Girls Horse Club Blog

The Truth About Slaughter: Part I

Published by • Jan 5th, 2008 • Category: by Julia, Take a Stand

by Julia, age 14

Here at GHC we can all agree on one thing.


We hate horse slaughter and anything related to it.

But I’ve noticed there’s some confusion about this issue and some false statements are being passed around. Not intentionally of course, but I thought I’d set some things straight. These are the true facts about horse slaughter.

First off, there were three plants in the US but now all three are closed. Here in the United States people do not eat horse meat but in other countries which include (but are not limited to) Mexico, Japan, and Canada people do. Tens of thousands of horses are shipped over US borders for slaughter in foreign countries. The countries which consume the largest amount of meat are France, Belgium, Holland, Japan, and Italy. But because us GHC members find all countries of the world equal there is no need to judge based on horse slaughter consumption.

When I read a few Loft Book Club stories about slaughter I thought they were a bit exaggerated. I thought no one could do anything that cruel and barbaric. I was wrong. Under Federal law horses must be rendered unconscious before being slaughtered. They are usually knocked out via bolt gun which shoots a metal rod into their brain. Then they are hung by their back legs while their throats are cut open. There are much nastier ways it is done, but I will spare you the details. It’s hard to believe there are worse ways, but unfortunately there are.

Most people believe only sickly poor horses are slaughtered. Actually, unsuccessful racehorses, excess riding camp horses, mares who produce poor foals, and PMU mares are candidates. Basically, any horse with four legs, two eyes, and a tail will do. I also watched a video where the humane society went undercover at a slaughter plant and it stated that some companies will outbid families at horse auctions to get their stock.

There are ways to help reduce the numbers and conditions of slaughter plants. If you own a horse or know someone who does, ask them to set aside some money to have their horse humanely euthanized so it’s guaranteed they won’t be shipped off if they fall ill. The transportation of slaughter-bound horses is just as bad if not worse, but I will have a part II with information on that.

I kept this information as vague as I could while still being informative so I didn’t disturb people troubled easily by this information. I’ll be happy to do further research and answer questions you still may have but I used this website to get my information so I know it’s accurate — Humane Society of the United States: Get the Facts on Horse Slaughter.

The Truth About Slaughter: Part II

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  1. Thank you for posting this. There is so much bad info out there – abandoned horses, rises in abuse/neglect all propagated by PR firms hired by pro slaughter groups. Your comments are right on the money.

  2. Oh my gosh, wonderful! Thanks for using my image.

    Horse slaughter must end.

  3. Horse slaughter’s beyond horrible! Excellent Julia at writing this blog and giving us so much information on horse slaughter. Thanks for providing answers to my questions in my head. I can’t wait to read Part Two!

  4. horsejo: thanks, and I think LeadMare put that image on. :)

    Madelaina: Thanks! This little untruths floating around were picking at my brain. ;) I’ll be adding part 2 in the next submission.

  5. This is an excellent paper written by John Holland. The AVMA has a list of FAQs on their website and John has taken each question and disputed every talking point with facts – something the pro folks don’t like to deal with.

    http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/features/horseslaughter-132.shtml

  6. Yeah it’s horrible, I’ve found loads of sites on horse slaughter and one had some horrid pictures that made me sick. I have quite a strong stomach but I was so upset that anyone could do that to such a beautiful horse. Think, if Silverbirch (last years winner of the grand national) loses this year, he could be slaughtered. It’s horrible for anyone to think about, and not just race horses, our trusty riding horses. Ok I better stop before I cry! Well done it’s a wonderful blog! :)
    :((

  7. vicki, I read every Q & A on that page and I thought it was incredible how people pro slaughter tried to make it seem like irresponsible horse owners are the reason for so much slaughter.

    I also hated how they said a bolt gun was a humane way to stun the horse. Just the word “bolt gun” sounds barbaric. :(

  8. This is terrible! :(( Horse slaughter must stop!

  9. :((I beleive it was a good idea to post the truth about horse slaughter. People need to know about even if its to sad to want to even think about it. Something needs to be done! Good job.

  10. Julia, I’m with you on the captive bolt. If it was so humane, the vets would be carrying them in their medical bags. LOL

  11. Sometimes the horses aren’t unconscious when they are hung up by their legs. Slaughter is awful in every way, INCLUDING the transportation. It’s horrid!

  12. In my point of view, bolt guns are NOT humane! Yes, I agree with Julia, just thinking about the word gives me the chills!!

  13. Wow…Julia thank you for posting this. I have always wondered about horse slaughter because in order to stop something, you have to understand it. Thanks again Julia. You have a way with words!

  14. BOLT GUNS are definetly not humane, I could never, never think of any of the horses I ride being slaughtered!! :(( :((

  15. Thanks for helping tell the story of the poor horses who are sent to slaughter. I was just browsing around on dream horse.com, (it’s fun to look sometimes,) and I saw a beautiful warmblood that is doing wonderful dressage and jumping. The horse had been rescued from a slaughter house in Canada, and now she is a champion jumper.
    We all need to do what we can to stop horse slaughter forever.

  16. Hey Julia, GREAT BLOG!! I’m glad you can submit such amazing blogs!! THis one is absolutely great!!

    P.S.- My old name was Jumper Heart, LeadMare said I could change to Rosie!

  17. I hate slaughter of any kind, have you ever heard how people slaughter chickens at KFC? They actually give them drugs when they are babies so they grow faster. They get so big that they break their bones when they try to walk, then they throw them at walls, step on them, cut of their legs and beaks, then slice their throats, then they drop them in boiling water and sadly, sometimes they are still alive when they do this.. I just want you all to be aware that it’s not only horses that are being abused. Back to the horses, bolt guns are no where near humane! That is just cruel, and if they can’t find a humaner way to kill these horses then they should stop killing them period! As soon as I stop growing I’m becoming a vegitarian because all these companies just don’t care about animals and will do ANYTHING to get money. The transportation is so terrible some horses actually die in the trailor before the people can kill them with their ‘humane’ bolt guns. Also, I think it’s terrible that these money-hungry people would try to out bid families to get horses. Those people could have such sweet horses when all the butchers want to do is kill them and sell them. Who doesn’t agree with me here? Also, Julia your blog was great! Can’t wait for the second part! ;)

  18. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDARzgy3vLo
    I found this video on Youtube. It contains graphic images so don’t watch it if you can’t stand the image of dead horses. It is hard to watch but it brings up a great point. Julia was saying to ask people with horses to set aside money for the horse. This kind of goes along with that. I hope no one gets to freaked out watching this!

  19. That’s exactly what I think Marisa. I want to grow out of a meat-eater when I have finished my growing period. It’s a great way to shout to the world that you are against animal abuse.

  20. I watched the youtube video, the person who made it had a great point but sometimes the owner doesn’t abuse it he just needs to downsize and sends the horse to the auctions hoping it will be saved by a fammily or stable not a slaughter house.

  21. That is an awesome blog…it’s heartbreaking…and it makes me want to cry… :((

  22. Thank you so much Julia for posting this blog. I really didnt know much about slaughter before. I clicked on the link and read everything on there. I had no IDEA how horrible,and inhumane it is. I saw the video, and I do not even know what to say. I would do whatever I can to stop this terrible act and save these innocent and beautiful animals.

    Thanks so much, Julia awesome job!! :D

  23. I’m glad you watched it Rosie (not that I totally agree with what the person is saying) Your right. I think killer buyers should only buy horses that have not been bidded on….

  24. Horse Slaughter is bad… I found out loads of horrid facts… I did a poster on Stop The Slaughter campaigns… But yeah, thanks for telling everyone the truth… :)

  25. Um,Julia,I hate to be contradictory,but I’ve heard of no meat plants here in Canada,much less people eating the meat.Great Blog though! :))

  26. I kinda agree with the You Tube video… it is nessary coz no one would have enough time, money and support to help all horses not go to slaughter but i hate to think of the fact that such WONDERFUL, BEAUTIFUL, LOYAL and TRUSTWORTHY animals have to be killed like that. I wish it was a perfect world!!!! :(

  27. It’s no problem Cassie. :) Canada isn’t big on it. Actually there are only 2 plants. One is in Massueville, Québec and the other in Calgary, Alberta. Since Canada is such a HUGE country and most people frown upon slaughter anyway, it’s probably only a matter of time before they both close down.

  28. It’s awful to think people can actually do that, and I know that if I did, I would hate myself.. There’s been a thing on the news lately about all these horses, ponies and donkeys that’ve died, the owner was going to sell them for meat; only the RSPCA have rescued them..

  29. Julia, there are several slaughter plants in Canada. Two of them are just over the border from the US and both involve Cavel, the plant that was shut down in Illinois. They moved their operations to Canada. One of the plants is Natural Valley – I don’t recall the name of the other. I’ve been seeing a lot of google alerts on organizations in Canada that are starting to advocate for a ban on horse slaughter. Several slaughter plants have been mentioned but I haven’t paid close attention because of the mess here. I have a few contacts in Canada and will work with them once the US legislation is passed.

  30. Julia, this blog is very well done and has sparked some great discussion.

    Here’s a recent article from the Wall Street Journal about the rising number of neglected horses, and one woman’s quest to make a difference:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119967115694171373.html

  31. Thanks for correcting me, vicki. Sorry for the misinformation, I got those two plants off the International Fund For Horses website.

    LeadMare, I really liked that article. This stuff really interests me and it’s something I’m passionate about so reading articles like that give me a bittersweet feeling. I’m glad though that there are people who are trying to make a difference.

    Thanks to everyone else for you’re compliments. :)

  32. LeadMare, there are many articles circulating about increases in abuse, neglect and abandonment. All have been investigated and proven false. The pro groups have hired PR firms to propagate the ridiculous articles and the sad thing is that publications are printing them without doing any research. Here is a paper with the investigation results on the abandonment issue: http://amghorsesetc.livejournal.com/5863.html This paper was released last week by the VEW and addresses the abuse/neglect issue: http://vetsforequinewelfare.org/white_paper.php

    The articles are just more of the same from pro groups and nothing more than scare tactics. Their goal is to get the kill houses reopened and they keep spewing the same tired arguments that have been proven wrong over and over again. They need to hire new PR firms that can give them some new material! They are complaining about the abuse our horses suffer in Mexico and then hire lobbyists to block passage of the federal legislation that will stop the transports. Go figure! BTW-I hear the WSJ and the New York Times is getting bombarded with mail.

  33. Hmm…I’ve went to the link you provided LeadMare, and I think a good way to solve that problem is probably by sending someone authorized from those associations to the properties wanting to buy a horse to check it out and give it an okay in wealth and conditions before they make their purchase. That way it’s pretty unlikely to have any owners unsuitable for horses.