Horse Slaughter

Help the horses by making horse slaughter illegal… Forever!

Congress Introduces Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) ActHorsemeat: a Product of Cruelty, Dishonesty and Drugging March 14, 2013

Humane Groups Petition FDA to Block Companion March 27, 2012

Rhapsody’s Story and the Ugly Truth about Horse Slaughter October 17, 2011

Slaughterhouses in Operation

The Humane Society of the United States speaks out: End Horse Slaughter Permanently

The Truth About Slaughter

URGENT AWI eALERT: How Many Horses Must Die Before Congress Acts? September 2, 2009

Thousands of U.S. horses slaughtered in Mexico for food August 15, 2009 KHOU-TV 11 News in Houston Video Report WARNING: GRAPHIC FOOTAGE

Thousands of U.S. horses slaughtered in Mexico December 20, 2008 KHOU-TV in Houston Video Report WARNING: GRAPHIC FOOTAGE

Animals’ Angels photo grab from Beltex grisliest ever December 2, 2008 Video Report WARNING: GRAPHIC FOOTAGE

Debate over slaughtering horses gains new life September 24, 2008 Congress pressed to ban U.S. trade in meat destined for dinner tables, MSNBC

Horse Slaughter in Canada YouTube Video Jun 11, 2008

Tex-Mex Horse Meat January 10, 2008

We must end horse slaughter June 12, 2007

Why Belgians Shoot Horses in Texas for Dining in Europe September 21, 2005

Should Congress ban horse-meat trade? PLEASE vote yes to ban horse slaughter.

Please ask your Senators and Representatives to support the following bills:

  • H.R.249 will reinstate the 1971 act to protect wild horses and burros from being sent to slaughter.
  • H.R.503/S.311 will ensure that the U.S. plants remain closed and that U.S. horses will NOT be shipped over inte ational borders for the purpose of slaughter. Horse slaughter in Mexico is up by 365%.To find your federal and state elected officials go to: HSUS -or- AWI

 The Truth About Slaughter

Currently there are two foreign owned slaughter plants in Texas (Bel-Tex and Crown), and a third recently re-opened in Illinois, (Cavel International). According to the Department of Agriculture, over 100,000 horses are slaughtered a year alone in the U.S. and Canada, and with the re-opening of Cavel International more will be slaughtered this year. In addition, thousands of horses are inhumanely transported from the U.S. to Mexico, dramatically increasing the numbers of American horses killed for human consumption.

Horses are treated inhumanely when shipped in double-decker cattle trucks, for hours, without food, water or rest. Upon arrival at the slaughter house, many too weak to stand, they are cattle prodded, dragged and whipped into the “kill box”, only to wait for their inevitable fate. Although Federal law requires that horses must be rendered unconscious prior to having their throats slit, many horses endure repeated blows by the bolt pistols which drives a spike into their skulls. Many times the equipment is faulty, and the horses are conscious when having their throats slit.

Horse Slaughter is not just for Premarin Horses Not only are Premarin mares, foals and stallions bound for slaughter, but it’s estimated that one third of slaughter bound horses are bred for racing. Horses removed from the wild through the BLM program, rodeo horses, camp horses, show horses, “backyard” horses, rental horses and stolen horses are all targets fort he “killer buyers” who act as middlemen for the slaughter houses. Making cat or dog food is not the reason for killing horses, the European and Japanese palate is. So Why are we killing American horses for the European and Japanese to enjoy? As long as horse slaughter plants are operating, and horse slaughter is legal in certain states, it is easy for people to discard their healthy, young, old, injured and unwanted horses, and for a profit, since they are sold by the pound. It is also just as easy for “killer buyers” to obtain these horses and sell them to the slaughter house.

Reasons pro-slaughter forces use to justify supporting horse slaughter: Myth – If horse slaughter becomes illegal, there would be too many horses in our country and not enough homes for them.

Truth – Of the 6,900,000 estimated horse population in the U.S. less than 1% of horses are slaughtered or “processed”. In addition, if horse slaughter is banned, horse theft will be almost eliminated, breeders will be more selective in how many horses are bred each year, PMU farms will reduce the number of mares bred, or individuals who have horses that can no longer be used for rodeos, horse racing, etc. would have to take responsibility in either finding another home, retire them to a sanctuary or responsibly euthanize them.

Myth – Their concerns are humanitarian, not financially driven.

Truth – Abuse happens every day, and more so in the horse industry. From the time the horse is in the feed lot, taken to auction, put on the double decker trucks (for 36 hours without food or water), to the time they are unloaded at the slaughterhouse, these horses endure a tremendous amount of suffering. Once in the slaughterhouse they see other horses being slaughtered, they smell the blood, they hear the screams and they see their friends being hoisted up by one leg, usually still conscious and alive and bled to death. Most horses are the by-product of the for profit horse industry, and slaughter is a quick and profitable way of discarding all unwanted horses. To see the horrors behind the slaughterhouse doors click on (please note the video footage is extremely graphic). To view pictures of horses in the slaughter house click on

Myth – The AVMA and USDA ensures the horses destined for slaughter are treated humanely and have experts who make professional recommendations enforcing the regulations.

Truth – The footage taken over the years proves this is not the case. Statements taken from slaughterhouse workers, police officers and many others comment that horses are severely dismembered, abused and tortured while still alive. There are not enough experts that can monitor the atrocities that happen in the slaughterhouse plants.

Myth – Many people can’t afford to humanely euthanize their horse.

Truth – The truth is that the average American horse owner would prefer to euthanize his/her horse rather than sending them to the slaughter. However, many individuals think their horse is going to a good home (through an auction or to an individual in the business to sell horses to slaughter) and without their knowledge are being sold to the slaughterhouses. It is documented that 78% of horses being slaughtered are healthy companion animals. Furthermore, most people who have horses have the financial means to pay a veterinarian to humanely euthanize their horse. Having horses is not a “hobby” for the poor.

Myth – If we don’t have horse slaughter plants in the U.S. old, sick and dying horses would have no where to go.

Truth – The truth is, that over 78% of horses slaughtered each year, are our healthy companion animals, foals and wild horses and burros removed from public lands by the BLM (estimated 90% of the wild horses and burros are sent to slaughter concedes Tom Pogacnick, Director of BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program).

Are we going to allow these myths to continue to fool the public as to the real reasons behind horse slaughter?

Help us end slaughter by donating. Your donations will got toward our campaign efforts to end slaughter in America.

URGENT AWI eALERT: As of 9/2/2009 70,629 Horses Have Been Slaughtered THIS YEAR and every 5 Minutes one more dies!!

How Many Horses Must Die Before Congress Acts?

Click here for legislation updates.

Since 2001, when the Animal Welfare Institute began the national campaign to end horse slaughter for human consumption, hundreds of thousands of horses have been brutally killed and their meat sold overseas to be served to the patrons of upscale restaurants in Europe and Asia. Americans have spoken out against the cruelty and horse slaughter no longer occurs on US soil – but tens of thousands of American horses are still slaughtered every year in Canada and Mexico and they want to reopen slaughterhouses in the US.

To take action, click on the the American Horse Slaughter Clock, which actively counts the number of American horses being brutally slaughtered by knife and gun in Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses. Be sure to bookmark this page, share it with friends, family and colleagues, and check back for the most recent number of deaths as a result of Congressional inaction – and to find out how you can help.

As we continue our fight to end this tragedy through passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA), which would end the trade for good, we must remember that one American horse is slaughtered every 5 minutes as the bill languishes in the Congress. It is only a small handful of legislators who are obstructing the bill’s final passage, which would put an immediate end to a form of animal cruelty that is easily preventable. These legislators are doing so at the behest of the horse slaughterhouses that publicly advocate horse slaughter as a humane form of horse population control but ultimately stand to profit from the cruel trade.

There is no excuse for why this measure has not swiftly moved through Congress. Co-sponsorship of the AHSPA shows strong bipartisan support, as did the four overwhelming floor votes in favor of ending slaughter through temporary appropriations amendments. Public support for this bill comes from an unequalled coalition of organizations, including the humane and equine rescue communities, the horse industry, veterinarians and celebrities. The campaign to end horse slaughter has also exposed what is wrong with our political system. How is it that two or three members of Congress have the absolute authority to obstruct the democratic process, despite overwhelming support for such an important piece of legislation?

Yet we can still make a difference. The American people are being heard through the overwhelming number of calls, emails and faxes that have flooded Congress in support of this issue. The majority of legislators are listening. Now we must redouble our efforts. Please share the American Horse Slaughter Clock and this AWI eAlert with friends, family, coworkers and your legislators. It is imperative that the public be heard on this issue. While support so far has been overwhelming, we can do even better for the horses.

AWI will not stop its campaign on behalf of America’s horses until the clock reads “Zero.”

How Many Horses Must Die Before Congress Acts?

We must end horse slaughter

Re: the June 3 news brief “Horse slaughtering allowed to resume.” Letters to the editor Tucson,Arizona | Published: 06.12.2007

So now the last remaining foreign-owned horse-slaughter factory has won a restraining order to continue to slaughter our American horses for human consumption overseas, alleging that the state of Illinois does not have the constitutional right to outlaw a moral offense. Where does get the authority to tell Americans we cannot make our own laws?

It’s time for Congress to vote on the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. My gratitude to Reps. Raúl Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords, and Sen. John McCain, who are co-sponsors of the bill. The slaughter of our American horses for the profits of foreign companies and the appetite of haughty Europeans is unpatriotic. Julianne French, Tucson.

Tex-Mex Horse Meat Horse slaughtering has stopped in Texas, but the horses are still dying—now in Mexico

By Megan Feldman Published: January 10, 2008

Because a year ago the courts shut down the last two slaughterhouses in Texas that turned horses into meat for human diners, most people think American equines are no longer being killed to satiate appetites in Europe and Asia. Yet thousands of horses are being exported to Mexico and killed by more brutal means than in the now closed U.S. plants, and animal welfare advocates are determined to halt the practice by stepping up pressure on Congress for an export ban.

The battle pits activists against those in the heartland who make a living hauling horses to slaughter. For several Dallas women determined to keep local horses off foreign dinner plates, the past year has brought conflict.

Paula Bacon, former mayor of Kaufman and a longtime horse lover, was at a Stephenville horse auction in October when something caught her eye. It appeared to be a double-decker trailer, a means of transport designed for cattle and banned for hauling horses to slaughter.

As Bacon and her friend Julie Carramonte watched from Bacon’s pickup, they noticed a horse on the upper level and heard it whinny. Carramonte took out her camera and began snapping photos for Habitat for Horses, a horse rescue group, when the owner of the trailer appeared and approached the truck. Bacon didn’t want to talk. She says she’d heard tell of local “killer buyers” dubbed “the horse slaughter mafia,” rough men with criminal records and shady reputations who bought horses and drove them to the border for slaughter in Mexico.

Bacon stepped on the gas. The man, 22-year-old Trenton Saulters of Kaufman, shrieked insults and hurled rocks at her truck as they sped away, Bacon alleged in an October 10 police report. “He was in a fury,” she says.

The women had gone to the Stephenville auction, which is among the largest in the state and takes place the first Friday of each month, to observe the conditions and see how many horses were bought for slaughter. According to Uta Sondergeld-Queen, a Grand Prairie horse advocate, more than 100 horses sold at the auction each month are taken to Mexico for slaughter.

“It’s important to see how many are actually auctioned for slaughter so we can keep up with the numbers,” says Sondergeld-Queen, a German-born model and nurse’s assistant who owns eight horses and frequents auctions around the state. “I’m always ready to buy cheap horses that have been neglected and can still be turned around. Horses going to the meat market have usually been starved, abused, neglected.”

In 2006, some 100,000 horses in the U.S. were sold in auctions and killed in one of the three remaining slaughter facilities, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Then last year, Illinois banned horse slaughter and a federal court upheld a 60-year-old law in Texas that prohibits the slaughter of horses for human consumption (it doesn’t regulate the export of live horses, however). That meant the demise of the state’s last two horse slaughterhouses—Dallas Crown in Kaufman, which former mayor Bacon worked to shut down, and the Beltex plant in Fort Worth.

The European companies that ran the Texas facilities have since moved their operations to Mexico, setting up holding lots in Texas and New Mexico and opening slaughterhouses for horses along the border and farther south in the Mexican interior. Contract “killer buyers” attend auctions like the one in Stephenville and haul horses south to meet their end.

The Humane Society of the United States and other advocacy groups, which are pushing for passage of legislation languishing in Congress that would ban not only slaughter nationwide but the export of horses for slaughter, have denounced the treatment of horses during transport and inside the slaughterhouses. Humane Society video footage shows horses hurt while being herded into crowded trailers, and one video shows an injured horse left to die along the border. Images recorded inside a facility in Juarez show workers using knives to slice the backs of horses’ necks to paralyze them before slaughter.

Sondergeld-Queen, in her efforts to document abuse and rescue horses, has had a number of confrontations with Cheryl Moore, the co-owner of the Stephenville Cattle Co., which leases its barn for the monthly auction. It began a year ago, Sondergeld-Queen says, after an article in Texas Monthly described her observing the auction. Moore, she says, demanded to know what she was doing in this country, asked why she couldn’t mind her own business and called her a terrorist. In a later exchange in November, following the incident between Bacon and the killer buyer, Sondergeld-Queen says, Moore told her that “people who can’t mind their own business and want to fight for animal rights and get people out of work should be shot.”

Moore denies calling the activist names or issuing threats, but she says she did question her motives and ask her to leave. “I don’t remember calling her a terrorist,” says Moore, 57, who grew up on a farm and runs the 32-year-old cattle company with her husband. “I called her an animal activist—I don’t know if there’s a difference between an activist and a terrorist.”

To Moore, efforts to ban horse slaughter are just another misguided and irrational attempt to put people out of work. The sale price for horses has dropped, according to auctioneers and media reports, and Moore says she has lost between $10,000 and $20,000 in the past year because before the domestic slaughterhouses closed, the company hauled horses from around the country to the Beltex facility in Fort Worth.

“I heard last month the buyers were scared the market was gonna be nothing,” she says. “These ladies give money to the Humane Society, and they’re giving money to disrupt our economy. People in Dallas, they don’t have any touch with rural America…Why would you slit fellow Americans’ throats?” Not only is the slaughter ban economically disadvantageous, she says, it’s an example of encroaching governmental regulations. “This is just the beginning,” she says. “If they say you can’t eat horse meat, next thing they’ll say you can’t eat goat. It’s about the government telling you what you can and can’t do.”

It’s not that she has anything personal against Sondergeld-Queen, she says, but her job is to make sure the auction goes smoothly. Plus, she doesn’t like being directed by a foreigner. “What really burns me up is, you come over here from another country and tell me what to do?” Moore says. “Can you imagine me going to Germany and telling them what to do?”

As for claims that horses are subjected to brutal treatment during the auction and slaughter process, Moore, like most slaughter supporters, argues that banning the practice only results in a surplus of lame, neglected horses. Slaughter opponents maintain the animals can be absorbed by shelters and humanely put to death via veterinarian-assisted euthanasia.

“I love my animals, but I learned a long time ago that if a dog gets run over, I get me another one—there’s lots of dogs that need love,” Moore says. “If these activists in order to cook a meal had to go out and wring a chicken’s neck, cut its head off, boil hot water, take its guts out, skin ’em and cook ’em for dinner, they wouldn’t be running around disturbing everyone else’s business.”


Wall Street Journal September 21, 2005 Why Belgians Shoot Horses in Texas for Dining in Europe