Study says horses experience stress before slaughter

It appears that horse slaughter is now part of the “happy meat” spin. “Happy meat” refers to the current marketing campaign by animal agriculture promoting the idea to consumers that if food animals are happy before they are slaughtered, then their meat is happy and people can feel happy about eating it.

Whoa, please.

At what first appeared to be a breakthrough in thinking in an article by Christa Lesté-Lasserre entitled “Horses Undergo Pre-slaughter Stress, Study Confirms” for the, she begins with:

That horses endure significant stress while waiting to be slaughtered has often been assumed. But a new study measuring stress hormone levels now confirms that theory, according to Italian researchers.

In the 45 minutes between removal from the holding area and stunning by captive bolt, horses’ norepinephrine levels rose tenfold and epinephrine levels increased to 30 times the base rate, said Elisabetta Micera, PhD, researcher in the department of animal production in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Bari and lead author of the research. Plasma cortisol and beta-endorphins also increased, according to the study.

Dr. Micera admits with her naked eye she could see that the horses she studied on their way to slaughter were highly stressed. These were horses who were purpose bred for slaughter she points out. Horses who had been companion animals or had more human interaction would require another study.

After further discussion of these stress factors in slaughter horses, Dr. Micera states:

The best method to reduce stress during the pre-slaughter phase is to enrich the waiting environment,” Micera said. “Horses want to walk, and they need to be able to maneuver through sweeping, curved corrals in order to stay distracted.”

Enrich their waiting environment? Enter the ubiquitous Happy Meat Heroine Temple Grandin. The article ends with:

Pre-slaughter stress could be improved through the use of humane handling systems, chutes, and corrals such as those designed by Temple Grandin, PhD, professor of animal science at Colorado State University, Micera said.

Italian researchers? Can this be mere coincidence that the Italian Government is pursuing a ban on horse meat? Read more >>

Read more about happy horse meat here >>

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4 thoughts on “Study says horses experience stress before slaughter”

  1. My apologies to Temple Grandin, but the whole horse slaughter business sends me straight up the wall! So to Ms. Grandin I say, “The horse slaughter mongers’ seek to sanctify their bloody Kool Aid by putting your name on the cup.” They’re such clever cowards. I still wonder what she and her research partner think about the current state of horse slaughter.


    1. In my opinion, no one needs apologize to Temple Grandin, but it shows your kindness to do so. She is totally out of touch with the feelings of animals going to slaughter. Torture is torture. Would padding the board making water boarding more acceptable? Grandin is ripe for exploitation by the slaughter industry. She clearly lives in a world of her own imagining, and not the one where animals live and die cruelly to become someone’s dinner. The fact Grandin does not see this demonstrates again how out of touch she is. And now she has spawned an acolyte in Dr. Meceri (sp?).


  2. I feel so sad to see TEmple Grandin used so blatantly, not for what insight she may or may not provide but for her name recognition. In memos from the infamous slaughterhouse owning Wyoming representative to their group of hate mongers- “invoke the name of Temple Grandin not once but twice when dealing with legislators”- they could give a rat’s ass about what she may or may not know. Horses are not cows-plain and simple truth. A quiet corner to chew cud is not what a horse is looking for to calm stress in a life and death situation. They are a flight or fight animal. My sadness over the issue is compunded knowing that Grandin who did do much to ease suffering in cows is being used in a situation she clearly knows nothing about. It preys on the ineptitude of some legislators to take things on face value. They are hedging their bets on name recognition, adding further shame onto the most heinous of crimes- horse slaughter.


  3. I am so sick of everyone drinking Temple Grandin’s bloody Kool Aid. If you watched the recent movie, you’d think she qualified for sainthood.

    Has she ever SPECIFICALLY and EXTENSIVELY studied horse slaughter, or does she lump horses in with cows? Maybe someone should send her and the woman she often co-publishes with this report – I’d be interested in their reactions.


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