Horse Health

Slaughterhouses In U.S. No Help To Horses’ Plight


Advocating horse slaughter as the answer to the “unwanted” horse problem is like closing the barn door after the horse has been gone for days!

Anti-Horse/Pro-Slaughter Mentality

Many horse slaughter supporters cite the GAO Horse Welfare Report in their quest for reopening horse slaughter plants in the United States. … The GAO failed to address the issue of food safety concerns raised by the consumption of American horses.

Horses in the United States are not raised or regulated as food animals and are given drugs and chemicals during their lifetime that are permanently banned substances in food animals.

In December 2010, the European Union released a report on how well slaughter plants were implementing the recommendations of a 2008 audit. They found several banned substances in U.S. horses – and they also discovered that the accompanying paperwork was falsified.

A major omission in the GAO report is a failure to mention the substantial costs to local communities from environmental devastation, potential loss of tourism, businesses choosing to relocate to other areas and the use of government and other resources with virtually no tax revenues from the plants. The GAO claimed that the U.S. economy lost $65 million as a result of the 2007 closures of slaughter plants when all revenue from overseas sales went to the foreign plant owners.

There is abundant, well-documented evidence that violations have occurred for decades as a result of transporting horses to slaughter, at auction houses, at feedlots and at slaughter plants when plants were open in the United States, and they are still occurring as horses are shipped over the borders to slaughter.

It is a convenient lapse of memory for horse slaughter proponents to claim that horses would be more humanely slaughtered in U.S. slaughter plants because they are better regulated. Horse slaughter is inhumane and laxly regulated no matter where it occurs.

As for Caren Cowan’s allegations that the closing of horse slaughter plants in the United States has resulted in many “unwanted” horses along the borders, one only has to look at the six-month investigation by Equine Welfare Alliance, which determined that the source of the 5,000 or more abandoned horses per year in the Southwest is the result of being rejected for slaughter at the Mexican border.

The abandoned horses along the border were rejected for slaughter because of health problems, advanced pregnancy and injuries and were left to die in the desert. The horse slaughter lobby had suggested that these horses were abandoned because individuals no longer had a slaughter option. In fact, just the opposite is true; they were abandoned because slaughter is still an option.

The GAO report did state that Congress may wish to consider a permanent ban on horse slaughter. This statement is largely ignored by horse slaughter proponents because it would mean they would have to take a proactive approach rather than just disposing of horses or expecting horse rescues to pick up their slack.

Advocating horse slaughter as the answer to the “unwanted” horse problem is like closing the barn door after the horse has been gone for days. The horse industry makes their money off live horses; maybe it is time for them to step up to the plate and start acting like they matter.

An analysis of the GAO report on horse welfare can be read at

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18 replies »

  1. R.T. Fitch….once again, you tell NO lies! Horse slaughter does NOT help horses, individuals, businesses, or communities. It only destroys that which it ‘claims’ to help!

    The ONLY ones, slaughtering horses helps is, the Belgian company that backs and promotes it, and the owners of such a plant.

    I sure hope the nation wakes up and smells the smoke of this smouldering fire, before it burns down the whole forest!


    • Hey Shelly, this is a letter to the editor of the Albuquerque Journal that I felt was valid to share, here, as it was written by another All American Tax Payer…you know, one of those 80 percenters, just like you and me.


  2. Wanted to share this story !!!
    Woman Saves Newborn Foal from Stomping Wild Stallion

    by Laura Simpson
    June 17, 2012
    11:30 pm

    67 comments Woman Saves Newborn Foal from Stomping Wild Stallion

    Text Size: A | A | A | A

    Written by Lynn Paterson of Britsh Columbia, Canada

    Two weeks ago, I was wandering around my yard with my tea in hand when something moving caught my eye just outside my back fence. It was a newborn foal, still unable to stand without toppling over. I looked around, and found no mom. A few of the wild herd males watched from a distance. I kept talking quietly to him and took pictures. Eventually a big stallion came over and pushed and nudged the little guy for a while, trying make him leave the placenta on the ground, but baby was staying close to the smell of mom.

    Guess his papa decided it was best to kill him than leave him to die a slow death — these are wild ponies, after all. So, much to my horror, the big horse grabed the baby horse by the shoulders and snapped him around hard, trying to break his neck. Standing beside a pile of cut branches and behind a chain link fence I might add, I grabbed a long branch and screaming and cussing my head off, I whipped the huge stallion and, probably only because he had a poor grip on baby, the baby went flying away and flopped on the ground. I thought he was dead. The big horse swung back around and tried to stomp baby, so I whipped at him again to run him off. It worked and he and the waiting herd thundered off into the hills and I never did see mom.

    The baby was not dead, but he was shivering and bleeding and going into shock. So I kept talking to him, thinking he was dying. Suddenly his whole body jerked hard and he stumbled to his feet and tossed his little head. Well, now I was in tears! How could I not do everything possible to help this tough little guy? I Googled “wild horse” and found a breeder up on Wild Horse Mountain Rd in Summerland, British Columbia. Her name is Shelly White…and she’s my hero.

    This sweet scene turned violent quickly.
    This sweet scene turned violent quickly.

    Right after the attack.
    Right after the attack.

    Rocky received veterinary care for his injuries.
    Rocky received veterinary care for his injuries.

    In less than an hour, Shelly and her friend Lorraine arrived with a horse trailer, soft ropes and salve for his belly button, and they rescued the baby horse. He is now guzzling goat’s milk like crazy. Shelly’s nursing mare at the ranch is slowly but surely warming up to the little foal, so hopefully he will soon be nursing from her.

    The foal, now named “Rocky Fortune,” has had his first visit to the vet, and had his plasma IV to jump start his immune system. He did not need stitches in his nasty shoulder wound; ointments and gauze wrap seemed to be be enough for now. Shelly says Rocky is already looking better and has grown and filled out in such a short time. Thank you God and Shelly for giving this baby a chance at life. See the rest of the photos

    Read more:


    • This is very sad that a stallion nearly killed the foal; but as with many wild animals, we don’t know why this happened. I heard Karen Sussman from SD who observes undisturbed wild horse herds and compares their behavior to a herd that is “managed” by BLM. The undisturbed horses act totally differently according to Karen. For instance, mares have their foals later, e.g. first at 6 years versus earlier; mares do not leave their foals; mares find water and forage, but the stallion who is usually older leads his family to it based on hierarchy. The stallion is tender with his foals and is trusted. Fillies/colts follow directives of older horses even from other families. Karen told of a young filly who strayed away from her family, and the bachelors were quite interested in her. Seeing that, an older stallion chased the filly back to her own family where she stayed until she was ready to mate years later. Bachelor stallions aren’t allowed to mate.

      Horse societies take time to create and if BLM “manages” them, they are torn apart just like any wild animals not dependent on humans. They are traumatized, their society and learning is broken.


    • Very moving story and so glad the foal was rescued. You acted valiantly, Arlene, and showed you care. Inspirational! Craig. PS. I heard the Moran amendment passed!


  3. Thank you RT for posting this letter and links. Posted above re the GAO and U.S. economy loss of 65 million due to closing U.S. horse slaughter plants. I have come across this in several articles on the benefits of horse slaughter in the U.S and the loss of money due to closure. Last week I read the U.S. Government loses “45 million annually ” by U.S. closure. I thought I was missing something BIG here, as for years I assumed the U.S. government/economy made ZERO $$$ from horse slaughter. Foreign companies make the Big Bucks, in the billions, from U.S. horse slaughter. Am I missing something here? For I know the GAO is “misinforming,” throughout the report, however, to say the U.S. economy lost “65 million as a result of the 2007 closure…” is Big Time, *unlawful, even criminal, reporting by a government agency. Then to end with, “Congress may wish to consider a permanent ban on horse slaughter.” If so, GAO, what about all the so-called money the government/economy is losing by NO horse slaughter in the U.S. (BTW, somehow I seem to recall the GAO had close ties with the DOI/Salazar?) Anyone, please help. Am I not comprehending, not understanding something here re the GAO and money statements? . For it is totally bind-boggling. Thank you.


  4. “Horse slaughter is inhumane and laxly regulated no matter where it occurs.” Ding ding ding we have a winner! Thanks for articulating RT.


  5. I can just see more horses being saughter,if this law passes. you will see some horse owners taking horses to slaughter just because they can’t sell them any other way!! I can also see people going to Craiglist and getting horse off that sight that are “free” and take them to slaughter just to make a quick buck!!! I pray this doesn’t happen!!!!! I know I will never touch horse meat if I see it in the stores!!!! Horses I know are raised just for slaughter like in Europe. We are not like Europe!!! We don’t slaughters horses for their meat here in the USA or slaughter them to have the meat shipped to Japan and Europe!!!! When are people going to learn horses are not meant for this or deserve this!!! This needs to be stopped and the letting horses be shipped to slaughter in Canada and Mexico!! This is so appauling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  6. Why is it that polls showing numbers above 80% representing Americans who are AGAINST slaughterhouses being reopened in the country are seemingly not worth the time or paper used to conduct these polls? Besides all the reasons why European countries no longer WANT horse meat from the US due to fraudulent paperwork and drugs found in the animals time after time, we have the BLM “warehousing in long term facilities” OUR wild horses that they are ripping off OUR PUBLIC LANDS, and costing US some $67 MILLION in tax dollars. Seems that there’s more wars within this country than outside it: the war is directly aimed at both ANIMALS’ and WOMEN’s rights to be here! And we are continually finding out that information being put out there is false! Since when did “80%” of anything not constitute a majority in this country?


    • Dear Jade22/ that is exactly it .80% say no no no, and they just keep it up like they never heard that ??????? Maybe they need to be reminded Majority rules, and the majority says no HORSE SLAUGHTER ,,, nothing hard or complex about that !!!!!


  7. Hard to believe that Sue Wallis actually butchered her horse, disemboweled it and crawled inside the carcass to be photographed by her boyfriend. This woman is psycho, and Wyoming votes for her?


  8. Do I dare bother, R.T. Fitch; you hate my guts already?
    Different headliner title, same opinion; which is why you won’t print it.

    None of us prefer the sentencing to death or slaughter of any animal, regardless of the species; but, the reality of it all is, that we need horse slaughter houses as a practical alternative and solution to govern the horse population. Public Laws forbid burying a horse on your own property these days because of possible contamination of water sources and supplies; so, what’s the practical alternative or solution? I agree that the need of unnecessary suffering needs to be resolved in all slaughter houses, regardless of species . . . cow, pig, chicken, etc. As for horse meat for human consumption, if it is untainted and USDA inspected, it is an excellent source of meat protein and an alternative to beef, pork, poultry, and other human-grade meat sources. If that is too hard for the U.S. human meat industry to consider, use horse meat for carnivorous animal food diets, just as other animal sources are used. The horse industry has crashed since the close of horse slaughter houses, and reopening of the horse slaughter houses is the only resolution to the over population of horses in the U.S. Do you really think that hunter’s get the shot exactly right for an instant kill every time, or slashing the throats of cows and pigs is a quick death, or wringing the necks or cutting-off the heads of chickens is instantaneous demise? Sit-back and give serious thought to all animal slaughter solutions, not just that of horses; if you’re going to sympathize with one species of animal, sympathize with them all; but the end result and reality-check has been the same for thousands of years of animal slaughter for human and animal consumption. Citizens within the U.S. need to ban together and offer better solutions to the overall humane slaughter of animals for whatever the meat by-product use is and not the concentration of one species.


    • GEMO, you don’t sentence an animal to death by slaughter. Slaughter is not a disposal option, an alternative or for population control. It serves once purpose and that is for food production. Only animals that were raised and regulated as food animals should enter the food chain. We have had horse slaughter for decades and it has never controlled the population.

      No, the horse industry didn’t crash as a result of the plant closures. It crashed as did everything else in the US at the end of 2008 when the economy crashed. Slaughter never ended nor decreased so there is no cause and effect.

      Pigs, chickens, cows and sheep are raised as food animals. In the US, horses are not. There is no traceability and no way to ensure food safety. US horses are raised for many purposes, none of them being food animals. The horse industry does not produce meat. Our meat industry has enough issues and doesn’t need a further black eye by taking on a non-food animal and peddling toxic meat – not to mention the millions it will cost tax payers for a passport system, inspections, waste water clean-up, litigation to get the plants to pay their fines, law enforcement and the immense cost to fix a broken, non-existent transport program.

      BTW-your comments probably weren’t posted because you copy and paste the same post all over the internet. When challenged, you never respond.


  9. I wouldn’t be surprised if they found banned substances in horses. Most of these horses are work horses, racing horses not horses bred for their meat.


  10. If there are truly horses in this “great country” of ours that can not find forever homes, no one wants them, are too gravely ill or injured to recover, too traumatized or fearful to be re-homed, adopted or trained, if there is no other option available, then humane euthanasia IS “the answer”, & AFFORDABLE euthanasia, cremation, &/or removal/burial, MUST be made available. Slaughtering horses because of the above mentioned reasons, or just because there’s too many, “excess, unwanted” horses, is NOT acceptable! No animal whether destined for food, or not, should ever be treated cruelly, abused, or traumatized by horrific slaughter. All animals deserve humane, painless treatment. Horses in the United States of America are NOT “food animals”. If any must die, let it not be by slaughter, &, most certainly NOT for food. If people can build & run equine slaughter houses, & pay employees to do that horrid “work”, & have ALL profits going to the foreigners, then there is NO reason that equine shelters can’t be built & run, & unadoptable horses could at least have peaceful deaths versus horrific slaughter! Why can’t we build more no-kill equine shelters/sanctuaries, like Best Friends?? All of it costs money, life costs money, why spend it on destroying other lives? I don’t get what the pro-slaughter people don’t understand, how they can’t see the other side, how they are so close-minded. People who are for horse slaughter need to go visit one in person, or at least watch detailed videos. Talk to people living in communities that used to have such places, ask them about the smells, the sounds, the environmental pollution!


  11. And once again its on. The necessary evil and all that rhetoric raises its ugly head again. Don’t people EVER learn? People in this country are brain dead I think. I hope congress strips the meat inspection out of the Ag bill again. And I hope that the horse slaughter prevention act passes. Moreover the latter because that’s the only protection we have for our horses.


  12. Excellent refutation of the pro horse slaughter, RT. You succinctly raised several undeniable points. heard Moran Amendment passed so no inspection for horse slaughter in US. Good news if so.


    • Yes, i heard The Moran Amendment was up held, and passed great news, does it need to go somewhere else also?????


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