Fatal transactions: Sale of a horse can be a death sentence

Cross-posted from the Telegram & Gazette

Written by PAULA J OWEN

    When horse trainer Matthew D. Clarke found out that Munition, a 7-year-old thoroughbred gelding he had trained, had been sent into the slaughter pipeline, he was devastated.

    Mr. Clarke has trained horses for more than 40 years and is the farm manager for the New England Stallion Station on Marshall Farm Road in Fitchburg. He retired Munition from racing last year.

    “I was very upset about losing this horse,” said Mr. Clarke. “It was a real tragedy. Five days after he was taken from my farm, he was transferred to ‘Spud’ (Joseph F.) Noone, who is very well-known in the equine community in the Northeast. He gets horses together and ships them to an auction in New Holland, Pa. — one of the premier auctions for kill buyers. We turned up a day too late and found out he was sold.”

    Munition was sold to a New Hampshire “kill buyer,” he said, and most likely shipped to a Canadian slaughterhouse. Kill buyers buy horses at auction to ship out of the United States to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico, where their flesh is processed for human consumption.

    “It was too late for him,” he said. “He was gone. It is a terrible tragedy. I really still don’t understand Mara’s motivation in what she did. I believe it was naivety and stupidity.”

Read full report to follow the list of transactions that lead to Munition’s death in a slaughterhouse here >>

The article also provides the following Canadian horse slaughter data.


The number of horses slaughtered in Canada, and annual revenues for the last four years.

Year Number of Horses Avenue Revenue
2006 50,242 $20.4 million
2007 79,613 $77.0 million
2008 112,957 $109.4 million
2009 93,812 $86.9 million


Export increased since the 2007 closure of its last horse slaughter plant. In 2006, 35.6% of horses slaughtered in Canada were U.S. imports.

In 2009, the percentage grew to over half the horses slaughtered in Canada, at 56%.


The largest importers of Canadian horsemeat in 2009 were:

France $27.8 million
Switzerland $22.4 million
Japan $18.5 million
Belgium 10.8 million

Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada


For more information on horse slaughter, see Resources at the top of the page here on Tuesday’s Horse

4 thoughts on “Fatal transactions: Sale of a horse can be a death sentence”

  1. Yes, Nancy…for decades we’ve been opposing seal slaughter – and the Canadian government continues to support it. We have Private Members’ Bill C-544 (horse slaughter bill) and Bill C-468 (farm animal transportation bill) floating in government – with no advancement. We have Bill C-229, a bill to amend and strengthen our criminal code section dealing with animal cruelty, that has stalled since 2006…clearly, animal protection in not a priority with our government. We are such a great nation in other ways, but when it comes to animal protection, we are beyond shame…


    1. Animal protection advocates are battling a multi-million dollar industry that supplies horsemeat to nations who eat it. The same with the seal hunts. People buy the products from this ritualistic slaughter. They are the bottom line that these industries cater to, and the government in turn caters to them.


  2. As a Canadian…you have no idea how this saddens me…angers me and frustrates me. We are a nation who prides itself as a place of compassion …as peacemakers…as a place people all over the world want to come and live…yet we have antiquated animal welfare laws…a seal hunt that continues despite a shrinking market and worldwide antipathy … and slaughterhouses that supply the horse eaters of Europe and Asia. We also have no ban on, or labeling to inform on, the importation of cat and dog fur from Asia for use in toys, clothing and trinkets. We are allowing horrible suffering and cruelty to animals within our country and around the world and think we are a kind country. We are so in denial. The U.S. has it’s issues to deal with…it must not re-open the slaughterhouses…and here…we must somehow stop the ones that operate…even though there is evidence they operate badly and inhumanely.


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