Horse News

Horse Meat In Human Food Chain Causes Health Concerns

Source: WBZ-TV Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve

“We ought to stop this practice and protect these horses, and protect the American people, and other consumers around the world,”

BOSTON (CBS) – The practice of slaughtering race horses is considered inhumane by animal rights groups. There is also a growing health concern for people, as horse meat shows up in the human food chain.

A retired race horse often doesn’t have many options according to Tawnee Preisner of Horse Plus Rescue. “If they’re lucky, they go to a person who wants them and who will retrain them, but most of the time they go to slaughter,” she says.

That can mean a long and grueling trip to Canada or Mexico, because the last slaughter facility in the United States closed six years ago.

“The way in which they are transported to slaughter is inhumane,” according to Dr. Nicholas Dodman of the Tufts Veterinary School. “There are rules for example that they should not be transported in double-decker transporters and not crushed in, and none of those rules are policed.”

By one estimate, 160,000 American horses shared this fate last year, ending up in the human food chain.

Steven O’Toole, General Manager of the Plainridge Track in Plainville, told WBZ no horse leaves his premises for any type of slaughter situation. He added that Massachusetts race tracks were the first to prohibit trainers from sending horses to slaughter.

Although Plainridge has stiff penalties if they find a horse was auctioned to a so called “Kill Buyer,” O’Toole admits it’s not foolproof. “At some point a horse that races with us might end up in a slaughter situation because some will fall through the cracks.”

Nationally, preventing slaughter is even harder to police. A track employee from out West wouldn’t reveal her identity as she said, “It happens quite frequently. . . I think people just want to get rid of the horse anyway they can, and if they can make some money on it, all the better.”

There’s also a real health concern here. Race horses can be given all kinds of drugs in their lifetime, and that is not something that you want going from stable to table.

Dr. Dodman has studied the presence of drugs like phenylbutazone, or ‘bute’, in horsemeat. “It does bad things to your bone marrow. You really don’t want to consume it. The FDA knows that. They banned it for human consumption, and it is banned for use in animals intended for human consumption, but it is used like water in horses.”

In a global economy, Dr. Dodman worries that meat slaughtered in Canada or Mexico could circle back to the United States, particularly because it is cheaper than beef…(CONTINUED)

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14 replies »

      • It is incredible sad that we cannot get our neighbors and friends to see how cruelly our horses and burros are treated when being slaughtered. You would think that this practice alone would make people get up and scream about it, but yet, nothing. The only way to truly get their attention is to tell them the horrors of eating this tainted meat and the consequences from doing so. How about this description: Picture a 1100 lb dog, going into a box, whining the entire time because of being scared, then because they are so terrified, they are constantly moving their heads while being hit by a tool (that is meant to kill a stationary animal) upwards of 10 to 20 times in order to finally put an end to that animal’s life? What do you think? Do you think we would all help stop this then, that is, if it was a Dog?


  1. Unfortunately, the current series of screw ups by the Obama Administration, the Mexican stand-off in Congress and the terrorist/murder trial de Jour (or would that be the minute) side track the attention we need regarding many issues.

    I, however can multitask….I wish the Obama Administration and Congress would.

    Mr Prez needs to shake up and/or fire people left and right. He can start with Eric Holder. Holder should have been fired a LONG time ago for many reasons.

    These people, I won’t call them leaders are chewing up precious time for our equines and humans.


  2. That was a very well presented piece. It should be shown throughout the nation. It is time for President Obama to put an end to this before it causes more problems and disgraces us in the eyes of other countries around the world. Then he needs to make some serious changes in his administration and start cleaning up the corruption and mess in Congress.


    • Good article!! Thank you Boston, Joe and CBS !

      The 3rd paragraph needs a little tweak, “….long trip to Mex/Can…bla, bla…cuz US SH’s closed 6yrs ago”. This one is opening up the “do it here” brain less commenting flood gates.

      As we are all aware, it was just as grueling, long, inhumane, horrific and cruel prior to the ’07 closings in the US.


  3. PLEASE, go read this awful article and leave comments, as many as you can.

    I can’t remember the video, but one was posted here the other day about the PR and lobbyists on the pro-slaughter side, and how we have to start speaking up and making our own comments. There are so many ignorant, dumb stupid people out there. And Dave Duquette is giving them links to this kind of article on his facebook page (that’s where I got it, I stalk him.)


  4. I am so glad my local news station has done this story. Joe Shortsleeve is great, and I think he did a good job…for the most part. It’s a start anyway in bringing this issue to light. So many people haven’t a clue about horse slaughter, I am happy to see a well-done story on the issue.


  5. It is amazing how many people are unaware or don’t want to hear it .Anyone with a conscious or is not a vegetarian should take notice !


  6. Theres is a radio personality here in the Bay Area that breeds and races horses. His culls get sent to auction. He uses slaughter as a dumping ground. With no thought to what’s he’s putting into the food chain.


  7. Thank you for a great exposé!
    The party line that horse slaughter is euthanasia should be exposed finally for the lie it is. I learned if horse slaughter when a friend gave her daughters horse to someone that assured her his daughter would love to ride & if things changed- would bring Milly back. It was months later she learned that it was a lie he told often and beloved. Milly was processed at a slaughter plant. She was no different than the family dog and the thought that someone would try and bolt her (how many times) & eviscerate her (probably alive) is something we have all relived hundreds of times in our heads. All this agony, for meat illegal to sell in the US and destined fir the EU,where they are told the animals live in fields with no chemicals and humanely euthanized. It’s ALL lies.
    They suffer and so do we when we realize what has happened – for what – a hundred dollars? Fifty???
    We should be ashamed!


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