A horse in slaughter buyer Mike McCarron's trailer in Cleburne, Texas, August, 2019. USA Today.

Horse slaughter and horse meat production worldwide — Introduction


MARCH AGAINST HORSE SLAUGHTER — According to the most recent data
(2018) from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO),
horse meat production spans the globe and is a multi-million-dollar business in
terms of imports and exports across borders.[1]

The data taken from the FAO statistical database, in general, have been supplied
by governments via national publications and FAO questionnaires (paper or
electronic). To provide more comprehensive coverage of this data collection,
official data have sometimes been supplemented with data from unofficial sources
as well as information supplied by other national or international agencies.[2]

Where horse slaughter and horse meat production are concerned the data relate to
horses slaughtered within national boundaries, irrespective of their origin.
Moreover, all data shown relate to total meat production from both commercial
and farm slaughter.[3]

Despite the availability of wide-ranging information on horse slaughter and horse
meat production around the world, there are some discrepancies with the data,
presumably due to estimates based on prior years, calculated data, as well as
imputation data. Imputation data refers to replacing missing data with substituted
values using an appropriate imputation methodology.

With respect to horse slaughter and meat production the FAO fails to recognize
that since fiscal year 2006, Congress has annually prohibited the use of federal
funds to inspect horses destined for food, effectively prohibiting domestic
slaughter in the U.S. As a result, the slaughter market has shifted to Canada and

According to the FAO, 29,275 tonnes of horse meat, from 114,314 slaughtered
horses, were produced in the U.S. in 2018. This of course is inexplicable as horse
slaughter (for human consumption) has been effectively shut down since 2007.
However, Bravo Packing Inc. in Penns Grove, New Jersey (not to be confused with
Bravo! pet food) was, and still is, according to some sources, slaughtering horses to
be sold to zoos to feed big cats and other carnivores.

Bravo Packing has a disreputable history of shocking animal abuse; you can read more about Bravo Packing here.

In 2012, Governor Christie signed a state law banning horse slaughter for human consumption in the Garden State however Bravo opted to exploit the unfortunate loophole in the ban which fails to include the slaughter of horses in order to feed animals rather than humans. 

Since horse slaughter and horse meat production unrelated to human consumption in the US likely represents a very small total relative to other countries that slaughter horses for meat, these figures have been left out of the data used to create the charts and tables that follow.

As a final point, the FAO data does not differentiate between horse meat production intended for human consumption, from that which may be destined for pet food products or to feed exotic zoo animals. Nonetheless these data give an overview of the magnitude of horse slaughter and horse meat production on a global basis.

[1] http://www.fao.org/faostat
[2] http://fenixservices.fao.org/faostat/static/documents/QL/QL_methodology_e.pdf
[3] http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/QL

Next up: Horse slaughter and horse meat production — A global perspective

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FEATURED IMAGE: A horse looks out worriedly from slaughter buyer Mike McCarron’s trailer in Cleburne, Texas, August, 2019. USA Today.

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Horse slaughter and horse meat production worldwide — Introduction »

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Top 10 importers and exporters of horse meat worldwide »

3 thoughts on “Horse slaughter and horse meat production worldwide — Introduction”

  1. Horse slaughter is inhumane! Equines are not raised as a food source but are considered companion animals used for recreation, therapy and competition! US horses are given a number of pharmaceuticals which are known carcinogens. These drugs include horse wormer, BUTE, Banamine, and many forms of vaccines. Labels are listed as such and should not be given to animals going to slaughter!

    The horses taken to auction and kill pens are sometimes stolen or are sent directly to slaughter without the public viewing.

    Approximately 85% of Americans oppose slaughter! The process is inhumane from the double decker trucks designed for cattle as well as the captive bolt used in some plants. Cattle and horses skulls are anatomically different. The brain of the horse is farther back in the skull making the process terrifying and being administered several times before the horse is stunned! Many times they are alive when they are hung up and cut open! Pregnant Mares are slaughtered and if the foals are alive are quickly killed and thrown in a pile! Disgusting!

    The Mexican plants are worse! They are trucked sometimes thousands of miles without food or water. Those not able to stand or weak are trampled to death! Youngsters and ponies may suffer the same fate! I pray for their poor souls! Once they reached those filthy plants they are run up ramps into boxes where they are stabbed repeatedly in the shoulders with large swords until they drop and are chained and cut open. Again sometimes alive until the succumb to death! It disgusts me to write this, but it is ALL true! Horses are fight or flight animals with advanced awareness and try to fight their way out of these places!

    It’s apparent that the majority of Americans oppose this and have tried for numerous years to end this. But yet a minority of people keep this disgusting business alive!

    It must end! And those feeding these cats care nothing for their safety or they wouldn’t be buying this meat. They too can come down with different forms of cancer and other fatal diseases! I bet no one has kept statistics on this either!

    And the unwanted horses is not as accurate as some pro slaughter people would have you believe! Many horse groups are involved in purchasing from auctions and kill pen horses who are seen. And many are purchased under false pretenses! An example was a third year vet student from Tuskeegee University who answered ads or paid very little to their owners promising them forever homes! However, within 3 days they were many times slaughtered in Mexico!

    If we had the Safe Act in place these very sad owners would have their horses back! I pray for their souls as well!

    And WE as Americans do not want our Wild Horses and Burros sent to slaughter! Supposedly this does not happen which is a fallacy! The lack of accountability for those rounded up are not there!

    My point is based on these facts NO Equines should be sent to slaughter! It’s inhumane and not warranted. The only proper death for an equine is either euthanasia thru an injection or those of a weapon!

    Please contact your US House and Senate member asking them to be Cosponsors of and supporting
    HR 961 and SB 2006! We need to end this!


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