U.S. Horse Slaughter Rears its Ugly Head

Posted by Chris Green, ALDF's Legislative Affairs Director on June 28, 2013


It is with great disappointment we learned today that the USDA has issued a permit for a Horse Slaughter plant to open in Roswell, New Mexico––with permits for two more plants in Missouri & Iowa apparently to follow next week.

This would be the first time the abhorrent practice has occurred on U.S. soil since 2007. That was when myself and other animal advocates helped shut down the sole remaining U.S. horse slaughter plant in my home state of Illinois by getting the governor to sign legislation banning the procedure, then successfully defending the law against legal challenges from industry.

Given the horror stories of horses arriving at slaughterhouses with multiple broken limbs and eyes popped out of their sockets, then being subjected to repeated whipping & electric prodding, the U.S. Congress acted swiftly to ban any funding to inspect horse slaughterhouses, effectively ending the brutal practice nationwide. An undercover video report by the CBC exposes similar inhumane treatment currently occurring at horse slaughterhouses in Canada, as determined by expert Temple Grandin.

Today’s decision by the USDA is mind-boggling given that both the U.S. House & Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committees recently approved amendments to renew the ban on inspection funding just last week! However, since those bills won’t be voted on until later in July the USDA evidently thinks it makes sense to allow these three horse slaughterhouses to hire workers and begin operating, only to shut them all down again next month.

While there is no market for horsemeat in the U.S., the meat from North American horse slaughterhouses is shipped overseas, primarily to France, Belgium & Japan. As you may recall, earlier this year Europe erupted in scandal as DNA testing determined horsemeat had been mixed in with beef and sold throughout the EU––including at Taco Bell, hospitals & the British public school lunch system. Due to various performance enhancing drugs given to many horses, this poses a very serious health risk and reveals a deeply troubling breakdown of inspection mechanisms.

Now it is more important than ever to urge your members of congress to pass the Safeguard American Foods Export (SAFE) Act S. 541 and H.R. 1094. This bill would ban the domestic slaughter of horses and prohibit exporting horses for slaughter abroad––including at the Canadian plants in the expose above, and in even worse conditions at slaughterhouses in Mexico. The threat of this atrocity resuming in America is no longer theoretical, it is happening now.

In the meantime, the Animal Legal Defense Fund & other animal advocacy groups will do everything we can to keep these three plants from becoming operational. Your help is invaluable.

29 thoughts on “U.S. Horse Slaughter Rears its Ugly Head

  1. brandao says:

    horse meat is never served in restaurants or in hospitals or in nursing homes which means that the meat is full of dangerous bacteria to human health, so if USDA decides to continue the slaughter of horses for human consumption is that they do not care about the health of humans and they are willing to do anything for personal gain.

  2. Juana Lucia says:

    It is disturbing to me that this is actually happening and the fact that this was passed by Americans as alright; Its disgusting. Horses are not for eating there for riding. As if we don’t eat enough animals now horses, dogs etc are being beaten and slaughter.. And the people who eat the horse meat is as guilty as the ones who slaughter them..

  3. Terry Poage says:

    Please stop the horse slaughter.

  4. Lee Ann Taylor says:

    Stop this now!

  5. susan jacoby says:

    This is disgusting!!!
    God is going to damn you all!!!

  6. Beth says:

    This is disgusting and these horses are beautiful and smart animals and should not be slaughtered for food or anything else. This is inhumane and horrible that people have to resort to the abuse of horses. Leave them alone, God didn’t intend for them to be eaten.

  7. Sherry D says:

    This is a needlessly cruel horrific act. Horsemeat is NOT consumed in the United States. Not now, not ever. Leave our horses alone!

  8. Gill Mellstrom says:

    To whom it may concern,

    Why dont you just keep killing cows and sheep and leave horses out of the picture? Its disgusting to even consider eating horse meat.

    Gillian Mellstrom

  9. Tanya Gott says:

    This is horrible and needs to be stopped.

  10. diane nushawg says:

    shame on you.


  11. We can’t go backwards on what we have accomplished. Please Ban this abusive practice the horses suffer enough while in the hands of the racing industry. We need to stop this senseless killing.

  12. michele says:

    this is horrible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t believe that they are doing this!!!!! This needs to be stopped NOW!!!!

  13. Lisa Kart says:

    Horses are NOT slaughtered humanely. Kickers, horses that kick, their EYES are POKED OUT, to destabilize them. How can that be allowed ?
    ‘moral progress of a nation is by the way it treats its animals’Gandhi
    Moral progress vs $ here, please stop horse slaughter, and this unnecessary cruelty for the mighty $.
    Thank you for your attention

  14. jo lumsden says:

    What in the heck is wrong with you USDA? This process is inhumane, uncalled for and just down-right WRONG.

  15. Joanne Scott says:

    We don’t NEED to do this! It is abhorrent, cruel, inhumane and unhealthy. Horses are an American symbol! They are loved, they are pets, they are worthy!!!!! This is insane!!!!!!! STOP!!!!!

  16. Mary Balsack says:

    Horse Slaughter is NOT a humane way to dispose of unwanted horses. It is cruel. It is a horrible agonizing way to treat our horses from the feed lot all the way to the end. This country is no better than the third world countries that eat dog. We trust our horses to carry our children, we treat them as family, we depend on them to give us everything they have, to make us a living then we do the most horrible things to them and betray their trust. Anyone who thinks slaughter plants are humane should visit one. They will change their minds.

  17. Chris Kelly says:

    They are running them to the ground in Nevada ’til they drop dead. We need a political voice like Shirley Temple Black to raise awareness and stop these magnificent creatures from being murdered. They were made to work for us and to be pets, like dogs. A bullet would be kinder.

  18. anne says:

    I guess the USA has no problem torturing and slaughtering horses but finds it abhorrent to EAT them!? WTF??

  19. Carol says:

    Respect for all beings is a credo that I wish was a requirement to be an inhabitant of this planet.
    Horses are beautiful, sentient beings and are deserving of our awe and respect and caring.

  20. Tom Durfee says:

    AS Fire fighters die we cut funding to them and then fund horse slaughter.

    The U.S. Forest Service’s $2 billion-a-year firefighting budget – the government’s biggest – has been cut by 5 percent. Agency officials say that has meant 500 fewer firefighters and 50 fewer fire engines than last year. Just think of the 19 fire fighters that died, maybe if they had the funding that would be used to slaughter horses they would be alive today.

  21. Cindy Moynan says:

    Just tired of all the abuse that is in this world

  22. ella murzayan says:

    Stop the murder for your greediness for money, it is a sin to kill our friends, god punish the killers

  23. Cecilia Banner says:

    Homo sapiens prove themselves unworthy and utter failures yet again. For all the horse has done for our species for eons, this is the repayment they get for their loyalty and hard work. We completely suck.

    As government agencies, it is incumbent upon you, and it is owed to the taxpayers, to simply leave these animals alone. You waste money, energy, and most importantly, lives, by your inane, disgusting, and appalling actions. STOP THIS NOW!!!!!!

  24. John Doolittle says:

    This is wrong on every level. Stop this now!

  25. We need to stop the slaughter of horses in this country.. These animals were the backbone of America and its history. Horses are pets and racing heroes.
    The slow and painful death that they go through is hideous! Don’t allow these slaughter houses to open.. There are more and more organizations out there that are doing amazing work finding homes for misplaced horses. The average age of a horse going to slaughter is 3 to 5 years old…They are just babies still.. Please help stop this horrible practice until we can find a more humane way to put horses down…

  26. Tonia Paul says:

    Save these Majestic creature, Stop the slaughter NOW!!!

  27. Vivian Davey says:

    Horses are highly intelligent creatures who feel emotions JUST LIKE WE DO! To treat ANY animal in this way is barbaric and ethically wrong. The USA needs to wake up and start taking action against this cruelty. Absolutely shameful the way people treat animals.

  28. Christine L. says:

    It surprises me how many people who claim to be horse lovers think that slaughter is acceptable. I have read countless articles on this issue, and always read the comments because it offers insight on how people think. (Thankfully here everyone has commented anti-slaughter). It is horrific to think that some people equate slaughter with euthanasia, and use the argument that if we didn’t have slaughter, tons of unwanted horses would be staving and neglected. I wonder if they have ever watched footage or read reports about what actually goes on, even in US plants. We need to ban all slaughter of horses in the US, and enforce the ban on transporting them over the border. Until then, these sensitive creatures will continue to suffer from the greed of humankind.

  29. Victoria Driscoll says:

    How can we stop this ridiculous trend? I would like to help.

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