Horse slaughter is not about controlling the "unwanted" horse population; a way of getting rid of sick, diseased or mentally disturbed horses; preventing horse abuse, abandonment, theft and similar crimes.
Horse slaughter exists solely to provide horse meat to its consumers — to people who want to eat it.
In the U.S. virtually every major veterinary organization is pro horse slaughter.
Of course, animal agriculture including slaughter facilities employ a significantly high number of veterinarians. The example below shows you where their thinking is.
“Market demand for horsemeat for human consumption is almost certain to continue and may grow in the foreseeable future. It is therefore proper and necessary that we continue to work with national and international groups to provide humane care for horses intended for slaughter and maintain as much consensus and practicality on these issues as possible.”
— Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, April 15, 2000.
This is wicked considering they know that horses are not raised as food animals and therefore not regulated as such. Horses are given medications — prescribed by these very people — that bars their meat from entering the human food chain. So, on it goes.
Veterinarians must also be aware, though they will rarely admit it, that there is no such thing as humane slaughter. And it is impossible to make it so, especially in the high production setting of a slaughterhouse.
Certain pre-slaughter conditions may be improved slightly but the process will still be frightening, brutal and cruel. This is called "welfarism" which many groups, even some animal rights groups so called, hide behind.
Not every veterinarian group, however, supports the slaughter of horses. There is a group adamantly opposed to horse slaughter called Veterinarians for Equine Welfare. (Note: After doing much good, this group has now disbanded).
USDA statistics show that over 92 percent of horses slaughtered are in good condition and able to live productive lives.
In California, where horse slaughter was banned in 1998, there has been no corresponding rise in cruelty and neglect cases. Horse theft dropped by 34 percent following its ban.
In Illinois, when its plant was shut down for two years, horse neglect and abuse decreased in that state.
Most horses who go to slaughter and are not 'unwanted' but may happen to be for sale. They tragically wind up in the hands of killer buyers who purchase them at auctionbecause they are in good enough condition, and will bring a good price per pound for their meat.
Undercover footage from inside horse slaughter facilities in the U.S. and Canada have shown time and again the horrific practices that go on.
Many horses have been conscious when they were shackled and hoisted by a rear leg for their throats to be cut to be bled out. Employees have been seen whipping horses in the face. Mares have been allowed to give birth on the kill floors or their bellies slit open and their unborn foals ripped from the bodies and stomped to death.
The USDA recently released photos of horses with broken bones protruding from their bodies, eyeballs hanging by a thread of skin, and open wounds, all taken at former U.S. horse slaughter plants.
We should not allow our horses to be subjected to this tremendous cruelty inside, or outside, our borders.
"Euthanasia" means a gentle, painless death aimed to prevent suffering.
Horse slaughter means a brutal and terrifying death, full of pain and suffering.
Video evidence taken in countries like the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Great Britain and Japan demonstrates time and again that cruelty is inherent to horse slaughter. Slaughter is no way — no matter how conducted — to end a horse's life.
When no other option exists, horses should be humanely euthanized by a licensed veterinarian. The vast majority of horse owners (as high as 99%) already use humane euthanasia for old or sick horses.
The slaughter of horses actually facilitates the violation of property rights by encouraging the theft and the selling on of private property when an individual's horse is stolen and sold for a profit via the meat man.
In fact, numerous domestic horses are stolen out of pastures and barns every year for the horse meat trade.
When California banned horse slaughter in 1998, the horse theft rate dropped 34 percent.
Additionally, private property rights do not grant owners the unfettered right to abuse their animals. Every state has anti-cruelty laws that mandate protections for animals.
Without horse slaughter, owners still have ample legal options such as reselling, donating, or euthanizing their horses.
USDA documents show that over 92 percent of horses who go to slaughter are in good condition — and do not need to be put down.
Some 900,000 horses die annually and are safely disposed of by means other than slaughter. The current infrastructure can easily absorb an increase in numbers.
Rendering, incineration and burial are all options for remains disposal, depending on local laws.
Conversely, the operation of horse slaughter plants are proven to have a significant negative environmental impact, resulting in violations of local laws relating to the disposal of blood and other waste materials.
The assertion that horses currently going to slaughter would become the financial responsibility of the federal government is simply false.
Horse owners, not the government, will always remain responsible for the care of their horses.
Owners who no longer wish to keep their horses and who cannot sell or place their horses in a new home have the option of sale, rehoming via adoption or placement in a sanctuary, or by humane euthanasia.
Reviewed and updated 25 May 2019