This website is no longer actively maintained
Some material and features may be unavailable

Nebraska bill renews debate over killing horses for food

"Loose" or "weigh up" horses, most of which were sold to be shipped to Canada for slaughter, wait to be ushered into the auction ring in Rushville, Neb., on Sept. 24, 2008. Photo: AP/Nate Jenkins

Most Americans would be horrified to see horse meat on the shelves of their local grocery stores or on the menu at their favorite restaurants. Our national taboo against the consumption of horse meat has made it virtually nonexistent here for decades. But until 2007, when the slaughter of horses for human consumption was effectively banned in the United States, the American horse processing industry still exported about 18,000 tons of horse meat to other countries for human consumption every year.

And now Nebraska State Senator Tyson Larson, a 24-year-old freshman legislator who rides and trains horses in his free time, is stirring up controversy with animal rights groups and the U.S. Department of Agriculture as he attempts to revive horse slaughter in his home state. It’s a move that he believes would boost the Nebraska economy and help reduce the state’s population of unwanted horses.

Before 2007, the American horse meat industry relied on exports to countries like Japan, where horse meat is known as sakuraniku — “cherry-blossom meat” — for its vivid pink coloring; Kazakhstan, where horse is found in many traditional dishes; and France, where horse meat is available in some supermarkets and butchers’ shops. In fact, live American horses are still shipped to Canada and Mexico for slaughter and export to those and other countries.

But in 2006, Congress responded to pressure from animal-rights groups by voting to cut all federal funding that paid “the salaries or expenses of personnel to inspect horses.” The Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1906 mandates that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which controls federal inspection of agricultural products, must inspect all meat sold between states or internationally. So once funding for inspection was cut, the last three horse processing plants in the country were forced to close their doors. But although horse slaughter was defunded, it was never outlawed. Legislation which would have banned horse slaughter, ending future debate on the issue, has failed to pass in Congress on multiple occasions.

In January, Larson introduced LB305, a bill which would allow Nebraska to open a state meat and poultry inspection agency. Though the bill does not directly address horse slaughter, its implications for that industry are clear. While Congress has cut federal funding for horse meat inspection, it cannot control state meat inspection expenditures. Larson told Need to Know that his bill is “a symbolic first step” toward renewed horse slaughter in Nebraska, though he noted that the bill would also benefit “small farmers with more niche products such as bison or elk” by allowing them to process and market their meat locally.

Twenty-seven other states currently run their own meat inspection agencies, whose inspectors must enforce USDA standards or higher. None of these states currently process horse meat.

State-inspected meat does not carry the USDA’s federal stamp of approval, necessary for the export of meat over state or international lines, except under specific conditions laid out in the 2008 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill allows for state-inspected plants with 25 employees or fewer to accept federal supervision in exchange for a federal certification which would allow meat from those plants to cross state borders. That program would be critical to the success of the Nebraska horse processing industry, which would need to reach international markets to be economically viable.

Nonetheless, horse processing remains illegal, a USDA spokesperson told Need to Know in an e-mailed statement. Under the program set forth in the Farm Bill, state processing plants are required to follow federal regulations. According to the USDA, Congress’s decision to cut funding for horse inspection “effectively prohibits horse slaughter” on a federal level, which means that any state participating in the federal inspection program would also be required to prohibit horse slaughter.

If Larson’s bill passes in Nebraska, the stage will be set for a battle between the state and the federal government over the legality of horse slaughter. Larson is ready to fight. “This is a states’ rights issue,” he says. “It’s time that the states stick up for themselves on a variety of issues.”

Opponents of LB305, which will be up for debate in the Nebraska legislature as soon as next week, include animal rights activists who oppose horse slaughter on ethical grounds. Nancy Perry, vice-president of government affairs at the Humane Society of the United States and a prominent voice against horse slaughter, says that allowing horse processing plants to reopen in Nebraska would challenge “civil society’s approach to how we treat horses” and constitute animal cruelty.

“There is a special cruelty involved with the act of shifting their status midlife,” Perry said. If your horse is suffering, she said, don’t let its life end at the slaughterhouse. “It’s more humane to have your horse euthanized quietly, gently, at home, than to put it through that horrible process.”

LB305’s supporters also claim the ethical high ground in the debate, arguing that the end of horse processing in the United States has created a glut of unwanted horses that are left to die of starvation and neglect.

But Perry says that the poor economy, not closing slaughterhouses, has caused the recent spike in unwanted horses. She believes that animal rescue organizations can help turn that trend around. “We need people who go in and work with the owners to help alleviate the suffering,” she said.

She noted that horses kept as pets are routinely treated with medicines considered unsafe for human consumption and not used on animals raised for meat. Questions about the safety of horse meat have led to strict inspection policies in Canada and the European Union.

Some animal rights advocates say that untrained slaughterhouse workers would not be able to deal humanely with horses, whose frantic reactions to confinement make them difficult to kill quickly or painlessly.

Larson and other supporters of the bill claim that horses can be killed as humanely as any other animals. Texas A&M University animal behavior professor Ted Friend, who observed horse behavior in American processing plants before 2006, agrees. “Actually, many of the horses going in are fairly tame and are accustomed to humans,” he told Need to Know, “which cattle are not.” Despite our cultural objection to the practice, he said, it can be done without causing undue suffering for the animals. “We could do it well, you know, and they deserve it.”

  • thumb
    Main Street: Findlay, Ohio
    Need to Know travels to Ohio to assess how workers are faring after the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs over the past 35 years.
  • thumb
    Following the money: Tax breaks
    New CBO report echoes the findings of Need to Know's "A tale or four tax returns."
  • thumb
      Certifiably employable
    Rick Karr recently visited Seattle to look at a program designed to give the unemployed the skills they need to find jobs in one of the country’s fastest-growing industries.


  • ECS

    Senator Larson: How many horse slaughterhouses will it take to pull Nebraska’s economy up? Please.

    Sad grandstanding by this legislator, only ~100,000 U.S. horses are shipped for slaughter/yr. If we all would geld a little more, support humane euthanasia and struggling horse owners a little more, this issue of “unwanted” horses will disappear…and you know what…it’s happening…

    Forcing horses to spend their last moments alive in panic, fear and pain when there are better alternatives is just brutal. People have the will to do better, bills like this have passed in other states and have shown to be a waste of time.

  • Anonymous

    If horse owners really cared about their horses they would never send them to auctions where kill buyers are or to slaughter. Horses are flight animals and panic when they smell bood and hear screams of other horses. The horrible cruelty at auctions, during transport and at slaughter plants have all been documented. Americans do not raise horses to eat. They have been classified as companion animals and have served people for centuries. Surely they deserve a kind death when it’s time by euthanasia by a vet or if nothing else a well placed bullet to the head.
    I would hate to have Larson as a trainer for my horses. He evidently knows nothing about them.

  • Pharris7700

    A civilized society does not terrorise creatures before slaughtering them inhumanely. I saddens me that we humans seem to think that any manner of cruelty is fine as long as we benefit. I desparately wish we could become a kindler, gentler nation. Wishful thinking.

  • Lesa

    Reading this brings tears to my eyes. The idea that slaughtering horses is the solution to a human economic problem is so egocentric it shocks me. No animal should have to pay the price for what humans have done to ourselves; yet here we are debating at the state and federal level whether or not we want to kill horses for monetary gain.

  • Shawnbonjovi

    Nebraska should be concerned that a 24-yr. old “politician” has the time to come up with such a loser scheme as this. The shame to the state, the economic hardship to taxpayers, the take-over by foreign companies, the influx of criminal kill buyers skulking on your highways, the national spotlight on this vicious industry, the illegal immigrants that work in slaughterhouses, the possibility your horse just might come up missing and end up on a conveyor belt should give you pause. My motto has always been to see who makes the money. Whoever screams the most is the one making the money. Since the ” pushing politician works with horses”, that tells me he’s one of the handful to make money and the rest of the state will end up holding the bag and the bill.

  • Diana B

    So much misinformation. Starting with the caption – These are not “way up” horses they are “weigh up” horses, as in sold by the pound.

    The job of the USDA inspector is not to inspect the live animal, but to inspect the entire slaughter process as well as the resulting meat. Humans standards of 95% kill on the first attempt must be met. (Most plants reach 98% with cattle.) The captive bold system is designed to kill cattle and does not do a good job on horses. Only 90% of horses were being stunned or killed on the first attempt and those stunned must be bled out before they regain consciousness in 30 – 60 seconds. The 10% that were only injured on the first attempt experienced extreme pain and were difficult to restrain for a second attempt. The reason the captive bolt does not work well for horses is that their brain is not against the front of the skull as in cattle. USDA inspection of horses was never meeting the required standards for humane kill. The standards were lowered. Exceptions were made. Then the program was stopped because it didn’t work right. It should not start again.

    Texas A&M University animal behavior professor Ted Friend’s theory doesn’t hold true. Horses are more used to people and usually trust them. But horses are used to having a trusted human lead them into scary new surroundings. Horses are not used to being driven from behind through a narrow alley to a chute. This process will frighten most horses and their only comfort is that they are in close contact with other frightened horses. Once in the kill box and not touching another horse they are terrified. Cattle on the other hand are driven through alleys into chutes where they receive a vaccine, a tag, a pour-on dose or an implant, many times a year. They get used to standing in the chute waiting to be released. The kill box does not seem like an unusual situation for cattle.

    The problem of unwanted horses has nothing to do with slaughter not being available in the USA. If someone wants their horse to go to slaughter they only need to take it to the nearest auction.

    Medications for meat animals are not banned according to what the medication would do to humans. Medications are banned for specific species of meat animals according to the drug levels expected to be found in the meat. Drugs for use in meat animals are tested (by the manufacture) to prove how long it takes for the med to clear that species system to the point where the meat is safe. Drug manufactures are not testing horse meat for drug residue, so no drugs will be approved for use on horses that will be used for food. Because of this, even if a humane horse slaughter plant could be designed, and federal inspectors wee reinstated, there would be no market for the meat. Federal inspectors could not approve it for human consumption and pet food companies will not use horse meat.

  • Anonymous

    “Way up” has been corrected in the caption. Thanks!

  • Madkins2

    Where are they going to get all the horses to slaughter that are not full of drugs? We do not raise horses here in the US for food so this is a huge problem. The drugs that are given to these animals are not intended for human consumption so unless we will start raising them for food, I fail to see why they would even bother to pass this law. Disgusting and sick and if I ever went into a store that sold horse meat, I would have a fit and probably go to jail. I would picket the store and raise hell!

  • ABP

    How is killing horses for monetary gain any different from killing cattle, poultry, or pork for monetary gain? Why do so many of us choose to turn a blind eye to the cruelty involved in the slaughter of those animals while condemning even the most humane efforts to slaughter horses?

  • ABP

    How is killing horses for monetary gain any different from killing cattle, poultry, or pork for monetary gain? Why do so many of us choose to turn a blind eye to the cruelty involved in the slaughter of those animals while condemning even the most humane efforts to slaughter horses?

  • Christy Lee

    It is a state’s issue only if they plan on slaughtering only NE horses. If they plan on taking horses from other states, it is an issue that impacts every horse owner across the country.

    If anyone has an interest in knowing what really happens when horse slaughter comes to town, they should read the letter the former Mayor of Kaufman,TX wrote that speaks about the horrific situation that Crown caused there…and I mean horrific. Here is the link:
    In it’s entirety:
    “Dear State Legislator:
    You will soon be asked to vote on legislation regarding the commercial slaughter of American horses of which you probably have very little firsthand knowledge. No doubt you have heard from lobbyists and organizations who want you to support the practice, but before you do, you should ask yourself why the residents of Texas and Illinois worked so hard to rid their states of their horse slaughter plants. The answer may surprise you.
    As a mayor who lived with this plague in her town for many years, who knows what the horse slaughter industry really is and what it does to a community please allow me to tell you what we experienced. The industry caused significant and long term hardship to my community which was home to Dallas Crown, one of the last three horse slaughter plants in the United States.
    All three plants were foreign-owned, and since the market for horsemeat is entirely foreign, the industry will always be dominated by these foreign interests. The corporations involved in this industry have consistently proven themselves to be the worst possible corporate citizens.
    The Dallas Crown horse slaughtering facility had been in operation in Kaufman since the late 70′s and from the beginning had caused problems both economically and environmentally. I have listed some of the specific issues below.
    I will gladly provide you with detailed reports from my former City Manager, Police Chief, and Public Works Director regarding odor and wastewater effluence violations at the Dallas Crown horse slaughter plant in the City of Kaufman.. The reports reference “decaying meat [which] provides a foul odor and is an attraction for vermin and carrion,” containers conveyed “uncovered and leaking liquids,” there are “significant foul odors during the daily monitoring of the area,” and “Dallas Crown continually neglects to perform within the standards required of them.”
    Therefore, in August of 2005, our City Council decided by unanimous decision to send the Dallas Crown issue to the Board of Adjustments for termination of their non-conforming use status. In March of 2006, the Board of Adjustments voted to order Dallas Crown closed, but the plant was able to tie the enforcement up in the courts until they were finally closed under state law in February of 2007.
    Dallas Crown repeatedly described itself as a “good corporate citizen.” I will be straightforward in asserting that they are the very antithesis of such.
    o Dallas Crown had a very long history of violations to their industrial waste permit, ‘loading’ the capacity of the wastewater treatment plant.
    o Dallas Crown denied the City access to their property for wastewater testing beginning October 1, 2004 until July 6, 2005 , despite requirement by city ordinance, city permit agreement, and court order.
    o City staff reported that a $6 million upgrade to our wastewater treatment plant would be required even though the plant was planned and financed to last through 2015.
    o Odor problems resulting from the outside storage of offal and hides over several days persisted not only in traditionally African-American neighborhood known as “Boggy Bottom”, but at the nearby Presbyterian Hospital , the daycare center, and surrounding areas.
    o Transport of offal and fresh hides on City and state thoroughfares is conducted in leaking containers without covers.
    o City documents reveal an extended history of efforts to have Dallas Crown address various environmental issues. Reports include descriptive language including such as “blood flowing east and west in the ditches from your plant,” “It has been over 45 days [it had been 59 days] and no apparent cleanup has occurred,” “Your system has not improved and subsequently it has gotten a lot worse,” “Words cannot express the seriousness” of recent violations and the “adverse effects on the wastewater treatment plant,” and “Please be sure trailers are secured before leaving your premises to prevent spills,” noting also “bones and blood laying in front of the facility,” problems with bones and parts in neighboring yards and the attraction of “dogs and other animals.”
    o In response to 29 citations for wastewater violations, each accompanied by a potential fine of $2,000, Dallas Crown requested 29 separate jury trials, potentially causing yet another economic strain to the City’s budget. We could, of course, not afford to litigate in order to extract the fines
    o Dallas Crown took 11 months to submit a mandatory “sludge control plan” to assist efficient operation of the wastewater treatment plant though City staff requested it orally and in writing many times.
    o The City Manager advised me that the City would have to spend $70,000 in legal fees because of Dallas Crown problems, which was the entire legal budget for the fiscal year.
    o During this period, Dallas Crown paid property taxes that were less than half of what the City spent on legal fees directly related to Dallas Crown violations.
    o Generally, Dallas Crown has the economic ability to prevail, to exceed the constraints of the City’s budget.
    Dallas Crown had a negative effect on the development of surrounding properties, and a horse slaughter plant is a stigma to the development of our city generally. I have since learned that these problems were mirrored at the other two plants. Fort Worth’s Beltex horse slaughter plant also violated Ft. Worth’s wastewater regulations several times, clogged sewer lines, and both spilled and pumped blood into a nearby creek (San Antonio Current, June 19, 2003 ). Texas State Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, whose district includes Beltex, and Rep. Toby Goodman, R-Arlington, fought hard against legislation that would have legalized horse slaughter in Texas in 2003.
    The horse slaughter plant in DeKalb , IL had a similar pattern. It was destroyed by fire in 2002, and rebuilt in 2004. It was charged and fined by the DeKalb Sanitary District almost every month from the reopening until its closing in 2007 under a new state law for consistently exceeding wastewater discharge guidelines. I can provide you with the documentation of those violations. Like Dallas Crown, Cavel refused to pay their fines for years.
    During this time, I learned that an estimated $5 million in Federal funding was being spent annually to support three foreign-owned horse slaughter plants! And when the Dallas Crown tax records were exposed in the city’s legal struggle, we found that they had paid only $5 in federal taxes on a gross income of over $12,000,000!
    Moreover, the parent company of Cavel has since moved its operations to Canada and continued to slaughter American horses. In Canada they have apparently become even more blatant, dumping huge untreated piles of entrails onto open ground and even using a tanker truck to discharge blood and refuse into a local river.
    I have mentioned only the pollution issue, but this is but one negative aspect of horse slaughter. I have subsequently learned of a USDA document containing 900 pages of graphic photos that show the horrors that the horses were subject to. Behind the privacy fences of these plants, trucks arrived continuously and on those trucks was every form of inhumane violation one can imagine from mares birthing foals to horses with eyes dangling from their sockets and legs ripped from their bodies.
    The more I learn about horse slaughter, the more certain I am: There is no justification for horse slaughter in this country. My city was little more than a door mat for a foreign-owned business that drained our resources, thwarted economic development and stigmatized our community. Americans don’t eat horses, and we don’t raise them for human consumption. There is no justification for spending American tax dollars to support this industry at the expense of Americans and our horses.
    Former Mayor Paula Bacon
    Kaufman, TX

  • Brandi Qualset

    Nebraskans and Senator Larson need to consider some items about slaughter houses for horses before they come to a decision on LB 305. These are questions I have sent to Senator Larson several times without even an acknowledgement that he received my communication, much less answers to my questions.

    1.) How are we going to protect the people eating the meat from the toxins that most horses have come in contact with? Is every horse going to have to have a passport like they do in Europe? Many of the items that are used in horses are specifically labeled not for use in horses intended for human consumption. Many warn to wear gloves because they contain carcinogenic substances! Are we going to have to examine every fly spray, de-wormer, etc that we use on our horse and write it down in their passport on the off chance that it MIGHT go to slaughter? Are we going to have to have a vet administer every vaccination, medication, etc? Many horse owners prefer to purchase vaccinations and medications (that are banned in Europe in horses for human consumption) from their local feed store or livestock supply company because it is cheaper.

    2.) How are slaughter houses going to prevent stolen horses from being slaughtered? It has been proven that the easiest means of disposal for stolen horses is slaughter. Is every horse that shows up at the slaughter plant going to be positively identified and verified as not being stolen? Right now the slaughter plants don’t check with Stolen Horse International to see if a horse is on the stolen or missing list. They don’t check brands. There isn’t even a guarantee that every stolen horse will be listed with Stolen Horse International because not every horse owner knows that it exists. This means that even if slaughter houses checked with that organization, there would be horses that will slip through the cracks.

    3.) How is Nebraska going to guarantee that horses weren’t sold to slaughter by unscrupulous buyers by owners that don’t want their horses slaughtered? There are owners who have the buyers sign contracts that are supposed to protect their horse from being slaughtered. These owners have often later learned that their horse was slaughtered! Read the numerous news stories from across the nation of owners who have done their best to protect their horses only to find out that their horse was sold to slaughter almost immediately after the sale was made.

    4.) What is Nebraska going to do as the horse slaughter market continues to decrease? Many countries are decreasing their consumption of horse meat. Australia, Canada, Italy, and Ireland are already working on legislation to make horse meat for human consumption illegal. In England the decrease is starting because more people are becoming aware of the toxic substances that our American horses are coming in contact with. Some countries are working on bans specifically aimed at meat from American horses because of their concerns about toxicity.

    5.) What is Nebraska going to do if a horse slaughter plant is opened and the US government bans it on a national level? Is the legislature going to come up with an alternative plan for the horses then? What are we going to do with the “excess” of horses then?

    6.) What is Nebraska going to do if the past repeats itself and major environmental issues come up with the slaughter plants? How are we going to protect the land owners near the plants? How are they going to force the plants to pay? How is our state going to afford to do the necessary clean up?

    7.) In the interest of animal welfare, how are we going to make slaughter humane for the horses? Based on what I have seen of the processing of horses, their reactions make it impossible to use the captive bolt correctly. The majority of the time the horses are either not stunned or injured horribly. Most horses react to the smell of blood and death, they are not used to the confines of a chute, and they react strongly to strange items being brought near their heads. They also fight restraint when scared. I just can’t see how horse processing can be made humane based on the knowledge of horse behavior and reactions.

    Until we can answer all these questions, horse slaughter is not the solution. I think that we need to work to solve the issue of “unwanted” horses in a different manner. I don’t have all the answers, but from working with horse owners who are trying to find homes for their horses, the vast majority are owners who have fallen on hard times economically. Most don’t want to give up their horses, but they feel that they have no choice. These horses are not “unwanted”, they are just unlucky.

    Brandi M. Qualset
    Meadow Grove, NE

  • Jimstewart69

    Every one of your questions can be answered by saying that we just need to tweak the current usda laws and regulations to be viable for horses. They are still livestock, and as for the boltgun that’s an easy fix, make it deeper, duh. Your answer is the only one that raises questions, and that is what do we do with the freakin horses that people have that aren’t worth anything unless they are rideable and that there is someone that wants to ride them. It is because of the economy in one respect ill give you that but people come first, nuff said.

  • Anonymous

    Making the boltgun ” deeper?” is no solution, horses are flight animals.
    and since when did the Cornhuskers start raising horses to eat?
    The ignorant mentality that a horse is worth nothing unless it is rideable or something
    man can abuse with their own mental issues, is not a reason to slaughter a horse.
    Horses are great teachers if humans, including farmers and cattle men and so called cowboys would take the time. Horses CAN teach us a lot; and look at what these legislators want to create.
    Double deck trailers were not made for horses; slaughter plants were not designed for horses, horses are not fed to be raised for eating, so HELLO do some home work,
    and find out facts.
    Let Nebr. get a slaughter plant, find out how much the taxpayers will be in the hole for
    when it has to close down within a year and you all get to pay to clean up the environment.
    FACTS,, check them out… just because you dont like horses or are most likely afraid of them, is no reason to kill them.

  • NotABreed

    I’m sorry, but horse slaughter is PURELY for monetary gain. Almost ALL the meat is shipped overseas for consumption. Cattle, pigs, poultry and pork at least are eaten in North America – so it goes to feed our people WHILE making money.

    And just because we’re talking about horse slaughter here (which is what the article IS about) doesn’t mean we don’t care if other animals are being slaughtered inhumanely. Get a grip.

  • NotABreed

    Thank you, Diana, for your excellent comment!
    One additional point, phenylbutazone is permanently banned and is NEVER to enter the bloodstream of a food-chain animal. Phenylbutazone is known to induce blood dyscrasias, including aplastic anemia, leukopenia, agranulocytosis, thrombocytopenia, and deaths.

    And for you “non horsey” people out there, Phenylbutazone, otherwise known as “bute” is given like aspirin to horses. It’s great for aches and pains, strains, etc. It is not kept track of what horses receive it. It never “detoxes” from the system. THAT is what people are eating.

  • NotABreed

    Thank you Christy, for posting that letter. I refer to it OFTEN and have it on my blog as well. There is no single writing out there that better shows exactly what horse slaughter is all about. The economic and ecologic issues are disastrous!

  • NotABreed

    Maybe it’s time for the breeders and owners of these horses to start taking responsibility for the animals they created or brought into their lives.
    There are many options that are humane; euthanasia by a veterinarian, retirement if they’re healthy enough, etc. Why is slaughter the ONLY option???
    Or, um, what about a bullet to the head – done in the horses’ own pasture, by a kind person who KNOWS what they are doing… it is MUCH more humane than being run through auction, shipped, no food or water (keeps them “calm” supposedly), afraid, thrown in with horses they don’t know (causes injuries) and then slaughtered.

  • Jennifer Richardson

    Is this why the wild horses (BLM run animals) are singled out?

  • Jennifer Richardson

    From opening myself up to animal cruelty everywhere in the world I am against all animal breeding and I hope for a time when there are just no animals left to exploit.

  • Jennifer Richardson

    I think those of us who do NOT turn a blind eye-who have made the CHOICE to abstain from flesh food-are most likely to be supportive of the horse issue and all other animal issues. It is unbelievable that so many horse-owners still betray their horses, even when they could well afford to take a humane route. The slaughter business is cruel and ugly and that is why, I suppose, the eyes choose to stay shut on the issue!

  • Ally

    i want to cry! i love horses at my barn now i want 2 rescue all those horses

  • Bigcincher

    I see maybe three comments on here that have any valor to them at all. Can someone put a comment on here way we shouldn’t slaughter horses that doesn’t involve their own emotions in the argument? If you can do this maybe I could stand reading it. Why not slaughter them here in the United States rather than send them to Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered anyway? Congress will never shut down the borders to this, so I ask again Why not slaughter horses where it can be inspected and done humanely by Americans that can benefit from it?  The ban is why the horse market went down. Because of the ban the horses can hardly be given away and the countries benefiting are Canada and Mexico not the United States. The captive bolt kills the horse almost instantaneously like it does any other animal that gets hit with it.

  • Davislld62l


  • Marie Haughey

    Thank you for the amazing comment! Hope it opens some eyes. 

  • Marie Haughey

    Wish I’d stumbled on this article sooner, because that’s wrong. At least 10% of horses are dismembered while alive. They’re not the same as cattle; they’re skulls are thicker. 

  • Anonymous

    We will continue to work to permanently end horse slaughter, and transport to slaughter, in the United States.  Breeders and owners MUST take responsibility, particularly the AQHA (which admits to being pro-slaughter) and all the Thoroughbred breeders.  These two breeds are the predominant horses that go to slaughter.  Over 100,000+ yearly and 16% are thoroughbreds and 70+% are quarter horses.  That is WRONG.

  • Anonymous

    Because of the unbearable cruelty of transport to slaughter and slaughter.  Because there is not such thing as humane slaughter.  Because the horses have no history so that no one knows what drugs they’ve been given, or disease they might have.  Because the slaughter plants are owned by foreign corporations and pay no taxes.  Because slaughter business attracts bottom-of-the-barrel people and because towns that have slaughter plants have increased crime and increased health problems.  Because we don’t eat horses.  I hope that is enough for you.  

  • Anonymous

    Given their natural flight instinct, there is no humane way to slaughter horses.  You only have to view the many videos of horse slaughter posted on YouTube to understand how horrific this practice is.  Often horses are shot multiple times with the captive bolt.  Often they are butchered, fully conscious.  How can this possibly be construed as being “humane”?  ”Humane horse slaugher” is an oxymoron.

    Further, communities in which horse slaughterhouses were located suffered horribly in both environmental and economic terms: horse blood backing up into bathtubs; rising crime rates; increased vermin because of rotting flesh; decreasing property values; stigmatization of the community.  

    One more thing–these plants were owned by foreign companies in the past and would be again.  US taxpayer money was spent on USDA inspection of the meat (it is estimated that such funding would cost taxpayers $5,000,000).  In Kaufman, Texas, the Belgian-owned horse slaughterhouse, Dallas Crown, paid $5.00 in federal taxes on sales of $12,000,000.  All so that foreign interests can profit at the expense of the American taxpayer.  Jobs created?  A total of 178 jobs were created in ALL the horse slaughterhouses when they were operating in this country.

    Contact your US senators and representatives urging them to co-sponsor and vote for the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (S.1176 and H.R.2966).  And, make sure that state legislators such as Tyson Larson are stopped–and voted out of office.

  • Anonymous

    And, in regard to “too many” horses, Senator Trent Lott posted a message on the Congressional blog on 2/14/2012 in which he observed that the report of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) stating that there were “too many” horses was a conclusion based on “flawed evidence.”  I’d believe Senator Lott any day over those pro-slaughter advocates who stand to profit from this horrific practice.

  • Bboopcutesnoopy4u2


  • ChemtrailingNess

    Wild horses,we will never ride them someday.Part of the N.W.O. agenda 21?  Jane Velez Mitchel has bravley reported horrible news in Nevada,wild horses round up and caged in the most abusive inhumane ways.Are some of these beautiful free spirited animals going to be sold for human consumption in Wal-mart,and all grocery stores?I am afriad so.Food bill passed last year allowing horse meat to be on our supermarket shelves.Hope humans are not rounded up nex,in America.Where is Pita,Pamala Anderson,and Mr.Ed. stop the madness.This is a bad sign of things to come.How much finacial trouble is this country in to go to this extreme?Scarry .What will be round up next,baseball and apple pie???

  • ChemtrailingNess

    What is this country turning into,Morocco.