Horses held in a pen awaiting export for slaughter. Photo by Kathy Milani for HSUS

Horse Slaughter Year in Review 2016


(Updated 9:57 pm).

The Horse Fund’s “Horse Slaughter Year in Review 2016” has arrived.

We have sections on how slaughter is impacting the lives of the horses in North America. We have sections on regulation, legislation and what drives it all — the human appetite for horse meat, and those willing to supply it legally and illegally, making themselves enormously wealthy.

Live Export

United States

American horses are still being exported for slaughter to Canada and Mexico at roughly the same number as they were when they were butchered on US soil.

So when you hear that American horses stopped being slaughtered when State laws shut down the three remaining slaughterhouses on US soil that is a lie.

Canada

Horses continue to be exported live from Canada to Japan for their meat.

Foals and Draft horses are the most prevalent types.

Why foals? For their tender young meat to make sushi. Sushi bars abound in Japan.

Why Draft horses? Well, first of all they produce more meat because of their size. Interestingly, the horses we have seen are actually Draft — Quarter Horse crosses which means they still yield a high volume of meat but are not too large to slaughter as a standard Draft horse would be.

Belgian horses tagged for slaughter for human consumption await export. Google image.
Belgian horses tagged for slaughter for human consumption await export. Google image.

And what industry uses Draft — Quarter Horse crosses? The Premarin® industry. These horses  are prized for the size of their bladders, and as mentioned above they are not too large to slaughter in mass production plants. Perfect.

Where in North America are Pfizer still plying its loathsome menopausal drug trade? Canada.

Last year Pfizer announced that Pfizer Canada are increasing the amount of pregnant mare’s urine collected from ranches in Manitoba and Saskatchewan in 2016 and 2017.

Slaughter Pipeline

Auctions

The horse slaughter process from beginning to end is referred to as entering “the slaughter pipeline”.

Entering the slaughter pipeline for a horse often begins at auction. The accounts are devastating.

A mare and foal slowly make their way down the aisle of a slaughter auction house, tagged for a brutal death. Google image. Photographer not cited.
A mare and foal slowly make their way down the aisle of a slaughter auction house, tagged for a brutal death. Google image. Photographer not cited.

Types of Horses Slaughtered

The USDA no longer keeps statistics on the types of horses sent to slaughter. Any numbers you see out there, no matter how carefully conceived, are still arrived at by a certain amount of guess work.

So who goes to slaughter? Everybody.

As a forum commenter put it, “Foals go to slaughter. Old horses go to slaughter. Riding school horses goes to slaughter. Lame horses go to slaughter. Sound horses go to slaughter. Heck, even a Kentucky Derby winner who failed in the breeding shed went to slaughter. No horse is immune from going to slaughter”.

Foals cannot be slaughtered until they reach the age of 6 months. But that is hardly adhered to.

Here is an eyewitness account from Texas:

“A couple of yrs ago I watched 35 long weanlings (purebred QH’s from a breeder nearby) get bought for slaughter at auction, chased into a stock trailer while slamming the tailgate on the leg of one that didn’t have room to get in and still had one leg on the ground”.

Pregnant mares are also ineligible for slaughter. Again, that is not adhered to.

A search on the internet yields pictures of mares being slaughtered with their stillborn foals dangling from their bodies one still attached to her umbilical cord.

Regulation

Canada

In 2016 the EU announced it is putting new import rules into place in 2017 concerning horsemeat from Canada because of traceability issues. The EU’s latest audit confirmed that Canadian horse meat may not be meeting EU food safety standards.

The new EU rules mean that from 31 March 2017, horses destined for slaughter in non-EU countries but for export to the EU, must undergo a minimum six-month residency requirement. This decision is likely to impact the horse slaughter industry in Canada and several South American countries, where horses for slaughter may be sourced from neighbouring countries.

Test samples revealed the presence of carcinogenic toxins in Canadian Horse Meat making it dangerous for humans to consume. Toxins in Horse Meat originates from the numerous banned drugs such as Bute horses are routinely given.

Bute is to horses like aspirin is to humans. There is hardly a horse in existence who does not receive this drug which automatically eliminates them from the human food chain. This in and of itself should end the slaughter of horses. But it does not.

Mexico

The EU closed the slaughter plants it regulated in Mexico because of the same traceability issue concerning them regarding Canada — toxic Horse Meat reaching the human consumer’s dinner table. However, there are still horse slaughter plants operating in Mexico overseen by its own government that are doing a brisk business.

We are working to find out who the Mexican horse slaughter plants are selling their Horse Meat to because they cannot legally export it to EU countries, who are the largest importers of horse meat.

Legislation

United States — 114th Congress (2015-2016)

HR 2029

Essentially it has been illegal to slaughter horses for human consumption on US soil since 2007 (with the exception of 2011) due to the annual defunding of the USDA inspections of horse meat intended for export.

The 2016 US Omnibus Bill (HR 2029) denied funding for the USDA to conduct these inspections once again, preventing the return of horse slaughter to US soil for another year. However, it does not prevent the export of American horses for slaughter.

HR 1942

On April 22, 2015, Reps. Frank Guinta (R-NH), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) introduced the Safeguard American Food  Exports (SAFE) Act (HR 1942).

The SAFE Act was intended to close the export to slaughter loophole as well as ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption on US soil.

Yet again the wholesale ban of the slaughter of US horses for human consumption was unsuccessful.

HR 1942 languished in Committee and failed to reach the House for a vote. It had 199 co-sponsors.

Its companion bill S 1214, the John Rainey Memorial Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, also died in Committee and failed to reach the Senate for a vote. It had 30 co-sponsors.

United States — 115th Congress (2017-2018)

HR 113

When the 115th Congress convened, Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL-16) re-introduced the SAFE Act (under the title Safeguard American Food Exports Act of 2017) on January 3, 2017.

HR 113 was referred to two Subcommittees — the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Commerce (Jan. 13, 2017) and the Subcommittee on Health (Jan. 25, 2017).

Horse slaughter is a bipartisan issue. HR 113 currently has 61 co-sponsors.

Blood Money

Let’s take a look at just how big an industry the trade in Horse Meat is taken from this media link.

Horse Meat is the 701st most internationally traded product.

The top five exporters of Horse Meat are Belgium ($92.2M), Canada ($71M), Argentina ($59.8M), Mexico ($47.6M) and Poland ($38.9M).

The top five importers of Horse Meat are Italy ($102M), Belgium ($94.3M), France ($70.4M), Russia ($62.3M) and Switzerland ($42.2M).

Equine entrails are also big business according to the same source.

Sutures are one of the many products used around the world made from the intestines of a horses. The intestines of  horses like most living beings is where nutrients and other elements are absorbed, including the chemicals from drugs.

Black Market Horse Meat

2016 saw a major decrease in the reporting of black market horse meat. Innocent horses were routinely stolen and butchered particularly in the Miami-Dade area.

This has historically been a huge problem for the State of Florida. The State enacted a stringent law to combat this horrific crime.

Then in 2015 one of the biggest busts took place involving a ring of three Loxahatchee, Florida farms, described as follows:

“In what is being described as the largest animal cruelty raid in U.S. history, on October 13, law enforcement descended on three Florida-based farms, seizing at least 750 animals, many of which were diseased and starving.

“According to WSVN, undercover investigators obtained video footage that included some of the most horrific acts of animal cruelty imaginable. Animals were drug, beaten, hung, gutted, skinned and even boiled alive.

“Authorities say that the ring of three Loxahatchee, Florida farms inhumanely slaughtered more than a million animals over a period of decades”.

Hoof from the remains of dead horse caught up in the illegal meat trade. Photographer unknown.
Hoof from the remains of dead horse caught up in the illegal meat trade. Photographer unknown.

Conclusion

The trade in horse meat is bloody, brutal and grotesque — and a huge money maker.

Yet, it is the human appetite for horse meat that ultimately drives the horse slaughter business.

No amount of regulation is ever going to completely end horse slaughter. When people no longer eat horse meat the industry will collapse and the horrific cruelties inherent to horse slaughter will finally end for the innocents whose lives it cruelly destroys.

March Against Horse Slaughter

As announced earlier this month, we are focusing on horse slaughter for the entire month of March.

March Against Horse Slaughter will take place here on Tuesday’s Horse and on Twitter and Facebook and sponsored by The Horse Fund. Please support us with a donation.

Join us in March. We need you. Most importantly, the horses need you.

It is very important that we hear from you. Please let us have your questions, ideas, suggestions and comments either here or via email.

Please share this far and wide.

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Horses intended for slaughter are driven into a holding pen. Photo by Kathy Milani for HSUS.

7 thoughts on “Horse Slaughter Year in Review 2016”

  1. Well that’s the issue really – where is the information? None of the groups who are documenting live shipments have observed it – not the people watching the airports, nor the “plane watching hobbyists” whose pictures of horse shipments to Fukuoka and elsewhere we can see on their hobbyist sites and on Facebook. They’re all adult horses.

    So I will look forward to what you have. With all due respect, your readers need more information other than “you can find it on the internet.”
    Thanks again……

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We take exception to your calling advocates “plane watching hobbyists”.

      Surely by that you do not mean the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition who perform groundbreaking investigations and uncover numerous cruelties in connection with the horse slaughter industry.

      In the meantime, if you are seeking answers on Facebook you will find it is full of old, out of date and unreliable information.

      Animal Angels have been documenting cruelty to animals including the shipment of slaughter horses for many years. We hope you find this lead helpful.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Could you please explain how it was concluded that foals are live shipped to Japan? As far as I know, there is no photographic or Access-To-Information documentation that supports this. It’s widely known that drafts and draft crosses are shipped live to Japan, because we have photographic and first-person evidence. But I’ve seen no evidence that foals are shipped. Thank you.

    Like

    1. This was first exposed some years ago at the height of conjugated equine estrogen production in N. America of which foals are a byproduct. Those numbers declined with the PMU farm closures. However nurse mare foals are still used. We have documentation on our old website. If we have time we will look it up for you. In the meantime you can find it on the internet.

      Liked by 1 person

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