Horse News

Brave or Brutal? Arrogant or Ignorant? Princess Anne Calls for More Debate on Horse Slaughter’s Role in Welfare of All Horses

Commentary by Fran Jurga as published in Equus

The conversation she is asking for is still taboo enough to be spoken only in hushed tones or in redactable memos…

A few weeks ago, she was the darling of The Jurga Report. Readers and Facebook friends were touched by Great Britain’s Princess Anne’s recent decision to source her new riding horse from the collection of adoptables housed at a rehoming center run by World Horse Welfare.

She was the royal face for Doing What’s Right in the horse world. This week, many think she’s turned her back on welfare ethics with a call to debate the place of horse slaughter in the bigger picture of neglected and unwanted horses.

Princess Anne was talking about Great Britain and Europe, but her comments are sure to be quoted around the world. What’s interesting is the way that people are reacting to her comments, made when conducting the keynote address at the annual conference of World Horse Welfare (WHW) in London on Thursday.

You might have to watch that video clip more than once to understand the context. Should a member of the royal family be so outspoken on such a hot-button issue? Should a high-profile horsewoman be saying such things? And as the president of World Horse Welfare, shouldn’t she be much more sensitive to the plight of unwanted horses? Was she really suggesting that horse slaughter, which is completely legal and somewhat regulated in Great Britain and across Europe, might have a role to play in improving equine welfare?

While Princess Anne didn’t speak directly in favor of eating horsemeat, she only stopped just short of setting a place at the table of equine welfare advocacy for it when she suggested that the value of horses traded for meat plays a potential role in ensuring that they receive better care.

But do pounds on the hoof for the slaughterhouse scale truly translate to improvements in equine welfare for horses in countries where they are traded for meat potential at the end of their usefulness under saddle?

Let the debate begin.

The monarchy in Great Britain could be seen as a celebrity sideshow capable of expansive world-theater weddings, dramatic births, and fashion icons. It’s in the horse world that the British royal family and its horses show up with their game faces on, whether in polo, Thoroughbred racing, eventing, heavy horses, and breeding classes at horse shows. The Queen likes being photographed on horseback, in spite of her advanced years, and she certainly shows her royal displeasure when one of her horses is beaten in the homestretch at Royal Ascot.

Prince William plays polo, Zara Phillips wins Olympic medals in eventing, Prince Charles farms with heavy horses.

But it’s Princess Anne who is involved at the make-a-difference level, with her involvement in organizations like the livery of the Worshipful Company of Farriers, where she is past master, and the globally-ambitious World Horse Welfare, where she serves as president. She also was instrumental in the effort to bring the 2012 Olympics to London, and has served as president of the British Olympic Association, has been a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and is a former Olympian herself, having represented Great Britain in eventing at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. She was president of the FEI for eight years, from 1986 to 1994.

And it’s Princess Anne who makes waves instead of the gossip columns.

his is one royal who doesn’t just pose for photos. Don’t look for the name of her outfit’s designer in the lead sentence of articles about her.

We’ve seen her fall off her horse. We’ve seen her act like a horse show mom. When she mentions a Shetland pony wearing a blanket in her speech, she makes a face only an opinionated horse owner could make.

Her suggestion that equations between better horse care and horse meat values should be openly discussed put her in the headlines more than rescuing any horse ever could. For all the wrong reasons, soundbites from the World Horse Welfare conference can be manipulated to make it sound like she is calling for her merely mortal subjects to buck up, do the right thing and eat more horse meat.

But that’s not what she said. She was suggesting that the debate open to discuss whether an increased monetary value for horse meat might translate to a better-cared-for horse among the at-risk population in Great Britain. The debate might open with the problem that if people throw food at thin horses, colic and laminitis might be the immediate results. Would a person who has neglected a horse or who claims to be unable to afford to provide better care go to the expense of veterinary care for a sick horse?…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story and to comment at Equus

35 replies »

  1. Her statements are hard to believe after all her experience with equines. She now even considers debating horse slaughter show a hard hearted cruelty toward these creatures. The British stiff upper lip has become an outrage along with their cruel fox hunts.


    • seems like the more power and money you have – the more ignorant you get-after all what do they do with horses in Canada(a commonwealth country under British rule)?


  2. BRUTAL! Princess Anne needs to get her head out of ass… This is the same BS pro-slaughter people banter. Slaughter all the “unwanted” (tainted toxic) horses, but I wouldn’t slaughter my horses. Let’s get to the source of the real problem. Where are all the “unwanted” horses coming from?. Irresponsible breeders and arrogant owners. That’s where we start with a solution. Yeah, Princess Anne I hope you choke and seize up and die on that toxic horse meat. What an idiot, kinda like that other Queen that said, “Let them eat Cake” when all the starving people wanted was bread. Now, this one says, “Let them eat Horse Meat”. Off with her head. Keep Calm, NO WAY WILL WE EAT OUR HORSES!


  3. Hmmm. Haven’t read the whole article but it seems to me she should know better than most how drugged up domestic horses are. I doubt she would eat one, especially since her mother is such a health food fan.


  4. The mass production breeders are not irresponsible………..unethical, dishonest, arrogant, have a sense of entitlement, callous, selfish, cheap, etc? YES! But not irresponsible, simply because they KNOW exactly what they are doing (irresponsible” usually entails not thoroughly thinking things through to possible conclusions, but they know exactly what they will do with the horses they don’t want to keep), and that is producing quantity over quality because they KNOW they have a free disposal system at their fingertips which is known as the kill buyer, the feedlot, or straight to the slaughterhouse with no middlemen involved if domestic United States slaughterhouses re-open.

    As long as it remains a relatively “free ride” for suppliers and opportunists both to dispose of horses through slaughter without any stringent laws, rules and regulations they must pay for and abide by under threat of prosecution, they will continue to do what they all do. Both suppliers of horses into the slaughter pipeline and the opportunists that move them o the slaughter destination are involved in BUSINESSES, thus, they should be held to business licensing, carrying commercial liability insurance both for their vehicles and heir business, since they are dealing in food, they should be background checked, finger-printed, etc as many businesses have to adhere to in order to operate, they need their own Bill of Sale that differentiates them from non-horse slaughter people, their facilities need to be registered as horse slaughter dealers and stringent records of horses going in and out of their properties should have to be maintained, they should be required to keep drug logs, their horses should be micro-chipped with GPS to verify their movements, etc.
    However, the way it’s going now, and what the push is on for is for ANYONE that has horses will be forced to do all of those things even though we would never send a horse directly, or indirectly, to slaughter. We ALL will have to pay as if there is a complete acceptance of horse slaughter in the US when there clearly is NOT.

    So I guess we can pray the SAFE Act passes, however, I think we should get prepared to do voter initiatives to shut down horse slaughter state-by-state, but in the interim, we should also push for rules, laws and regulations for both the suppliers of horses into the slaughter pipeline (breeders, owners, trainers, ranchers, Indian reservations, government agencies that capture wild horses and so-called “estray” horses, etc), and also the opportunists of the livestock “kill” sales, the kill buyers, many of the horse traders who sell to kill buyers and feedlots, any “rescues” who dispose of horses at sales and feedlots, the transporters, slaughterhouse owners, etc., so that we horse owners that have never, and would never directly and/or indirectly send a horse to slaughter don’t have to foot the bill for something that does NOT have anything to do with us.

    Horse slaughter is a multi-BILLION DOLLAR annual industry, so let’s not all get lulled into thinking that just because we stop the pro-horse slaughterist’s in one area that they won’t act like the shape-shifters they are and go at it from another direction where unsuspecting people who are against horse slaughter will end up funding the agencies that over-see the rules, laws and regulations and it will be the same whether a person is anti- horse slaughter or pro-horse slaughter, or maybe happens to be indifferent to it.

    We are all NOT the same, so we need to stand up and differentiate ourselves now before it’s too late. And when I hear a so-called “rescue owner” say that “the US is light years ahead regarding slaughtering horses compared to Mexico”? THAT is a cop-out and involves “degrees of torture and terror” kind of like “well, he robbed a bank and got away with $50,000, but tat guy “only” robbed a store and got $500″; they are both bad, but people will have different opinions on which is worse, so “degrees of wrong” even if both cases involved a gun where someone could have been shot…..
    So people like that who think US slaughterhouses need to be re-opened *until* horse slaughter can be banned would have others believe that a horse being stabbed in the back repeatedly to paralyze them and then the butchering begins are so much worse off than a horse shot repeatedly with a captive bolt gun, only to regain consciousness as they are hanging upside down from a chain being rendered while conscious? For God’s sake, torture and suffering can’t be defined in degrees of cruelty, terror and habituation to suffering by those doing it because it only serves to confuse people who don’t know what horse slaughter is that there is ANY physical or mental humaneness to horse slaughter, when there is NOT……

    The bottom line is that horse slaughter must not be allowed to start up again in the US if we can legally challenge it and stop it. However, if it does start up in spite of rescue groups attorneys best attempts at blocking it, we must have a means to smack the suppliers and the opportunists in the wallets and make it not only cost them monetarily, but also from a security, insurance, safety, and liability standpoint as people registered as horse slaughter dealers, whether suppliers and/or opportunists, so that it does not affect those of us who are NOT horse slaughter dealers in any way, shape, or form, and so that we will not be subjected to spending money to operate an industry, and locked-in to rules, that involve an industry we abhor..

    Laura Bell


  5. It looks like she is trying to please somebody, but who? I don’t know much about the personal affairs of these people because they don’t interest me that much but this is going overboard about this as far as I’m concerned. I have a good idea that most if not all of the show horses she rode ended up sent to slaughter just like what happens to them here in the US. If they can’t perform or are crippled because of performing they are never seen again replaced with another horse. No one in the horse show business even notices it because its the norm.


  6. Horses need protection not slaughter. We should work to stop overbreeding. Not breed, breed, breed and then the answer is just slaughter those that are overflow or unwanted. Stop treating animals like nothing as if it does not matter to kill them in their prime.


  7. The first thing that comes to mind are the thin emiciated horses already being shipped and refused at the border. AA has documentated dying horses in the back pens left without food or water.

    We know that horses being shipped can go for up to 36 hours with no food or water. What part of this is humane or will change because slaughter is made legal?

    I don’t know about Europe cause I haven’t ever been there but irresponsible owners know no boundaries. Just cause slaughter ight become legal isn’t goin to change an owner’s lack of compassion.

    Beauty’ Haven in FL rescued Betsy Rose last June. I don’t thinks she even ranked a 1 on the Henneke scale. She was that thin and starved. Recently it came out that the owner was a kid who had gotten tired of Betsy and got another horse. The parent were let off. Part of that is FL law which is very lacking when it comes to animal welfare. Theresa at BH has done more than outstanding work refeeding Betsy who still has a ways to go but looks incredibly different today.

    So Pricess Anne as far as I’m concerned we’ve had discussion about the merits of horse slaughter.


  8. ThetMr. Fitch
    Please let people in. TN. know. That a local appaloosa breeder. Has. Applied for a horse slaughter permit under the name of Trail. South. Meats. Most average horse owners in. Tn. are unaware of this. And. Most. are opposed.sorry posting on my. cell. phone


    • Looks like you are correct. This website came up first on a quick search, with 100+ employees already? Hope they have a permit!

      Stan Dobson, CEO USA[Member Since: 2012]Contact Now Free Member
      Rate this company | Check Member Credibility

      A state of the art meat processing facility is being constructed in the United States for the purpose of processing horse meat for export from the United States. We are building a customer base and seek communications with prospective customers who are interested.

      Contact This Company
      To: STANLEY Dobson

      Basic InformationBusiness Type:Others
      Main Markets: Asia
      Company Products / Services:boxed frozen raw horse meat
      Year Established:2012
      Number of Employees:100+
      Other InformationLegal Representative / CEO:Stan Dobson, CEO

      This company is registered as a free member and is not verified or authenticated by

      Contact Information

      Contact Person : STANLEY dobson (CEO)

      Company : Trail South Meats

      Address: 2417 Kennedy Creek Rd., Auburntown, Tennessee, USA

      Zip/Postal : 37016

      Telephone : 1-615-4648345

      Fax : 1-615-4644667

      Mobile : 615-4648345

      Contact Now


    • Bumping this up… it seems to have garnered no attention. Anyone on here from TN who could look into this further? 2014 is an election year!!!


  9. Unbeliable…just when you think you heard it all another idiot’s comments emerge.
    The royals are not known for their feelings or compassion. I agree with the other commentor. Hope you choke on your words. We must never see slaughterhouses return to the us. Its obvious that the royals never had one in their town or back yard….just shameful….damn the rich…if they put half their money in welfare and rescue can you imagine what a wonderful world we would have.


  10. These magnificent horses, once accustomed to all the comforts of a good life with lots of love and attention suddenly found themselves working on bustling streets and in the deep stone quarries, everything and everyone so familiar to them was suddenly gone. Mrs Brooke and her husband were so horrified by the condition of these war-time heroes, they set out to end their suffering. One letter to the Morning Post (an English national newspaper of the time) raised the modern-day equivalent of twenty thousand pounds. Further letters followed and within three years the remaining five thousand cavalry horses and mules abandoned in Egypt had been bought for humane destruction. Whenever possible Mrs Brooke would allow them a few days of luxury before they were put out of their misery. Then ended their days in peaceful and loving surroundings in the stables Mrs Brooke had bought for the purpose. The Brooke Hospital continues to work in Egypt but now it’s also working in Jordan, India and Pakistan. Whilst the countries in which they work may be different than in Mrs Brooke’s time, the problems the animals suffer from are unfortunately very similar. In these countries, a whole family can rely on the income generated by a single horse or donkey. If that animal is too sick to work, the family will not have food until it’s working again. In the daily fight for survival, the welfare of the animal is often overlooked. The Brooke Hospital isn’t like other animal charities, they never take an animal away from its owner. If they were to do that, it would be leaving the owner without any source of income for him or his family, which would be disastrous. Instead, they work to make life better for both, now and in the future.


  11. This sounds like Jonathan Swift’s “Modest Proposal” : a satire meant to shock the British Upper Class but this is no satire for Princess Anne ! Why are we supposed to be getting conditioned to the idea of horse slaughter? Does someone really think Americans can be manipulated to change their moral repulsion to the idea ? And this in the country of William Blake who wrote that ‘ a horse misused by the gate predicts the ruin of the State’ ! This sell-out by someone who purports to be concerned about horses is very disturbing, a strange timing as someone else pointed out.


    • Great comment and exactly….”Does someone really think Americans can be MANIPULATED to change their moral repulsion to the idea?” of horse slaughter.

      80% + of the American people say NO WAY !!!!


    • With no intent to be disrespectful of Princess Anne, a woman I envied mightily for her opportunity to be so near to horses when we were both much younger, I am not quite sure she is the brightest light on this subject. However, I very much embrace the idea that there be a free and open debate on the subject among those involved in animal agriculture and those involved in animal welfare as well as those of us who rely on good animal agriculture to provide good animal welfare for our horses. It is unrealistic to believe that one side can exist without the other. There are very different conversations going on right now because what is driving the slaughter industry and the removal of our wild horses has been concealed from the American people. Though we cannot put our finger on it, we not that is a sharp, sticky tack somewhere.


  12. I wonder if this lack of compassion is something that is genetic. The Queen wasn’t exactly thoughtful when Diana died and left her people reeling on their own for days. I mean I understand the boys needed privacy and they needed to be protected as all children do. Stiff upper lip be damned.

    Maybe she got kicked in the head by one of her horses…


    • Margaret, in defense of HRH the circumstances of Princess Diana’s death were more that a bit unseemly and complicated. I’m not surprised there was an official silence for a while and am pretty sure Prince Charles had a good talking to. It would be difficult to sort out a reasonable response in those circumstances.


  13. And there’s something else.

    Princess Anne made these comments when she spoke at the World Horse Welfare Conference.
    The Conference was sponsored by BETFAIR.
    What interest would BETFAIR have in the welfare of Horses?
    We are deeply grateful to Betfair for their generous sponsorship of our flagship event for the third consecutive year. – See more at:
    Betfair takes on Australia for punter protection
    Although Betfair has been around since 2000, betting exchanges first gained international notoriety in the middle of 2003, when the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, created the Futures Markets Applied to Prediction (FutureMAP) – aka the terror casino.

    Just as the American horse racing industry received an enormous “carve out” from Congress to allow it to continue wagering remotely while prohibiting foreign competition from doing the same, so the racing industry in Western Australia has fought tooth and hoof to protect its local industry. The claim is that Betfair will freeload off the local racing industry, not paying taxes and failing to support the racing facilities themselves. They also claim that betting exchanges provide an incentive to throw a race, since punters are able to bet on losers, rather than just winners.


  14. Instead of talking about horse as human consumption; we need to consider the over breeding and carelessness of the ‘perfect horse’ breeding programs through out the world…


  15. Hard to believe this woman is supposed to be advocate of Horse Welfare in the UK. Since the horses have given so much to her family in service and sport, her daughter a silver medal in the Olympics, she has a short memory. No love for an animal who has given so much. Horses have been nurtured as our friends, then we are supposed to eat our friends because it might give them a better short life and live of the profit. Hell will freeze over before I would eat mine. Easy answer don’t breed them to eat, ensure tight rules apply on breeding and resign from public speaking dear “Royale” you’ve just proved you’re a no nonsense unfeeling stuff shirt so out of touch with the real world as are most of the Royals.


  16. It’s very simple. Canada slaughters 100,000 horses annually. This garners $70 million in tax dollars. Not to mention the millions earned by kill buyers, irresponsible breeders, the racing industry and others who count on slaughter as a profitable means to dispose of horses.

    Canada is the major contributor to the royal family’s finances. The princess is protecting what provides the upkeep for her own horses and outrageous lifestyle.
    Whenever something doesn’t make sense, follow the money.

    Here is an article about it in Canada’s national news magazine, Maclean’s:


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