sanctuaries in the Pacific Northwest had a 100 percent success rate in keeping horses in safe homes with financially struggling but committed owners and is ready to be expanded nationwide.
    Project Safety Net for Horses has the potential of saving literally thousands of horses from neglect, abandonment, premature euthanasia or the brutality of equine slaughter for a minimal investment per animal, according to Allen Warren of the Horse Harbor Foundation (HHF), who developed and implemented the innovative program along with two other horse rescuers, Sara Penhallogen and Janean Doezal…..


  28. There are many unwanted horses in this country. Though I do not condone packing them tight into trailers, not supplying water, etc, I do feel that slaughter is a better alternative than slowly starving to death. Or dying from a treatable disease because an owner can’t afford it or there isn’t a vet available to diagnose it (since there is an emmense shortage of large animal vets). Seems obvious to me that the less healthy horses would be the ones going to slaughter. If you own a bunch of horses and need to cut your numbers, can’t find buyers, and know that some aren’t healthy, slaughter has been a viable, humane option.
    Different countries eat different meats. There are many vegetarians in this country that don’t think humans should eat beef or chicken or pork. Why is it so different for horses? I believe every animal deserves a good quality of life, up until the point of death, whether it is 18 months or 18 weeks.
    Accidents happen, mistakes happen with the best made plans.
    I received my veterinary education from Texas A & M and I still believe anyone close enough to bring their animals there is lucky! Those hospitals have an amazing staff and teach an incredible level of medicine. The entire program should not be bashed for a (possibly big) mistake of a few individuals.


    • Please stop saying slaughter is humane. It is as far from humane as you can get. Maybe you mean it is humane for the owner so they can get out of taking care of sentinent creatures under their care and pocket some money in the process. I know you all think if you repeat often enough that slaughter is humane, is will somehow magically be true. On no level is slaughter humane, from the trucking to the horrific and painful end.


      • So it is starvation or horse slaughter? The only 2 options? Always so interesting the pro-slaughter folks always bring the argument back to the simplistic starvation v. slaughter. They say the same about wild horses–there all starving out there. So intellectually disingenuous.


      • Well, there’s always being hit by trucks, disemboweled by wolves or other predators, being chased by a predator, breaking a leg and then being eaten, falling down a cliff and breaking their necks, etc, etc.

        Starvation is likely if a horse is left unattended, alone, in a pen.


  29. Anyone here paying attention to the A&M protectionists notice they never address the dead horse in the stock trailer???????

    Somebody get me a bat so I can get their attention (and yes, I’m being sarcastic).


    • Wow, you really are off base. I”m not a protectionist. I’m telling you all you have it wrong. The study was funded by the College of Agriculture, not the College of Vetmed, but you insist on taking down the CVM for it. Please get a bat. I’m sure that post won’t be removed either.

      And yes, the horse in the trailer is a TRAGEDY. If you want to work to end it, then do so. But I think until then, we need to work to make the whole thing MORE HUMANE.


      • And how exactly did this rocket science study make it more humane in the past few years? Right. That’s what I thought. It didn’t. Studies like this are funded for one reason and one reason only and the horses have nothing to do with it. It is funded by those who profit most from it.


      • The reason it didn’t is because no scientific conclusions were able to be drawn from the study for various reasons. That is no reason not to try to make the transport better if it has to occur.

        Yes, stopping horse slaughter would be ideal. It is simply not realistic.


    • Why is it that nature is always the bad guy to the pro slaughter aspect? Nature has shaped these wild horses and we have shaped the domestics. Animals killed by predators are dying in a ‘natural way’. Violent and natural. Even starvation and dying of thirst can and do happen in the wild and it may or may not be prevented by the interference of man. Life and death in the wild are things we must accept. When we do not and we want unnatural outcomes to natural wild animals then we throw off the balance of nature. It is a choice we have and we do act on.


      • Mar,
        I totally agree with you. If I were to ask my horses this afternoon, if they had their choice would they prefer to just lie down in the back pasture for a few weeks before slipping over to the rainbow bridge, or be sold at auction and resold and have to hang out with a bunch of sick horses they had never met before without getting proper food or water, then be jammed into a dark, dirty metal truck where it was either too cold or too hot and travel three or four more days without food or water where they could stand around in each other’s excrement, be bullied by stronger, bigger, meaner horses, and finally be unloaded in much weaker shape….would they mind listening for 48 hours or so of other horses crying out in fear and smelling blood every where, then led down a narrow shute where they could get stabbed with long narrow knives until half of their body collapsed underneath them and the other half fell forward, and as they died surrounded by human hacks, they got to watch the life flow out of them on the floor.

        What do you think the horses would say?

        Of course, I wouldn’t really ask my horses that because they are so good, generous, and kind, I hope they never know that the humans that they serve could end their lives so brutally. This one never will.

        Furthermore, it is not uncommon for the ill or the elderly to end their lives by gradually refusing to take nourishment or drink. They may or may not die from starvation, but weaken themselves to the point where pneumonia takes over.

        I am not advocating that anyone starve their animals. I have seen body scores of 2 maybe less, and it is ugly, but not nearly as ugly as slaughter.


      • We were told we are not qualified to speak for our horses! But we are qualified and we know they need us to help keep their lives decent. No one wants to betray a friend who we have cared for and trusts us thoroughly with their life!


  30. Huh?…I was just reading an interesting, but differing point of view on this blog and now the comments have been deleted.

    Wouldn’t you all cry foul if the Facebook page you have started attacking started deleting your posts? Guess it’s only okay to have an opinion if it’s the same as yours, huh??


  31. I don’t understand. You would rather a horse starve, be torn down by wolves, or hit by a truck than struck with a captive bolt by someone trained to do it. Honestly. That is crueler than the people who do horse slaughter.
    And in response, Lethie, disposing of a horse is not a small undertaking, and it can run into the thousands of dollars. So vets are just supposed to pay for that out of their own pocket?
    Arlene, you are being inflammatory. The captive bolt renders them unconscious and they have no sensation in their brain after that (when used properly). Yes horses’s skin is sensitive, but when their brain has no function, all you’re seeing is a reflex, which is an automatic response of the nervous system. There are other ways to check to make sure an animal is dead other than motor reflexes that can remain for up to several minutes after an animal has died.
    And if you think education has failed me, you’re wrong. Reality has failed you Arlene. I have been in a slaughter facility and it is better than being killed by any of the above methods in the first paragraph.

    I hope none of you that have horses fall on hard times…because you’ll probably end up letting them loose or letting them starve. And that’s real humane.

    The problem is not the slaughter–it’s the inability of people to care for the horses they have. So why don’t you focus on finding another solution to that problem instead of decrying one that exists, even though it’s far from perfect?


    • Restraining myself from using the “F” word, I will resort to….you are full of BS, don’t know what you are talking about and are perpetuating HCHS LIES.

      Mosey on over to the VEW website and get a morality, values education.


      • A veterinary education gives me the tools I need to assess this type of problem. I can’t help it if you don’t like the opinions I am offering. They’re not BS, they are ways to try to get this problem on the road to being solved. But I still think that a captive bolt is more humane than starving.

        Which one would you rather go through, just out of curiosity, if you had to choose between the two?


    • Do they use the captive bolt in Mexico? Is the captive bolt designed for cattle or equines? Is the horse still alive when the slaughter starts? Would I rather a horse be eaten by wolves or hit by a truck over a slaughterhouse? Yes. And I bet the horse would too.


      • If you aren’t a veterinarian and you aren’t a horse, I really don’t think you’re qualified to answer what a horse would prefer to do.

        And if the procedure is done right, yes they are dead. And they don’t feel a thing.


      • You aren’t. You have no idea how the nervous, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, or any other system in a horse works. Or how pain is transmitted and where it originates from. So yeah, unless you’re a horse or you’ve bothered to study these things, you aren’t qualified to make the decision as to what a horse would prefer.


    • I am sorry, but you are mistaken that the problem is people that can’t take care of their horses. The majority of horses that end up in slaughter come from the horse business. Why don’t you attack the problem from the source if you really care about these animals? Seems pretty “practical” to me to slow down the discarded waste product of these breeding and drug industries.


      • The problem “is” both breeding and the concept of the “throw away” horse. Starvation is not nor has been an issue but over breeding, particularly when there is money in it like with the AQHA, and the throw away horse racing industry (which we must tip our hats to them because they are beginning to wake up to the real driving force behind horse slaughter and are attempting to do something about it).

        But starvation vs slaughter has never been an issue. When law enforcement is called and a rescue assists on neglect/abuse cases the poor animals are so far gone that a kill buyer would never look twice at the horse nor would the slaughterhouse. From my personal experience of watching what was being brought into Dallas Crown was young, fat, quarter horses…beautiful animals, never a skinny but there were plenty of injures, most associated with cruel handling and sub-standard transport.

        Not all breeders are the bad guys but if the bulk of them could wrap their minds around the simple business concept of “supply and demand” America’s domestic horses would be in a much better place and the breeders would have more change in their pocket. It really is not rocket science.


      • That’s the thing–WHEN law enforcement is called. WHEN they can be botherd to do anything. What about when that doesn’t happen?

        Our humane association has had many calls about starving horses left for dead. I realize that the breeders and racehorses are another problem, but I am talking about the ones that are not in that category.


      • AQHA guilty disposing of perfectly wonder horses who they breed constantly , if the foals dont met their criteria they are sent to SLAUGHTER, they are the people who need to be stopped !!!!!!!! They keep maybe 1 out of a hundred, this is NOT acceptable !!!!!!and never will be………………..


    • Nature knows what it is doing !!!!!! Anytime man intervenes it is always a disaster Again Slaughter was never set up for horses, the captive bolt you speak of does not work on horses !!!!!!!!!!! But maybe for a second or two, God , I dont care what your education is but i have to believe that you have misinterpreted many fine points, slaughter will never be humane to believe it can be is non factual and unfounded by any account………….


    • If I fall on hard times, my horses will be returned to the rescue from which they came.

      If i did not have rescue horses, I would look for a rescue to take them. Rescues are fluid. They do not fill up and stay that way. A horse gets adopted out, another one can come in. Also, there are still lots of people buying horses.

      However, before I would sell my horse to slaughter, I would pay the vet the $225.00 to put it down, or if HSUS would help, then $150.00 to put it down.

      Pro-slaughter people act like having a horse euthanized is cost prohibitive. It shouldn’t be. Thousands of livestock die every year and their bodys are disposed of legally. There is one person licensed in this state, and I believe the owner of a dead horse pays somewhere between 100 to 200 dollars to have it removed after death.


    • We are attempting to keep flaming down, on both sides…particularly the calling out of individuals and name calling.

      The fact that your comment is here should be evidence of fair play…but we are not paid to sit over this and moderate conduct 24/7 so there is a hope that folks will moderate themselves.


      • RT, one of my friends was trying to comment on the differing opinions and the fact that this was good discourse and he was not allowed to. I realize it is not your job to do this 24/7, but when a post like this goes up, it is only natural to expect traffic from both sides.

        And I apologize for some of my earlier comments (some of the ones you deleted). They were completely over the top and out of line and I’ll do my best to try to advocate my position without being abusive. But it is hard when this is a subject close to my heart (animal suffering). I know you all think I’m not on the same side, but I am…I’m just approaching it from a different angle.


  32. Denise, they’re not full of denial and nonsense…they’re a logical and applied look at the problem at hand. I am looking at it from the practical aspect while you are looking from the emotional, which is fine. I would rather try to do something about this, the slaughter and the transport, than call people names who have differing opinions.
    And actually I do have knowledge of meat standards, inspections, and trailers…I’m certified by the USDA to write health certificates. Which is why I think if you’re looking to the USDA to make this situation better, you’re going to be looking for a long time…you should be working with veterinarians who want to achieve the same ends you do. Which is a lot of them.
    As a veterinarian, I’m also trained to look at the bigger picture, which is why the horse in the trailer was in my mind, not in my commentary. Because of him, hopefully people can be convinced that this is something that needs to be looked at and reformed. But the entire thing is big picture in the grand scope of things.

    It’s sad that you think I am part of the problem, because I think that you are alienating a lot of people who would otherwise be more than willing to support you.


    • It is sad that you, as a vet tote the big agri-biz party line.

      The simple question is….why are you not supporting vet chem or qualified knacker (gun shot) euth?….especially for sick, old equines?…with rendering, compost or burial.

      But you see, most equines to slaughter aren’t sick (although this study with others show many are sick).

      I am confident in my position. Truth will prevail. You do not have truth on your side,


      • I do not tote the Agri-biz party line…in fact, in many respects I am against that, but I don’t expect you to know that from the little interaction we’ve had here.

        I DO support chemical euthanasia (not gunshot unless done by a qualified professional) for old and sick horses with appropriate disposal. The problem is that is beyond some people’s means at this time.

        And actually, most equines that go to slaughter are not necessarily saleable for many reasons, and if the owner cannot find someone to buy the horse and cannot afford a proper euthanasia and disposal, what options are left? Turning them loose to starvation or slaughter.

        I am glad you are confident in your position. It will help you make a difference. We both have truth on our sides…and that’s the problem. You cannot see mine, which is fine. I can see yours, and I agree with it, but it isn’t feasible right now.


      • Can you freaking read AND comprehend????????

        Are you schizophrenic, bipolar or what? You are all over the map on this issue. I said “knacker”…you know what that means? Evidently not.

        An equine starving in the field has a chance at a life; an equine on a HCHS truck will not. You want to talk about stolen equines and the sloppy food reg laws for humans on this meat source????? Want to dig deeper and ask questions about imports/exports regulation and the lack of it.

        And NO…you are big denial and totin’/Joneszin re big ag.


      • I got a professional degree, so yes I can read and comprehend. Most people reading my posts would understand that. I don’t use slang terms, so deal with it. No, I am not all over the map on this, it’s incredibly simple.

        If someone can provide the means to euthanize and dispose of their horse than that is the best option. For those who cannot, a captive bolt is better than starvation. And a starving equine in the field being hunted by wolves has more chance of suffering than one that is struck by a captive bolt.

        I’m not saying there aren’t defects and humongous gaps in the regulation…but at this moment in time, all we can do is work to fix it and make it better for the horses who have to go the route of slaughter.

        I am not for “big ag”. You just don’t know me well enough to know it.

        I’m wondering if you can read and comprehend…I’ve asked you the same question twice and you still refuse to answer it, which makes me wonder if YOU aren’t willing to go through starvation as a means of death why it would be preferable for a horse?


      • Oh ka-rap!!! You are dense and non compostable.

        I am thru with you after this post.

        You are BIG ag. What questions? I told you, a starving horse in the field has a chance; a horse on the HCHS truck as none (and btw how does treating equines like trash and feeding poisonous food to humans make HCHS right?).

        Exactly where the h*ll is your outrage that equine owners are starving their equines in the first place?…where the he** is your outrage about sloppy animal management and peddling uninspected meat?…what about law enforcement NOT doing their job?

        ’nuff said….you are a not good vet….and I battle with the ones I use all the time, you sanctimonious piece of sad human.


      • You still didn’t answer the question, and you’ll be back because you can’t help yourself.

        I am not big ag. I am a small animal practitioner looking at the bigger picture. and I don’t even know what HCHS is, so I don’t have any idea what their propaganda is.

        And I told you that a horse alone in a field has a 100% chance of suffering, while a captive bolt has considerably less. The question is whether you would go through a captive bolt or starvation if you had to choose between the two.

        I AM outraged that people treat their horses this way, and I’ve actually participated in rescues with the HSUS of horses, alpacas, goats, dogs, cats, and sheep. I also visit the my local animal shelter weekly and donate my time to advise on sick animals. You just completely keep changing the subject to make it about me instead of about horse transport and slaughter and what can be done about it.

        I’ve also testified before our state government in support of a bill to help protect animals that was passed, but unfortunately, it has no teeth right now thanks to funding.

        I’m not sanctimonious–I have control over my emotions and I am articulate. There’s a difference.

        You wouldn’t know what a good vet it is unfortunately, because one is standing right in your face and you can’t even see it.

        At least I am doing something about it rather than talking trash about people who are doing something.


  33. Below is from the former Mayor of Kaufman, Texas where Dallas Crown was located. This was also the place that Texas A & M took their slaughter horses. Horse slaughter is a crappy business that no one in their right mind would want in the town where they live. We are better than this and as Americans we should live up to our culture and do what is right for an animal that has given us so much. Horse slaughter has been barbaric and wrong before the plants were closed here in the United States and still is today.

    Comments from Paula Bacon:
    My city was a doormat for horse slaughter with one of the last 3 horse slaughter plants operating in the US. They barraged us with 3 big problems– big environmental problems, stigmatizing the community and economic development–And the plant was a fiscal black hole, locally and beyond. As the mayor in 1986 said, “Quite frankly, we don’t want you here…. You’ve never made a dime for this city and you never will.” But thanks to their ability to outspend the city in order to continue operating no matter what, it took over 20 years to finally see them gone.

    A horse slaughter plant is unlike a cattle slaughter plant since horses have much, much more blood than cattle, and that blood cannot be hauled off to be used in fertilizer because of drug residues, The burden on infrastructure by a horse slaughter plant is extreme. Environmental problems are easily quantified – the plant was in constant violation of laws and a taxpayer-funded mandatory $6 million dollar upgrade imminent. Not just with my city but the other places with horse slaughter plants also had a long history of big federal, state and local environmental violations, not paying their fines, etc.

    BTW, horses in the U.S. commonly receive medications that are not intended for food animals and are known to cause blood disorders and cancer (even including horse aspirin called ‘bute’ [phenylbutazone] and several other regularly administered medications). Apparently the meat is not a good food choice and neither is it good for making fertilizer.

    Also unlike a cattle slaughter operation, a horse slaughter plant creates a hugely negative stigma—understandable since 75% of Americans do not support horse slaughter in this country. Developers declined further interest in this community after asking, “What are all those horse doing there?” and looked very surprised when told. “Not a good fit,” was generally the reason given for their lost interest.

    Fiscally, the plant never made the city a dime–WE paid. No sales tax, tiny property tax, Poor paying dangerous jobs, straining our hospital, housing stock and schools. And when their tax records were brought to light, they had paid a mere $5 in federal taxes on sales of $12,000,000. Tax returns for the previous five years showed their tax rate was 3/10 of 1%, which is like you or I paying $300 tax on an income of $100,000. The forensic accountant hired by the city said they sell to themselves overseas at a loss so that their profits only surface overseas.

    There are many other serious negative aspects to horse slaughter, like the inquiries from distraught horse owners about stolen horses or family pets bought at auction by the self named ‘kill buyers.’ And then there is the USDA document covering 11 months of 2005 and containing a staggering 906 pages of graphic photos that show what was happening to the horses at the plant in my city and in Fort Worth. Behind the privacy fences were unthinkable, grim violations of federal and state regulations, from mares birthing foals to horses with eyes dangling from their sockets and legs ripped from their bodies.

    It’s only Half Done—a GAO report says either make it legal or finish the job and make it illegal so the cruelty, irresponsible ownership and overbreeding are not supported by the safety net of horse slaughter on US soil or elsewhere. We need to pass the federal ban and be done with this ridiculously abusive and Un-American practice.


      • You have been arguing the entire post that it is a good option for those without money to euthanize their companion animals and a good option for starving horses. You also make it clear you have more compassion for the owners than the animals.


      • See above comments as to what I do to further humane animal treatment.

        I do the best patient care possible with the owner’s resources that are available. If you have no compassion for people who are in a tight spot, then I’m sure the favor will be returned someday.


      • I understand tight spots and things happen beyond our control but people should really be more responsible too! If you can’t afford an animal than do not get one in the first place. We are such a disposable society and many of the horses going to slaughter are from breeders that cull their animals.


      • Apparently she thinks it is compassionate to tell her clients to send their horses to slaughter if they are in a tough financial spot. I could have sworn that a vet’s compassion was supposed to cover the animal too, not just the human. But I didn’t go to vet school, so I might not be qualified to make that assumption that they are to do no harm or advise it.


  34. Most of the horses that go to slaughter were not given away free, they were just for sale. We have over 9,2 million horses (that was last time I checked, there is probably more at this time) in the United States and out of those horses around 1% go to slaughter. The number going to slaughter really is pretty small and all it would take is a few people being more responsible. I’ve personally been to many of export pens and to the feedlots and most of the horses going to slaughter are in great shape. I used to spend time up in Kaufman and the horses at that plant were beautiful. I’ve seen many that just had their bridle paths cut. These were someone’s horses that were simply bought buy the wrong people. Many times I hear from horse owners that say that are for horse slaughter but that they would never send their horse. If it is so great and humane, why not? Why is it OK for some horses and not your own?

    Poll after poll has shown that Americans are against the slaughter of horses. We ride them, we don’t eat them. My culture is important to me and eating horses is as acceptable as eating dogs and cats.


    VEW White Paper

    Horse Slaughter –
    Its Ethical Impact and Subsequent Response of the Veterinary Profession

    A White Paper

    Prepared by
    Veterinarians for Equine Welfare

    Veterinarians for Equine Welfare (VEW) is a group of veterinarians committed to equine welfare, and as such we support measures to end horse slaughter including passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (S. 1176). We are concerned about misinformation being transmitted to Congress and the broader public regarding horse slaughter. VEW believes that certain veterinary professional associations that are actively promoting horse slaughter are undermining our profession’s integrity and the welfare of the horses we care for. In so doing these organizations, of which many of us are members, erroneously purport to speak for our entire profession. Veterinarians should put animal welfare at the top of their list of priorities, not relegate it to an also-ran concern.


    • Thank You Louie for that post !!! It should clear up any misconceptions…….by those who think they know…………………….Just because you have a diploma from veterinary school doesnt mean you can apply it properly…………. Most important is to address it with a compassion it so well deserves, not all professional can do this, it has to come from within, either it is there or not, no education can also teach you that ………..


    • I’m glad to see that there is diversity in the veterinarian community and that some can see what is fundamentally wrong with horse slaughter. I was not aware of what sending a horse to the glue factory meant until the issue of the Texas slaughter plants came up in 2005.

      I was new to horses and figured my horse would die in my field (which she did) and I would bury her there (which I did). I NEVER planned to ship her to the glue factory anyway. She was about 20 when I got her and 30 when she died. Couldn’t ask for a better horse as a first horse. She taught me everything I know, even after I couldn’t ride her because of her arthritis, we spend many hours together.

      Anti-slaughter people are often criticized for their “emotional” involvement with this issue. Thankfully there are still people who know that inflicting pain and suffering on living things, creating environmental disasters in communities and dehumanizing workers who do the slaughtering (all documented in USDA video records) have a gut reaction that tells them this is WRONG and that no amount of dollar signs can erase that fundamental truth.


  36. I think we need to hit the Asian media. The Japanese take health far more seriously that we do. They wear surgical masks if they get a cold to keep them from spreading germs. They also have a very high level of personal honor. In fact, men and women share the same restrooms—you are on your honor to keep your eyes down.

    Also, Japan has a 15% higher rate of aplastic anemia than we do.


  37. The only argument we need to stop slaughter is this. The meat is contaminated. It is unsafe for human consumption. Our government knows it; we know it. Yet, we have such total contempt and utter disregard for human life, the USDA turns a blind eye to this. We know who is leading the effort in Congress to make the slaughter of US horses legal in the US, and we know some of the people who oppose it. We also know that the AAEP and AVMA as well as the USDA are complicit in the sale of contaminated meat that causes debilitating illness and death in sensitive individuals. By failing to fulfill their various roles, the US Senate, the US House, the USDA, the AAEP, the AVMA, are complicit in creating conditions for our fellow citizens of the world to get sick and die.

    US horse meat is not healthy and nutritious; it is a ticking time bomb in any body that consumes it.

    This is why horse slaughter should be banned tomorrow.


      • First off I wonder what kind of parents could raise such cruel people. It makes me wonder if they could be serial killers in the making. Secondly, if you are cruel enough to eat horse meat you deserve the complications that come from doing so. Kharma is thy name.




  39. It is impossible to make horse slaughter humane. Pairing the word humane with the word slaughter is ridiculous. No such thing.


  40. Well you know we as Americans we give inmates a last meal before they face their last minutes so a last drink of water to the poor horse’s that are on their last ride what is it going to hurt .Yes I’m highly against slaughter of horse’s I think the people that are doing this will face their own mistakes when everything is said and done that God made horse’s as he did man so what they do will come back around in the long run….Amen


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