Facts on Horse Slaugter

  • How many horses are sent to slaughter each year?

Although horse slaughter became illegal in the United States in 2008, it is not illegal to transport horses across the Mexican and Canadian border to be slaughtered. In 2015, 84,907 US horses were shipped to Mexico to be slaughtered while 45,629 US horses were shipped to Canada for slaughter.


  • Isn’t slaughter an output for old, sick, and unwanted horses?

No. USDA statistics showed that over 92% of the horses being slaughtered were in good condition and able to live productive lives. Most horses who go to slaughter are not unwanted, but instead wind up in the hands of kill buyers because they are in good health and will bring a good price per pound for their meat.


  • Won’t a ban on horse slaughter increase the homeless horse population and increase abuse and neglect?

No. Horse slaughter exists solely to provide horse meat to the consumer. There have been no corresponding rises in cruelty and neglect cases with the ban of slaughter in the United States. Allowing one’s horse to starve is not an option in any state. State anti-cruelty laws prohibit such neglect.


  • How do these horses end up at a kill pen if they are so good?

Many of the horses at the pre-slaughter holding pen (kill pen) come from auctions that kill buyers purchase them at. These kill buyers will often outbid other buyers who want to give the horse a good home. Also, it is not uncommon for people to steal horses and sell them to the kill buyers to make money. In fact, horse theft has decreased 34% since slaughter has been banned in the US.


  • Is horse slaughter humane?

No; horse slaughter is a brutal and terrifying death for these animals, full of pain and suffering. Because of the anatomy, behavioral patterns and strong survival instinct of the horses, it is very difficult for the untrained slaughter plant workers to accurately use a captive bolt gun to render the horse unconscious. Many horses are still conscious when they are shackled, bled out, and butchered. In some Mexican plants, a knife is stabbed in the horses back repeated until the animal is paralyzed.


  • What would we do with old and sick horses if slaughter wasn’t and option?

When no other options are possible, horses should be humanely euthanized by a licensed veterinarian.


  • Why do major veterinary organizations support horse slaughter?

Animal agriculture including slaughter facilities employ a significantly high number of veterinarians. In, fact veterinarians who work in slaughter facilities as meat inspectors are some of the highest paid veterinarians in the US. It is utterly concerning that these veterinary associations support horse slaughter when they know that horses are not regulated as food animals. Therefore, the horses are given medications that they the vets prescribe which could be harmful to humans who consume horse meat.