Is there horse meat in dog food?

Pet food companies in the United States cannot use horse meat, according to the Equine Protection Network, which is a group dedicated to making a difference for abused, neglected and slaughter-bound horses. The main reason for this is because U.S. companies make more profit by selling it to countries where people eat the meat.

This does not stop horse meat from making its way back into the United States as unspecific “animal” by-products, “animal” meal or “animal” digest.

Can horses be used in pet food?

“Animal” digest is the ramains of pretty much any part of any animal (blood, teeth, hair, spleen) from anywhere (roadkill, shelter animals, euthanized pets and horses, etc.). Cheaper dog foods contain by-products and animal digest (see my post on dog food ingredients).

The only way to be absolutely sure horse meat is not used in your dog’s food is to read the label. Look for dog foods with ingredients like lamb, duck and chicken. The first three ingredients should be specific proteins. Avoid dog foods with unspecific ingredients like “animal” by-products, “animal” meal and “animal” digest.

Is there horse meat in dog food?

The reason the horse meat issue came to my attention was because legislators in North Dakota are sponsoring a bill that could lead to the building of the only horse slaughterhouse in the United States.

A North Dakota plant would slaughter horses.

I know this is totally unrelated to dogs, but as an animal lover, the headline “Plant may slaughter horses …” in Saturday’s issue of The Forum caught my attention.

Let me say that I am not a horse person. I’ve never owned a horse, I’ve gone riding maybe five times in my life, and I’m actually a little scared of horses. What bothers me is that horses can be slaughtered in our country and the way it would be done.

The EPN describes on its web site the way horses were killed in our country up to 2007 when the last two U.S. horse slaughterhouses closed.

First the horses were hit in the forehead until they were (hopefully) unconscious. Then their hind legs were shackled and the horses were lifted into the air upside down to have their throats sliced.

This all happened after the horses were shipped for sometimes thousands of miles and then lined up into the slaughterhouses, hearing and seeing their fellow horses being hit in the head and bleeding, according to a PETA forum. Of course, this is how pigs and cattle are also inhumanely killed in our country, but I won’t even get into that.

I hate to think of how horses are killed in Mexico and Canada, which is where the U.S. currently ships its horses for slaughter. Something tells me that if you are going to be slaughtered, you’re better off being killed in the United States than in Mexico where horses are stabbed to death, according to the EPN (just do a YouTube search for “horse slaughter”).

In 2006, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an act to ban horse slaughtering. But it failed in the Senate, making it still legal in our country, according to The Forum.

The North Dakota plant would slaughter horses that are no longer used for recreation, farming or racing, said The Forum. Slaughtered horses are used for meat, gelatin, glue, pet food and leather products, according to the article.

I could not find any pet food brands that admittedly use horse meat. Instead, general words such as “animal” by-product and “animal” digest are used. This could be any animal.

Would you care if your dog’s food had horse meat in it? What’s your opinion on slaughtering horses, and should it be done in our country or elsewhere?

Discuss this issue further at ThatMutt.com’s new dog forum – What are your thoughts on slaughtering horses in the U.S.?

The photos are from a horseback riding trip I took with friends in Costa Rica a few years ago, one of the few experiences I have with horses.

For more information on what is found in pet foods, check out my raw food page which explains why dry food is unhealthy for my dog.

118 thoughts on “Is there horse meat in dog food?”

  1. This is a very controversial subject and one that really gets people going. I’m sure there are a lot of strong opinions out there. I’ve tried to write an eloquent response but keep deleting it so I’ll just say that you’ve brought up a great thinking point.

  2. Until the industries that exploit (music industry term) horses commit to caring for the horse for their entire lives, horses will be slaughtered.

    Given that reality, that the horses are slaughtered humanely and the resulting by-products are fully exploited is the only responsible approach to take.

    I would have zero hesitation in feeding my dogs horse meat. Given the lack of an industrialized meat production industry around horses, horse meat is quite likely healthier for our pets than anything that comes out of the beef, pork, or chicken industries.

    And that is the real crime here; the industrial meat production companies. The entire industry practices an unnatural production cycle that is inherently cruel. PETA is certainly right about that.

    Unfortunately, PETA’s fanaticism means their useful ends about there. Dogs are inherently carnivores. Vegetarian diets are not healthy for them — are a form of cruelty — yet I have seen PETA claim otherwise.

  3. Lindsay Stordahl

    Thanks for your comments bbum. I agree with all your points, especially what you said about PETA, dogs’ diets and the meat industry. My problem is the cruel way the horses and other animals are treated before they are killed and how they are killed.

  4. I saw a long list of what “animal biproducts” are used in dog food. That was enough for me to avoid anything that says that on the label.

  5. This is a tough subject. On one hand I can see the point that the previous commenter bbum made – if horses will be slaughtered anyway – it helps to know that every part of the animal is used.

    However… my husband works in an industry that has allowed him to see slaughter houses first hand. They are not humane in many cases. They are miserable horrible places. In thinking about it too much, I should be a vegetarian myself. (I’m not.)

    I’m not sure what I would do about feeding a dog food that contained horse meat. It would bother me – I’ve been around horses quite a bit, and they are magnificent creatures… I’m not 100% sure where I stand, obviously! Thanks for making us think though.

  6. Lindsay Stordahl

    Right Mayra, why would horse meat be any worse than chicken or lamb? It is probably actually healthier. It’s the treatment of the animals beforehand that is the issue.

    Jan, I don’t feed my dog anything that says “animal by-product” either.

    Thanks for your input Tammy! I encourage you to be a vegetarian if you are up for it!

    1. VJ, another Wild Horse Advocate

      Horses have dangerous things in them. They have wormers, antibiotics, and euthanasia drugs, to mention a few. Pets from shelters are often the same; DANGEROUS in pet food, DANGEROUS in horsemeat for human consumption in countries where horsemeat is considered a delicacy. But the horsemeat is full of noxious poisons and residual toxins. If you let a pet eat American horse-meat and if people don’t know about the toxins–is it safe to let pets and people eat roadkill, euthanized shelter animals–in animal by-products, is it right to slaughter horses and pets at all? I cannot condone the terror these animals go through. No slaughter is humane, for any animal, anywhere. To have a US slaughter plant in North Dakota–or any other state or country sickens me. Especially in America where greed and money rule.

  7. A very sensitive topic.

    I would have no problem feeding the Girls Horse meat if it was killed humanely and had a decent life.

    However saying that is all very well but how about the meat that we happily feed our animals.

    There is no way that the animals are given great lives. Meat production is about MONEY and many animals are kept in awful, cramped conditions and many never think anything of it when feeding food to Dogs.

    So, to stop rambling-I see no real problem with it, especially as they probably had better lives than the animals we feed to our Dogs now.

  8. Lindsay Stordahl

    Thanks Three Dog. Yep, unfortunately you are probably right. I’m not in favor of giving my dog a vegetarian diet by any means!

  9. I don’t agree with most of the commercial slaughtering and would prefer to get my meat from local farms, but there just aren’t the right sources/money for it right now.
    As for it being in “Dog food”, I don’t feed dog food to begin with, and the horse meat would be the last thing I would worry about. My dogs are raw fed (cats too when I had them) and I know exactly what they’re eating.

  10. Hmmmmm. We just had this conversation at my house. Only it was about kids in a boys home or something being fed wild horse meat. I am from a ranching family. We did eat a whole bunch of cattle, that my grandfather raised. We ate a whole bunch of venison that my hunter dad and uncles went out and shot and cleaned and cooked. We grew all our own vegetables and we rode horses. We never ate horses. The horses were part of our family and we LOVED them. To eat them would have been like me cooking up one of my weinerdogs and having him on a bun. It just was WRONG to eat horses or it never occurred to us or something, because they were like sacred to us.

    Something else that I think makes me feel sort of repulsed about eating horses is that, when a horse is sick enough to go, then it is surely too sick to be eaten. I dont have any data or statistics to back that up, I just know that ours were always euthenized by the vet when they were sick and then we buried them in the pasture under a tree or something. We did not send them out to factories, just as I could not one of my dogs or cats, or siblings.

    I would not knowingly feed my dogs horse meat.

    I am not a PETA fan.

  11. Lindsay Stordahl

    Hey Rebekah, thanks for your comment. Raw food is the healthiest way to go as long as the dog is getting what she needs. Like you said, that way you know exactly what your dog is eating. I am considering a raw diet for my own dog. What do you think is the best resource for feeding dogs a healthy raw diet?

  12. Wow, a thoughtful post and thoughtful comments. Like Rebekah, I feed my dog homemade raw food, so I know exactly what he’s eating.

    (see here for some raw diet posts; this reminds me that I really should do another one…
    http://biggiezblog.blogspot.com/search/label/raw%20diet )

    As for horse meat, I do think it is a cultural thing. I was traveling to another country last year and ended up eating horse meat – we were guests at someone’s home and I was not told it was horse meat until after I’d eaten it – I was not nearly as grossed out as I thought I would be. I still would never knowingly choose to eat it, but that experience was pretty instructive.

    Many years ago we were vacationing in Bora Bora and we went scuba diving every day. At one of the seafood restaurants many of the entrees were the same brightly colored fish that we had taken a lot of pleasure in watching on our dive trips. I had a really hard time with that.

  13. Lindsay Stordahl

    Hey Biggie, thanks for that link.

    You’re right, it’s totally a cultural thing. People eat horses in many countries. I don’t see a whole lot of difference between that and eating meat from a cow. But I’ve never had either animal as a pet.

  14. As to feeding horse meat to dogs, I would be more interested in how the meat would compare in nutrition.

    It is eaten in other countries, and healthy meat won’t kill your dog. I would not like to see horses raised for the purpose of pet food. I agree that horses may go through terrible slaughter experiences in other countries with fewer laws.

    However, I would be willing to bet that there is a need to eliminate horses after they become needless at the track, if that is a fair way to state this. Burying an animal of that size would be problematic, and we, as a nation, are now recyclers.

    I do remember that in the 1940’s or 1950’s horse meat was sold in 1 pound blocks in grocery stores and my mother bought it for the cats. They loved it!

    I think that the meat may have been ground and previously frozen. Since we imported less back then, I assume that it was a Product of USA.

    If horse meat has been used in the past in pet food, it was probably as a rendered product. This would have enabled the pet food manufacturer to identify it as animal-by-product, which they think is a user friendly term.

  15. Lindsay Stordahl

    Hi Nell, thank you for your comment. I understand we need to do something with older horses, I just know how terrible the slaughtering process is for them.

  16. I think that it is a horribal thing that horses get sloughtered. I have been around horses my hole life and have been riding for seven years and I think that It is just appaling to have such a beautiful, loyal, and loveing creature killed in such an in-humane way. many other types of meat can be used instead of horse. I did some reserche on this and found that 1/3 of race horses are sent to sloughter when they can’t race any more. Many of those race horse are totaly healthy and can be used in another disiplen of riding.

  17. One of the great concerns of horse meat is that the drugs that horses are given are not fit for human consumption and thus not under the USDA guidelines making horse meat unfit for people and dogs.

    If a horse that was put down by a vet through injection and sent to rendering plant the AVMA says that is dangerous for any animal to eat the flesh of the horse.

    Horse slaughter is a cruel and inhumane and barbaric way for a horse to end its life from the day it is sold at auction, through the kill buyers, the transporters who do not feed, water or let the horses have rest, cramming them regardless of age, sex, injury or pregnant to the slaughter facility to die horrible abuse in what I call the cruel box and then if they are lucky to be unconscious have their throat cut, but some have been known to awaken during this process.

    How can we being as civilized society allow such suffering of our creatures.

    n odwn

  18. Lindsay Stordahl

    I think most people are unaware of it, Leah. Or they just choose to look the other way so they don’t have to hear about animals suffering.

  19. It turns my stomach what some people will do for a buck in this country. If these same kinds of people are so heartless that they would kidnap children as sex slaves performing before the camera in order to increase profits across the Internet as well as other shadow black markets, what’s a little horse meat to our pets? Remember now, the only obligation that a corporation in this country has, is to increase profits to its shareholders. End of story.

    Welcome to America.

  20. The illusion is that we the people run the country, when it’s the elite corporations and their money, that run the country. Too political for the topic here I know, so I will digress.

    But at least now I know, thanks to the information on your website, what to look for when shopping for pet food for my pets. I just wonder how long it will be before “they” figure out that we’re on to them, and they lobby congress for a change in labeling policy? Hmmm… But I trust that you will stay vigilante because you’re in this thing for the long haul, right?

  21. Lindsay Stordahl

    Unfortunately “they” have already found ways to disguise the ingredients in pet food. “Animal products” and “animal by-products” could be just about anything.

  22. Tiadora Anderson

    Horses are sent to Mexico and Canada for slaughter, and human consumption. The meat is not even safe for human consumption.”The EU now recognizes that the meat from American horses, slaughtered in Canada and Mexico, is toxic and dangerous for human consumption due to the equine medications it retains.” I certainly wouldn’t want it in my dog’s food.

  23. Regarding killing of horses in U.S> for pet food, yes it is true. There are several companies in the U.S. doing this. Thier is currently NO federal law preventing this, or any federal protection for pet food bond horses. As far as the federal government is concerned you can kill a horse anyway you want, including bleeding them to death, as long as they are not used for human consumption.

    Of concern to dog owners, while horses are used in some dog foods, thier is no federal or even state laws governing the quality of horse meat. Some plants are known to use horses dead for a while, or have been killed previously by vet drugs, and then turned into pet food, a danger to other animals eating this, but no protection laws exist.

    One large company owner of Bravo Packing in New Jersey
    was arrested after I-SPEAK investigated due to an alleged beating of a horse in the eyed with a baseball bat. Intrestingly the NJ SPCA did not become involved in any charges, and in fact at least one SPCA officer has a contract to giver horses to this company.

    Further information can be found at
    http://www.care2.com/news/category/animals/bravo%20packing

    Marc Jurnove
    Executive Director, I-SPEAK

  24. Ok. Some of the things people are saying in this post are a bit ludicrous. Would YOU want your child’s horse “Trixie” to wind up in dog food? Lets be honest. If the animal has lived a ‘GOOD’ life, it is due to the fact that it was a pet. Which in turn means that if you’re happy to feed your dogs horse meat only if the horse lived a good life, is the same as saying “I’ll only feed my dog the neighbors pet horse”.

    Lets examine inHUMANe, the primary root of the word being HUMAN. INhuman or NOT nice for humans. Now, would i say its injust for an animal to be aware that it will be slaughtered? yes, of course no living creature should be shown its own demise for hours on end before it happens. BUT… to suggest that a swift blow to the head and then hung upside down and bled out is inHUMAN, possibly, but its certainly better than poison, electric shock, gas, and other various methods of execution. if there were a death row for animals, none of them would ever die.

    the point is this, to shoot the animal would bring other complaints, to be honest i cannot conceive of any manner which would appease anyone to believe that an animal was ‘slaughtered’ HUMANely.

    The term SLAUGHTER is, in its own rights rather brutal. should we then deliberate if horses have been water boarded before termination? How can you kill something humanely? I suppose a quick and painless death would be best, perhaps we could bring back the guillotine? then again the brain lives for some time afterwards and possibly see its body being carted away for quartering..

    Meat is meat, we eat it, cats eat it, dogs eat it. Until we can hypnotize the horse so that it cant feel the pain, it will be “inHUMANe”. Sorry, its the simple fact. Would I feed it to my dogs? Of course, probably to myself as well under distressed circumstances. I’d probably go for the horse that had a rougher less kind life myself, they tend to be stronger physically, more meat for me 🙂

  25. Thanks for your opinion. You throw out some good ideas.

    It’s interesting how people are not OK with horses being slaughtered, but they don’t care how chickens, pigs and cows are treated.

    And you’re right. There is no “humane” way to slaughter an animal. Killing is killing. And no matter what, someone is going to be upset.

  26. Look where banning slaughter has taken us. Our animals have no value. Look how many are starving to death!! Does no one see this? People are having trouble feeding their families right now. I have taken a few horses in but I can’t take on more and starve mine. There is no where for disposal anymore. I love them but death is a part of life. I don’t see anyone complaining about the cows going to slaughter and have you watched those videos? Talk about something hard to watch. Or maybe dog slaughter seen that one? I love my animals but this has caused more abouse and neglect than they thought about. I think they are important even vidal to us, however there needs to be rules on what goes in the market and whats done with the meat.

  27. I don’t see any difference between slaughtering cows and slaughtering horses. Both are equally horrific. I can’t watch those videos.

    For anyone interested, a Google search for “Dog slaughter South Korea” will bring up all you need to know.

  28. I guess its the grace of the animal that is distressing people and ofcourse the inhumane nature we slaughter all animals, and even worse how we raise them to be slaughtered thus forcing them to live in cheap filthy conditions, the same issue with puppy mills. I think there are a few options that would make us feel better. 1) we live like native americans, hunt our food and use every piece of it while thanking our almighty for it. 2) pass a law to upgrade farm/mills so animals have more qol before dying and then find a more humane way of killing them. Meanwhile, pass a law that if the animal was a pet or a working farm animal (ie horses) that they had to be cared for throughout their whole life. ?anyone?

  29. About a yr ago when the price of wheat was @ a record high, I hauled a newly harvested load out of a field in STockton CA almost 200 miles to a big beef operation. I couldn’t believe how long the line was to wait to unload. All the hungry people that could be fed, but that beautiful wheat was feeding cows. When you figure the total cost to raise the crop and transport to the cows its amazing the way we live. I also sat at a slaughterhouse in UT for 8 hours while the line produced enough barrels of “by-products” to fill the 53′ trailer I was hauling. Each barrel had a diff. anatomical part; they even use the trachea. The plant in LA where I delivered the load smelled bad and the entire dock area was wet. I realized I had to dispose of my shoes very soon. Just thought I’d share.

  30. Lindsay Stordahl

    Elizabeth, yes, it is the inhumane nature of slaughtering animals and the way they are raised that bothers me. It is not possible for us all to live like native Americans and hunt our own food, etc. Although, ideally, that would be a great way to live. I’m leery of laws to regulate these types of things. But something does have to change. We can start by not buying meat unless we know exactly where it came from and how the animal was treated.

    Leslie, very good to know. I can’t imagine how much each cow eats before it is slaughtered. And as for the slaughterhouse and loading dock, yuck. People do not realize what goes on, do they? Thank you for sharing this.

  31. Waltraut Krause

    There we go again. We don’t seem to be troubled eating cow…sheep…chicken etc..but horse oh no we don’t do that. Have you ever heard of Goulash>>> The word means “horses ass” or the hind quarters of a horse which is being used to make this delicious meal. I grew up on it and never had any high cholesterol, since that meat is not fatty, but lean and tastes great. What about Bisons and Deer, we don’t seem to mind slaughtering those animals not necessary for food but just the “fun” of a kill. Let’s be realistic, we all eat animals that have done us no harm, but we get all bent out of shape when it comes to horses. (I owned horses for riding) but a lot of them need to be put down the humane way.

  32. Lindsay Stordahl

    You are so right. People get all bent out of shape by the idea of horses being slaughtered for food, but what about chickens, cows, pigs, etc? Those animals also suffer.

  33. I think that horse slaughter should be ban in every state it is horrible what they do to the horses. I have 2 of them and they are wonderful animals. To wonderful to be treated in any way that pertains to slaughter. I also think that if you cant take care of a horse don’t get it cause that is the reason for most slaughters. Therefore it should not be used in dog food, plus I don’t want my dog eating a horse.

  34. So, because horses are “wonderful” they shouldn’t be slaughtered? Since cows are less wonderful, is it OK to slaughter them?

  35. We don’t slaughter and eat dogs and cats in this country, either. What we are talking about here, eating companion animals, animals with names.

    I would never feed my dog horse meat because he is a friend to many horses, including Thoroughbred race horses. We don’t eat our friends. We honor them.

    Horses that did therapeutic riding, won for us at the track, shipped in brutal conditions, all kinds of Federal transport laws broken, who cares, it’s going to slaughter anyway.

    The horse ends up hanging by its leg, in full sight of the horses waiting, many experiencing being cut up while still conscious. Screaming in terror. This is not news – this is first hand testimony by independent veterinarians on the lines, undercover videos, and forensic inspections in Candada.

    The evidence is overwhelming: horse slaughter is brutal.

    Sadly, people are duped into thinking horse slaughter is OK by Corporate America and paid lobbyists. The fact is, the way horses are physiologically and psychologically, they suffer way, way worse. You may wish to look at the USDA evidence obtained a year ago and see for yourself. http://www.kaufmanzoning.net Horse slaughter was bad news even in the US.

    Not getting into the cruelty of factory farming here. It’s a disaster. We need to stop handing over our food production to conscienceless multinational corporations. It’s a health hazard, too – look at the swine flu that came from the factory farm in Mexico.

    But at least cattle raised for the food supply have drug records and legally-prescribed withdrwal periods. Food animals don’t get the performance-enhancing drugs horses get, because the law prevents it. Horses are not traditional food animals, so anything goes.

    The reality is, every US horse going to slaughter right now contains drugs specifically banned from the food supply by the FDA. Bute, fly sprays, wormers. All ZERO tolerance. The stuff causes cancer, anemia, etc. Fertility drugs like Regimen (given to broodmares) that cause spontaneous abortion in humans in minute doses.

    To say nothing of illegal performance enhancing drugs like milkshaking, steroids, EPOs snake venon etc etc etc surreptitiously used at the track. Especially standardbreds – the industry is full of juicers, and people need to know they’re playing russian roulette with their health.

    So, the pro-slaughter folks might want to be sure they have really good health insurance! Illegal drugs, betrayal and inhumanity on a massive scale – what’s not to dislike about horse slaughter?

  36. Lindsay Stordahl

    I’d like to re-visit Three Dogs earlier point: Although the end of their lives often end up horrific, most of these horses that end up slaughtered have lived better lives than other animals used for feeding dogs and cats.

    IIt’s a difficult topic, but our dogs and cats do need to get their meat from somewhere.

  37. The slaughterhouses are not built for horses, they are built for cows, pigs, and sheep.Horses have longer necks and therefore are able to move away from Canada’s bolt gun and are often not properly stunned before being bled out.
    Horses are companion animals and are given many chemicals that ruin their meat.
    All animals that are slaughtered are killed inhumanely…there is no way around it.
    I suggest everyone visits a feedlot and a slaughterhouse and thinks of this as they shop for meat.
    I also think that if you eat meat you should buy llocally raised, drug free, and antibiotic free meat. This would support the local economy, send a strong message to the factory farms, improve your health,and reduce a lot of suffering that these animals endure.
    My boyfriend regularly hauls cattle from auction to farm to farm to farm to farm to auction to feed lot and finally to slaughter….the local meat is by far healthier.
    Anybody that eats horsemeat or gives it to their pets is perpetuating very cruel ends to a companion animals life and also harming their own health.
    I am part of a group that finds homes for slaughterbound horses every week…they are NOT unwanted they have fallen into the wrong hands.
    The bad economy and the killbuyers making lots of money by buying the auction horses, craigslist, free horses, cheap horses, any horse that they can get their hands on and selling them to the slaughterhouses.
    If there was no demand this would not be happening.

  38. Lindsay Stordahl

    Thank you, Lisa, for your comment. You are very well-informed about this issue, and I appreciate the information. I also encourage everyone to eat meat that comes from grass-fed, locally raised animals that are not given hormomones and antibiotics and are not kept confined.

  39. I was recently contacted by a friend. She Had a 24 year old horse that lived a good life. It was time to put it down though. She called me asking advice, since I’m a country bumkin and old fashioned and I have been in vet medicine for 10 plus years.
    She had some options.
    1. 300 euthanasia fee from the vet and then a 300 or more disposal fee, rendering in our area was not an option
    2. Can’t take it slaughter anymore and make money
    3. Kill her own horse.and then cremate in her pasture
    She’s sentimental I could only tell her sorry, and I hope christmas would be better next year, since she had to spend money on the horse.
    But It got me thinkin. We feed raw or barf diets to our dogs, wouldn’t it be better for everyone to just help my friend and take her horse from her. Shoot it inbetween the eyes, put it out of its painful life it was living from old age and instantly kill it, then cut up the meat for my dogs?
    My dogs would indeed be getting a better diet than any commericially perpared kibble no matter the quality of ingrediants. (High temperatures used in making kibble break down many nutrional elements).

  40. And to comment about lisa s. ” companion animals are given many things that ruin the meat”. I completely agree. We raise almost all our own small livestock for our dinner table. Chickens, goat, turkey, rabbit, and we hunt for venicson and other game. But that comment is un just. All commerically prepared foos we eat is junk. Not just companion animals. Even organic labeled meats are subject to un healrhy lifestyles. For example compare a real farm fresh chicken egg to an organic chicken egg from the store. The diiference is huge. Firmer shell, tougher mebrane, golden orange yolk. Those qualites are hardly even present in an organic chicken egg bought at the store. And then milk. Even organic milk. ( my uncle use to be a part owner of horizon organic milk compnay). They use un natuarl methods to assit production. Things that I am sure are not good for our bodies and encourage cancerous cells. But that’s the way of the world. What’s wrong with horse meat in dog food? Nothing. But the political nature of our government and the geeed for the dollar has taken the common sense out of everday issues. Life is a circle. Embrace it.

  41. Lindsay Stordahl

    Thank you for your comments, Kristi. I admire your lifestyle and hope that myelf and others can work toward eating healthier and caring for animals better.

    For most of us, at least for me, the problem is the way horse meat gets into dog food, not that horse meat is there.

  42. In the U.S., raising horses for consumption has never been part of our culture and I don’t think the practice should make it’s way into it now. Regardless of whether people in other countries eat it or not. Other cultures also eat monkey brains, pork a**hole, dogs and cats, that does not mean that I should take up the practice as well, sorry Waltraut you lost me there. We should do all we can to discourage a market for horse meat consumption for humans. We have enough problems with the horrible state of our agriculture and livestock as it is, with the environmental pollution, food safety issues, our general health and the horrific state of animal welfare. We do not need to keep adding to the mess but rather try and deal with the overwhelming current problems.
    As for feeding horse meat to my dog, it is completely unregulated and unsafe (reasons mentioned above by all of you) and I would not think of feeding it to him even if it was regulated. I would not feed him any commercial brands for that matter. I buy and feed him organic from local farms=fresh, raw and whole (pheasant,chicken, duck & beef 1 to 2 x’s a yr-rotating his proteins for better digestion and variety)along with fruits and vege’s. It is cheaper and far superior to any commercial brand. I do not believe we should encourage a horse meat market for dog food either, for all the same reasons I listed above. If one must buy commercial dog food, stay away from anything listing “by-product”, if you are unsure call the brand and ask.
    In regards to horse slaughter in general, I keep seeing people state things like “If they are going to
    die anyways, why not put them out of their misery…” Why is killing the only option? As per USDA 92% of horses sent to slaughter are healthy. We have allowed for unregulated markets that have driven a demand for surplus, some people are making a lot of money killing horses. Again our state of affairs in regards to our horses is in terrible, over breeding, Primarin Estrogen industry, wild horses, and kill buyers who make millions selling horses to slaughter and selling the (tainted) meat. Legalized and regulated horse meat consumption is not a solution to overpopulation but will only open the flood gates because it will drive people to breed even more horses for slaughter, just as they have done with cattle. More pollution, more misery and so on.

    I do not believe that slaughter is “euthanasia” or is some how putting them out of their misery. It is horrific for ANY animal, especially prey animals, like horses because they have high drive nervous system, flinching and thrashing, which makes it difficult to shoot them with the captive bolt gun to “stun”. Brain wave activity studies performed in sacrifice studies, showing the difference in pain felt in having the throat slit to the spinal cord vs western conventional slaughter practices, have shown increased pain spikes after being shot with the captive bolt that continues and does NOT go down, another words it heightens the pain. In addition, their head is not made stationary so they need to be shot several times because they are shot in the eye or other parts of the head rather than intended location which is between the eyes. As was stated above, the facilities and captive gun was made for cattle which have brains set farther back and have narrow foreheads so it makes it difficult. All of this adds to the terror, pain and suffering because they still are not unconcious at the point they are hoisted upside down and bleed, it just adds to the suffering. The only thing the captive gun does is after being shot so many times it makes it easier for the slaughter handler to handle the horse to hoisting because it is more subdued, even though the horse is experiencing tremendous pain. It is horrific and brutal, for all animals. That is why I am vegan. I feel a deep guilt for feeding my dog animals but I do believe that unlike us, canines are carnivores/omnivores. That is another reason I go out of my way to go to the farm where I get the birds for his food, I get to see how the birds live and how they die.

    I believe it is our purpose in being here to evaluate everything we do and how it effects our environment and other beings. To stretch our capability of reasoning, problem solving and compassion. Instead of reaching to the lowest common denominator for answers, think of higher alternatives. Just because we have dominion over something or someone does not mean we have the right to dominate and destroy.

    Thanks for listening and for sharing all of your great thoughts!

    P

    p.s. Kristi, I wish the best for your friend and her horse. Since you have been in the vet industry, perhaps you could help her say a quiet and gentle goodbye to her horse and friends could start a fund for her to bury or dispose. I know you do not know me but I would be more than happy to help in order to see you, your friend and the horse have a dignified last goodbye.

  43. Lindsay Stordahl

    Thank you, Patricia. I am deeply bothered by how our country treats all kinds of animals before they become “food,” and I often struggle with what to do about it.

  44. Pingback: Picking the best dog food brands or cat food brands | Dog Food Hut

  45. There have been alot of points made about this and everyone will alwase have there own opinion but i have been studing this for 2 years now and because of that i quit eating meat. just amagen with me for a moment.

    you are a year or to old and in the prime of life. YOu are in a cage and have been sints you were born. you are to big to turn around now. you must stand or lay in your little cage for the rest of your life. you remember your mother and siblings and you wish they were here, not the stupid gross guy in the cage next to you he keeps biting you so now you have scars all over your back. but you cant see them because you are coverd in your own shit. but someone comes down the little isle and lets you out your so happy to get to move you try to run but you cant you dont no how you have never gotten to run in your hole life. but even though you keep falling you are happy but then they load you in a trailer with a ton of others and you get in fights with them and your coverd in blood because none of you have ever bein socholized. the coverd in blood you get dragged out of the dark trailer that you have bein in for maby months and your eyes are burned by the light but your happy when they put you in a nother cage away from the pigs you are there for two days and they dont feed you or water you and your realy hungry. then you are hurded up in to a room with all the meanies agen. but one by one you are run thew a shoot and they lay a matel arm agenst your side and its cold one second later you feel and electroc shock run threw your entire body and you fall limp in a trance in pane but you come out seconds later so you can feel the large metel macheine picking you up by your hind legs and you fight it when you are up side down you feel a cold blade agenst your throught they slice your throught and you die thats all you were ever born for was to die so humans can eat you . you a pig are now dead hanging from the machiene being cut apart so humans can eat you.

    this is the life story of meny pigs hows it eny diffrent then what they do to horses. horses die so we can eat pigs die so we can eat cows die so we can eat. what is the diffrence it is all wrong. some may say its the circle of life or the food chain but i dont think it is because animals raised for slauter howses on feed lots are raised in small cages and never get a chance to run we breed animals so we can kill and eat there young how is this right that is why i dont eat meat or eaven where leather if i can help it. just think and dont put your needs infront of an animals there alive to.

  46. Thanks for your comment Amber. I think many people agree with you. I don’t eat most meat for the reasons you described.

    If you want meat in your diet, then buy meat from animals that have lived a healthy, humane life. The meat will be healthier for you anyway.

  47. I like horses a lot. But I don’t mind seeing unwanted horses going to slaughter for pet food and what not. It keeps the costs of dog food from matching the price of our steaks.

    1. you are a HORRIBLE person… There are plenty of places for unwanted horses to go other than a slaughter house…
      that’s like saying if a mom can’t take care of a baby, then to just send it to a slaughter house rather than giving it up for adoption… I can’t believe people like you exist in this world..

    2. Your response was slightly insensitive, but highly logical. I love horses, am an avid trainer and rider, and horses play a huge roll in our everyday work. People need to realize that with life comes death. As humans, many of us are excepting of the idea of offering our organs for anothers use or to further research in science and medicine. I feel that a horse also should have the chance to be useful even when its work career is over. Its the death of the horse that really needs to be looked at. If we can offer these animals a humane and kind death, then is it really right to keep then alive until they die on their own from bodily system failure? No being wants to spend the last yrs of life in constant pain. Humane slaughter is sometimes the right option.

    3. You are an idiot and have no grasp on what you are saying. Ignorance is what you are. If you want to eat your “Steaks”. Then go down to the local cow slaughterhouse and see how “humanely” they are killed. If you can’t kill them yourself then you have no business eating them. I’m very sorry for your display of total ignorance on a comment board for all to see.

  48. Horse meat is unfit for humans to eat.
    Food and Chemical Toxicology, Volume 48, Issue 5, May 2010, Pages 1270-1274
    Association of phenylbutazone usage with horses bought for slaughter: A public health risk

    Nicholas Dodman, Nicolas Blondeau, Ann M. Marini
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T6P-4YF5RB0-1&_user=10&_coverDate=05%2F31%2F2010&_alid=1317753422&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_cdi=5036&_sort=r&_docanchor=&view=c&_ct=4&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=2f8a2c55a559e5963d0f1e02b682319c

    Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – prohibited as well Phenylbutazone, known as “bute,” is a veterinary drug only label-approved by the Food & Drug Administration for use by veterinarians in dogs and horses. It has been associated with debilitating conditions in humans and it is absolutely not permitted for use in food-producing animals. USDA/FSIS has conducted a special project to for this drug in selected bovine slaughter plants under federal inspection. An earlier pilot project by FSIS found traces less than 3% of the livestock selected for testing, sufficient cause for this special project. There is no tolerance for this drug in food-producing livestock, and they and their by-products are condemned when it is detected. Dairy producers must not use this drug in food-producing livestock and if it is found, those producers will be subject to FDA investigation and possible prosecution.
    http://www.saanendoah.com/prohibiteddrugs.html

    Horse Owner Survey Shows NSAID Use Trends
    by: Edited Press Release
    April 30 2009, Article # 14073

    In a recent survey, 96% of respondents said they used nonsteroidal
    anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to control the joint pain and
    inflammation in horses, and 82% administer them without always
    consulting their veterinarian. More than 1,400 horse owners and trainers
    were surveyed to better understand attitudes toward NSAIDs, in a project
    sponsored by Merial, the maker of Equioxx (firocoxib).
    http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=14073

    99 percent of horses that started in California last year raced on bute, according to Daily Racing Form. Bute is banned in the United States and Canada for horses intended for the food chain. That’s a permanent ban.

  49. Lindsay Stordahl

    Thanks for the info, Tom. This is a good reminder of all the chemicals, drugs, hormones, etc. that end up in “meat” legally allowed in pet food. Sure, it is “unfit” for humans to eat, but there are few regulations about what goes into pet food. I highly suggest that everyone switch their dogs and cats to a natural or organic brand of food.

    http://www.thatmutt.com/2009/10/19/best-dog-food-ingredients/

    1. One Question:
      When you mention there being few regulations on what goes into pet food, have you taken time to read thru the AAFCO Official Publication? Not just the general outlines given on their website, but the actual regulations? I do believe it is less regulated than human food, but i don’t know if “few” really covers it.

  50. hello, i have to state my opinion here, being a horse lover, breeder, and running an equine rescue and retirment ranch, feeding these horses to our pets, in my eyes, in 100% wrong. i love ALL animals and do not agree in any way shape or form with the way they are treated. it is cruel, very very cruel.. even the way our “meat animals” are raised and killed. what many dont realize is that where the cattle mainly are raised from the start in cramped and cruel conditions (which again is never right, and should be corrected) the horses sent to slaughter are more than often our loving pets and companions until people get sick of them, they get too old, or we outgrow that equines size so then people just throw them away and what happens just happens. these horses often referred to as “dumb animals” serve their entire lives to us and do as we wish normally with no complaint as long as they are treated properly. they win us money at shows and rodeos, grow with us and our children, and all around are part of the family again until we grow sick of them. this is going to step on toes and i am sorry but this must be asked as im sure theres another that thinks the way i do, would you send your human family member to slaughter when they are ill, hurt, old or just not useful any longer? i think not. im not saying its right to raise innocent animals for slaughter because its not right by any means, the industry should start raising the slaugher stock right and humanely but it wont ever happen. but maybe if enough complain, they may possibly being to raise them right and kill them right, make sure they are dead before bleeding them out. anyways, ive ranted enough for now… thanks for reading.

  51. I am only a young horse lover, and last school semester, I wrote a persuasive on treating horses with respect. I am only twelve and there is a lot I can do. Although, I don’t own a cat or dog, I do own a Japanese Fighting Fish, but that is another story for another time. I agree with Samantha, and Lisa S., but, I do not agree with Waltraut Krause. He or she must be a horse hater.

  52. Lindsay Stordahl

    Agreed.

    For anyone who wants to see the cruelty first hand, just go to YouTube and search “horse slaughter.” The videos make me sick so I am not posting them on my blog. But feel free to do the search if you don’t believe how inhumanely horses are treated.

  53. OH MY GOD! I’m beyond shocked by this post!!! I don’t know how people can be this way… there’s no doubt that that’s exactly the reason why this world is the way it is and that’s EXACTLY why I feed my Poodle Holistic dog food… this is SICK.

  54. Canada has 6 or 7 slaughterhouses and kills them for Asian countries and a few European countries. They claim to kill them humanely, but they allow 5% of all killings (throat slit)to happen while the animal is still conscious!!!! So disgusting.
    Canada and Mexico are both exploiting and torturing our animals. Not to mention that most of the horses have medicine and antibiotics in them – they’re not fed the same as cattle. Have fun, unethical “gourmet” eaters.

  55. Thank you for your comment, Eduardo. Your poodle is lucky to eat holistic dog food.

    Donna, it’s terrible what goes on in those slaughterhouses. We don’t even know how bad it is. Thanks for your comment.

  56. i think if you site peta as a credible source for animal treatment it completely makes anything you write about invalid. peta is nothing but a bunch of eco-terrorists that stage “undercover videos” and euthanize animals by the thousands that are adoptable. they are not in it for the animals. they’re in it for the publicity…..

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I hesitated to use PETA as a source because I know there are people who do not believe a word PETA reports. Still, if you say you disagree with PETA because you are concerned that it kills so many animals, you must be concerned for the poor horses and other animals that are being slaughtered inhumanely.

  57. Um I don’t see how u can be okay with eating regular meat and be completely against horse meat. THEY ARE ALL TORTURED AND KILLED THE SAME. It is so disturbing and I can’t belive some of the sick things that go on to these poor animals. They don’t even gey a say, they have no choice no way to fight it, they are helpless and I wish we could all see how horrible it really is and become vegetarians. Even if u don’t have a heart and don’t care for animals there are a million and one reasons not to eat/support it. Hormones going into your body, the enviornment being destroyed from slaughterhouses, the economy and all money used to raise them just to be killed, etc. Obviously my opinion on this issue is clear that I do not agree with horses being killed for pet food, or for any reason at all, along with all other animals.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Thank you for your comment. I agree with you. I am a (mostly) vegetarian because it bothers me how the animals are treated before they reach our dinner plates. Not just horses, but cows, pigs, chickens, etc. It’s terrible. But good points about how unhealthy it can be to eat meat considering it is full of hormones, dyes, etc. If you are going to eat meat, definitely buy the highest quality, organic meat.

  58. I have dogs, cats and horses. And no, I don’t care if my dogs or cats were to eat horse meat in their food. Let me explain the truth as a horse owner.

    Just as dogs and cats are bred irresponsible, so are horses. It is not uncommon for an irresponsible horse owner to pasture their mares together with a stud and end up with a pasture full of unusable horses after a few years. It goes without saying that these horses go without proper medical care and proper training. Since the slaughter sales have ended there is no outlet for these animals now. I live in North Carolina and will give you a couple of examples of what is happening here.

    For the most part, horse traders and or owners use to take the old, sick or otherwise unusable horses to the slaughter sale where they were purchased by the pound. Although that sounds cruel it was a necessity. Now, you have to be careful of taking any horse to the sale because when you exit you will find horses that did not sell abandoned and tied to your trailer. Also, because horses are obviously more expensive to keep than your average pet dog, people simple cannot afford to maintain them so they are starving to death and going without proper care. So what’s worse, killing a horse and keeping it in the food chain or torturing it through starvation and disease?

    It is so easy to jump on a band wagon and join a cause but in this case it is a matter of choosing between two evils. I wish more slaughter houses would open if only to put an end to the cruelty going on in the horse world today. And by the way, keep in mind that the next hamburger, chicken or sausage you eat came to you via the death of an animal, a death no different from what the horses would experience.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Dawn, thank you for your comment. I certainly can’t argue with you. Very good points. I live in North Dakota, and I always hear of horses that are abandoned and left to starve or they just simply are not cared for and the owner just doesn’t feed them while continuing to live on the property. Unfortunately this is reality as people can’t afford their horses.

      That being said, I do not believe it is OK to slaughter any animal the way it is done in our country. Shooting an animal and killing it instantly is one thing. Hoisting it upside down and slitting its throat is another.

    2. What makes cats and dogs more important than horses? Over 90 percent of the hprses slaughtered are perfectly healthy horses. If horses ate meat, would you want them to eat cats and dogs?

    3. Dawn thanks for putting a little bit of reality out there. Kindness to the animal is always what needs to be put first place. That includes a humane death. I would like to get the issue of horse slaughter more out in the open so that people who are not from a livestock or ranching background can realize that often there is more to the story than the highlights that news and different activist groups show. As someone who works in a vet clinic I have seen too many animals that the owner holds onto too long. Life always ends in death. Lets give them an honorable one.

  59. i think that horses have feelings to and that we can find some other f’n animal to kill! wild horses or just horses are the best animla the bible says that god is going to ride down on a white HORSE!!! we are killing gods creation! if they do not stop i am going the jack slap them and then drop kick them! and this is coming from a 13 year old and i am so mad!
    STOP HORSE MILLS NOW!!

    1. Wow you are a stupid child, grow up. The bible says to honor all living things, not just people and horses! just because you think thEy are “cuter” than pigs or cows means we should’nt eat them? That’s just DUMB! But anyone that believes in that bible-thumping nonsense is obviously braindead anyway… Oh and hey, SANTA ISNT REAL EITHER!

  60. I am a vegetarian and have been one for almost 7 years now. That being said, why is it such a big deal to use horse meat? How many millions of cows get slaughtered on a regular basis where people do not make a fuss about it?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I agree with you. I don’t see a difference. It’s just that people are more emotionally attached to horses and see them as pets, kind of like dogs. Fewer people care about cows, pigs, chickens, etc. I think that’s too bad. They all suffer.

  61. 1. Animals rights groups like PETA, HSUS and ASPCA pressure the USDA to stop inspecting horse slaughterhouses.

    2. The USDA gives in.

    3. Horse slaughterhouses go out of business.

    4. More horses die of starvation than ever before, or have to endure long train trips to be slaughtered elsewhere.

    5. AR groups fail to apologize.

    6. Smart people stop funding HSUS, PETA, ASPCA etc.

    7. HSUS, PETA, ASPCA, etc. go belly up.

    8. Horses, dogs and people can finally be happy.

  62. The 2 issues that have been raised here, which I would like to comment on, are those concerning how healthy the meat is and whether, or not, the kill technique is humane. First, for the health part, if you are talking purely organic horse meat, yes it is healthy. But, the only “organic” horse meat you will find are the Mustangs. Who, of course, will be rounded up by helicopters brutalized and finally shipped out for slaughter. (Do a youtube search for mustang round ups.) Now, aside from the Mustangs, most horse meat, from American horses, will have LOADS of poisons in it. The worst being Bute, a common pain killer that never completely leaves the flesh of the horse. Then there are deworming medications, anti inflammatories, tranquilizers, etc. As for the humane question, it’s not just about kill technique. Horses shipped to slaughter are subjected to days of being jammed into a small pen, then a semi trailer and finally the slaughter house. They frequently sustain horrible injuries during this time, often broken bones, terrible wounds, etc. They also are not given food or water during their transport. If the plant in ND is opened and horses from FL are shipped there, the time spent in the semi will be without food and water. So, apart from the actual kill, humane or not, horses are subjected to days of suffering, prior to slaughter.

    1. Just addressing your concerns about drug residues with a “Quick Note” on Pharmacology:
      So every drug has a half-life (t1/2) and that is the time that it takes the body to metabolize half of the amount of that drug given. Also every drug used in large animals(including horses) has a withdrawal period. The withdrawal period is ten times the half-life. 10(t1/2). It is not legal to sell an animal before the withdrawal date has been met. So if you give a horse 1cc of phenylbutazone( I chose 1 as a simple number to demonstrate on) after 1 halflife the horse still has .5cc in his system, after two halflifes horse has . 25cc left in system (you get the point so I’ll just list the next eight amounts so you can check my math, correct me if i’m wrong)
      .125cc
      .0625cc
      .03125cc
      .015625cc
      .0078125cc
      .0039062cc
      .0019531cc Ok, so this amount here is what would be left in the animal before it is even legal to ship. Remember now that they most often are not killed the same day they are shipped so there will even be less.
      It is very true that drug residues are a serious issue. But remember that next time you pop an Advil for a headache…. they are also drugs and have a half life, and therefore you can keep dividing the amount in half as your body metabolizes it. So in the same way that Bute never leaves a horses body, Advil never leaves yours. Hope that makes sense, and helps put it into perspective for you.

  63. And this is why I hate dogs. Well, a big part of why.

    Slaughter woahs:
    1. Over 90% of horses shipped are perfectly healthy, loveable horses.

    2. The horses are terrified when they are killed. Would you want to die terrified?

    3. Most of the horses are 100% concious when they are hung and bled out.

    There are no pros. Try and make an argument and I’ll counter it.

  64. This is bull S***. That is all I will say cause other wise I will head out on a rant. Horses are amazing animals who should not be sent to slaughter just because they reach the end of their racing careers or they can’t win any more ribbons. This world will not be fixed until we can have a pure, considerate, strong, and honest President. But that will never happen and they will just keep passing BS laws like this one.

  65. The majority of the horses that are shipped to slaughter are HEALTHY, GOOD animals. They want you to believe it is only old and severly injured animals, and that it is all rainbows and butterflies when they are slaughtered. This is not so. These horses are treated horrible! Starved, beaten and drug by their ears and tails when they collapse from being weak. The once healthy and often loved horses are deminished to nothing more then a beaten, sad, skeletal form. They have emotional damage and are totally confused. They do not treat these animals right at all. People need to get educated, and we need to STOP this. Once you have seen a once beautiful creature belittled to such a state, with actual tears of pain, sadness, and fear in their eyes, if you have a heart, will completly change your mind on this monstrocity that they deam humane.

  66. I was doing some research to write my English paper for my college class and happened upon your blog. I have a few false things to resolve, but I’ll start with a little bit of background about myself.

    I am an avid horse rider, trainer, and admirer. I have worked in the rehabilitation of rescued horses that have been abused for year on end, I have seen the miracle of horses giving birth a million times over, I have my own horses and love them dearly, I have more dedication to horses and their well-being than anyone could imagine. I taught myself to ride and train when I was 14 years old, and since then I have built up quite a name for myself. I train using only natural horsemanship methods (meaning that I use trust and “speak horse” language using body signals instead of force) My best friend and I run a therapy program for disabled children in our area (as you’ll see on my website). we also offer riding lesson. I have said all of this to let you know my extensive background of horses and the horse industry and so that you don’t view me as inhuman.

    This isn’t a targeted spiel aimed solely at you, it is more for all of the people who are misinformed on horse slaughter. (A lot of your sources were very biased and uninformed themselves) Personally, I am pro horse slaughter. I believe that slaughtering facilities in the United States SHOULD be reopened, and here are my reasons why:
    – Horses were slaughtered in the United States since the 1970’s and until 2007, when they were forced to cease operation because of budget cuts in the USDA fiscal budget (happened in 2006). For a year after however, the facilities were individually funding their inspections to keep the industry alive. Once the recession hit though, this became impossible too sustain. Until the slaughter facilities were forced to cease operation slaughter was a viable option of horse disposal.
    – In most places there are very limited options of horse disposal when a horse become too ill to keep humanely alive or when they are ready to pass on. Options include: burying (however most cities and towns and counties have ordinances that prevent the burying of too many animals in a small amount of land, in a city though it would e impossible to bury a horse); incineration (this is cremation, but the averages over $2,000- this just isn’t feasible for most horse owners); some places (though not very many) allow the disposal of horses into landfills (yet again the prices are pretty high for this option and most people can’t stand the thought of taking their horse to a landfill to be disposed of)
    – Another thought: horses in the United States that are unwanted are being sent to slaughter facilities in Mexico and Canada since our facilities are closed. However, in mexico and Canada there aren’t nearly the same amount of regulations regarding the humane treatment of the horses in transit to slaughter or at the facilities themselves. In Mexico horses are killed using a puntilla knife which is used to cut the spinal cord. This renders the horse paralyzed but not unconscious. This means that the horse is in pain but cannot move or scream in pain.
    – In America: horses are sent to slaughter on trucks where they can only be on board for less then 24 hours and must receive stops where they can get off the truck and have access to food and water every 8 hrs thereafter. Also, horses must e able to bear weight on all 4 feet, not be blind in both eyes, and not pregnant and about to have a foal in order to be eligible for slaughter. They must also be able to walk themselves onto the “kill floor” We use a captive bolt, the same process as is used with all other livestock in America (beef, swine, sheep, goat, etc.). This goes through the horses cerebral cortex and kills them instantly. Therefore, they feel no pain and it is a very fast process.
    – We do not use horse meat in America for glue, dog food, or other items such as. We do however use our meat as food for large cats in zoos (A large cat can eat 6-8 lbs of horse meat each day) and we ship our meat to other countries where regulations on the food supply aren’t nearly as strict.

    I believe in horse slaughter as an industry.

    – Think of where all of those unwanted horses are to go if we don’t re-open our facilities. People can’t make any money off of them and so they don’t want to spend any money on them. They leave them die from starvation and neglect in backyards, woods, and even in cities. I feel that slaughtering the horse, a death meant to prevent suffering is a much more humane option than letting a horse die slowly of starvation and neglect.
    – Horse slaughter would also make a large economic impact. Horse slaughter created a revenue of 65 million dollars a year and opened over 500,000 jobs- reopening these facilities would recreate these prime economic situations. this would greatly help our economy out of the recession we are in.

    Please feel free to ask any question you may have, I will answer anything that I can. Again, I am a horse person through and through- but I also believe that horse slaughter in America would be beneficial to the welfare of our horses and would prevent a lot of suffering.

    1. I frankly don’t care for your opinions on horse slaughter. There is more than ample proof out there that horse slaughter is NOT humane. Not one bit. From transport to kill floor.Documented fact. The closure of slaughter plants did not hurt the horse industry. A slow economy did. Many industries were effected. Horse slaughter is still at your access if you want to ship them across the borders and 100,000 horses a yr still end up there. The same amount of cruelty will be and were in the past, faced by horses US slaughter plants as the would across the borders. It is complete BULL that horses in US would be slaughter any more humanely here than they do there. Horse abuse is CAUSED by the slaughter industry because no one in that pipeline cares about the welfare of an animal that is bound for slaughter, that is bound to be killed. The same is true for beef and pork and chickens. Cruelty is routine and is covered up as much as possible in all industries.
      As for creating 500,000 jobs??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME???Prime economic situation? I don’t know where you get your estimates but I will take that as a complete lie. Besides the jobs offered at slaughter plants are dangerous, low paying and in many cases the only people who take them are illegal immigrants! No one needs these monster facilities in their backyards. There are studies and reports that prove slaughter plant in towns increases criminal activities, from theft to rape!!! If I can find the link I will post it but can’t find it at the moment.

      You do not care about the animal if you want to slaughter it. WE have extreme over population of dogs and cats but we are not opening slaughter plants to fuel Asia with dog/cat meat because of it. If people did not breed inferior animals that they want to dump then we wouldn’t have to many horses out there.

    2. No way horse slaughter industry would provide 500,000 jobs. Those jobs go to illegals who torture animals and have far different culture than most Americans.
      the jobs are minimum pay, and FACT many working in slaughter houses, find them selves becoming angry, disturbed due to the suffering they see of the animals no matter if they are pro slaughter. Blood, the more blood they see, humans change and become more abusive to the animals who have suffered enough. Many felons need a job like this. This statement has been made the past few years when plants have been attempting to be reopened. Horse slaughter plants create HUGE environmental issues. Dallas Crown in Kaufman was an enormous cost to OUR taxpayers, while the Belgian owners paid like 5.00 in taxes. yes, they ruined OUR environment, and laughed all the way to the bank.
      So much of the horse slaughter world is illegals. Our own racing industry contributes to 40% of the horses going to slaughter. EVery one wants the kentucky Derby winner so breeding never stops. Times change, so many country people have moved to town, and no longer have horses,
      our country is usually in a drought, our hay is sold to China, ( why cant Americans think of our land and our animals)
      So the Americans are stuck with super high hay prices as the farmers want to grow corn for ethinol, and others make big bucks selling to China. and the rest dont want to work, they sell horses for a living to slaughter. Many people lost jobs, homes, and their horse got dumped.

      we are one sick society, and what horses endure for the almighty dollar is wrong, but the human race is just plain disgusting.
      we do not raise horses to eat them. PERIOD.
      Europeans slowly remove horse meat from their shelves. So those folks who wanted to breed and breed are now left with a high maintenance animal and want someone else to be responsible and care for it. Our
      society takes the wrong road, and dumps their dogs, horses that were once the family pet. If you breed it, you feed it. but animals are treated like a piece of garbage. far too much cruelty to humans and children ..

    3. Interesting perspective! It’s easy to get angry about something when you don’t have all the facts. I feel more knowledgable now (and less angry!).

    4. Sadly, and as politely as I can possibly put this, your full of it. You sound like a horse breeder who sees the abundance of horses as a threat to your profit margin. You claim to be a student doing research. I invite you to actually visit a kill pen, and follow the horses as they are trucked off to slaughter. Take pictures. Write a paper. Horses are sold off because 1) Breeders want to make more money by selling more horses 2) Unwanted horses are discarded even though they are perfectly healthy, sound and perfect for recreational activity or even as pets and 3) They may not be sound enough for sport or recreation but the owners can easily replace them and as you say, it’s expensive to get rid of a horse. Maybe you favor the fox hunters’ practice of taking an unwanted horse out into a file, putting a bullet through its head and letting the hounds eat it for lunch. Maybe you realize that this is far less horrific than being trucked for days through the desert without water or food and being killed by savages who would just as soon slit a human throat if there was a buck in it. You think I’m kidding, right? To come here and spout the virtues of raising sport horses for profit makes you look pretty naive, in my opinion. I have two horses that were literally one day from being shipped off to slaughter. The kill pens they were kept in received them as healthy, sound horses with no issues other than being discarded. After two or three weeks of neglect they were skinny, weak, infected with various illnesses such as strangles, and clearly neglected to a criminal degree. We tried for a third one who was supposed to be a gorgeous mover and a perfect recreational pony. She died within 2 days despite a heroic effort at a vet hospital. So keep spouting your economic benefit theory if you like, but the people that run your horse killing business are mean criminals who abuse the lack of government enforcement and torture these poor animals to death. There are laws on the books against animal cruelty that are rarely enforced, and the shippers can make a lot of money. There is a kill pen in New Jersey whose owners have recently installed an in-ground pool and drive a Mercedes. There is no charity there, only killing off as many horses as they can so that they can sell more fresh ones. If you want to prevent horse suffering, stop overbreeding pony mills and enforce laws against animal cruelty. And yes, consider the fact that your dog food is made from horses that may contain carcinogens and toxic by-products that are unregulated by the USDA because there is no funding for horse meat inspection. The abbatoirs in the USA were not closed because of the horror, it was about money. Around here, when people neglect their horses they end up in jail. They are barred from keeping horses ever again. That should be nationwide. Just like with puppy mills, dog fights, cat hoarders and poachers.

  67. Lindsay Stordahl

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I can definitely see this side. It’s been almost four years since I wrote this post, and my vews today are not identical to my views then. I don’t like the idea of any animal being slaughtered, but I do eat some meat now, and it wouldn’t make sense foe me to criticize the meat industry while at the same time supporting it. I do see that there is, possibly, a place for horse slaughter. I don’t like it, and I wish there were better options, but I do understand why it might be the best option.

    I guess it’s a difficult issue and I don’t know exactly what I think. I am also not a horse owner, and have never struggled to pay for the care or disposal of a horse.

    Thank you for everything you do for the horses.

  68. I was raised on a farm and have had the smell of horse on my clothes everyday for 16 years. I think they’re magnificent animals that have helped humans create grand civilizations and so-on. However, during times of war and great financial depressions, families in VERY rural areas across the world would humanely slaughter a horse to stay alive.
    My grandmother ate horse meat as a child during WWI. There were rations and one had to do what was necessary to stay alive.
    I’ve eaten Horse meat prepared in a restaurant during travels through Asia.
    I don’t think that any government or entity should make laws or regulations about what is “ethical” for consumption. Taboo as it may seem, it’s not their business. We need to start realizing that we’re the only creatures on this planet with a working conscious and free-will.

  69. As a kid in Boston, we used to buy horse meat at the local A&P. It was at the end of the butcher’s counter and sold for dog food. I bought some a few times, but when our dog got run over by a streetcar the feeding ended.

  70. Why no dog food has horse meat in it is not correct — apparently there is some kind of sensitivity to it by certain breeds but I can’t recall exactly which breeds but I think it’s collies. Since most dog food is made for many different kinds of breeds, and there are many mixed bred dogs whose ancestry is uncertain, the dog food industry has eschewed the use of horse meat so they wouldn’t get sued by dog owners whose dogs were sensitive to it.

    The slaughter process does not start with the horses hit in the head until they are unconscious. For horses slaughtered in EU approved facilities captive bolt stun gun is used just like with other livestock. Captive bolt doesn’t work as well on horses as it does with other livestock because horse brains are further back in their head so they wake up within 30 seconds or so to find themselves strung up by their back legs and are bled out while they are conscious; whereas other livestock don’t wake so quickly.

    The puntilla knife is used in Mexican slaughterhouses which are not approved by EU standards and the meat harvested can not be sent to the EU market for human consumption. Some of the Canadian slaughterhouses use a rifle to kill the horses before slaughtering them.

    Another reason not to slaughter horses for human consumption is they generate huge amounts of adrenaline (also known as cortisol which is a banned substance) when they are frightened and the endocrine system in horses is so efficient that adrenaline is dispensed extremely rapidly throughout their system. Horse run fast because of this adrenaline – they are bred to run fast! I suggest you read this for more in-depth information about adrenaline in horses: http://horseactivist.com/

    To quash the myth that slaughterhouses are necessary to accommodate those people who can not take care of their horses anymore and need a place for old and sick horses – that’s not what the kill-buyers purchase to send to slaughter! They buy younger healthy horses. Keep in mind the beef industry sends steers not older than 3 years old to be slaughtered – anything older would not have tender meat and brings a lower price on the market.

    Here is a recent investigative report on a slaughterhouse in Canada owned by Bouvry Exports:
    http://bit.ly/SrUAwX

  71. Good info about int’l econ laws re animal products. Poor knowledge of Canada. Brush up on that before comparing it to Mexico.

  72. I am a horse owner. Horses are not raised as livestock or animals meant to be consumed. The reality is that horses are large animals with long lives. They get shots twice a year. They are given high doses of PESTICIDE dewormers 2-4 times/year, sometimes DAILY as additive to their grain to prevent flies/worms. Every 3 weeks mine have Equispot put on which is absorbed through their skin to pass through their whole system to dramatically helps repel ticks/flies. Any horses that have arthritis or joint pain are very commonly given Adequan or Legend, and Phenylbutazone(a BAD CARCINOGEN banned from the HUMAN FOOD CHAIN in every country). Every single thing I use on my horses says on the label, “Not for use in horses intended for human consumption” because they STAY in the animal and have been PROVEN to cause cancer in people who eat horse meat. OMG people, DON’T EVER FEED YOUR PETS HORSE MEAT! They’ve also had cases, despite the dog food industry SAYING they don’t use horse meat, where pentobarbitol has been found in dog food. This is because they LIE and are sourcing the “animal byproducts” or “animal fat” from rendering facilities where some people send their horses as a cheap alternative to burying them. When this has happened, DOGS DIED from the LEFTOVER pentobarbitol, after all the intense processing. Can you possibly imagine what your pet would get if you fed them unprocessed horse meat? JUST SAY NO!

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