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

Slaughter export numbers of U.S. horses decrease

According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Market News Livestock Export Summary, 28,653 horses were shipped for slaughter from the United States to Mexico in 2020, a 46% decrease from 2019 when 53,947 were shipped. 53,947 marks a 26% decrease from 2018 when 70,708 horses designated for slaughter were transported from the United States to Mexico.

Animals Angels explain, “After the implementation of the EU Ban on horse meat from Mexico in 2014, the number of U.S. horses shipped to Mexico for slaughter dropped over 50%, falling from 108,583 horses in 2014 down to 53,947 in 2019. Then in 2020, the number dropped even further to 28,653.”

Here are the numbers of horses sent to slaughter from the U.S. to Canada and Mexico for the past three years.

U.S. Horses Exported for Slaughter 2018-2020

Horses Exported for Slaughter201820192020Totals
US to Canada 10,586 10,486 6,919 27,991
US to Mexico 70,708 53,947 28,653153,308
Totals 81,294 64,433 35,572 181,299
Sources: Canada—AgriFood-Agriculture Canada/StatCan; Mexico—USDA Market Reports

More numbers dating back to 1989 on the Fund for Horses website »

Americans, please support the new Bill to ban horse slaughter

On May 19, 2021, Rep. Janice D. Schakowsky [D-IL-9], introduced H.R.3355 in the 117th U.S. Congress: “To amend the Horse Protection Act to prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption, and for other purposes.”

Called the Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act, it would permanently ban horse slaughter in the U.S. and end the export of horses for slaughter.

Take action today. Contact your Representative in the U.S. House asking him/her to support this bill by cosponsoring and voting for H.R.3355. You can do this online and by telephone.

Let’s jump on this early, and build a huge amount of support for this essential legislation which will at long last put a stop to the gut wrenching brutality and bloodshed suffered by our horses. Get started here.

Remember. This is not just about ending the slaughter of our domestic horses but also our wild horses. Think about it and help all you can.

A bit of history

Although the U.S. Congress has made several attempts to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption, the practice didn’t end on American soil until the nation’s three horse meat processing plants closed in 2007. The two Texas facilities were closed by court order; the Illinois plant shuttered after state legislation against horse slaughter was enacted.

Efforts to open new horse slaughter plants in the U.S. have been unsuccessful, chiefly because of legislation denying funds for required federal inspections.

Nevertheless, thousands of U.S. horses are still being exported to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada.

Who eats horsemeat?

Canada and Mexico are two of the main exporters of horse meat to Europe. At least 85% of horses slaughtered at EU–approved Canadian horse slaughterhouses originated in the United States, and 50% of the horse meat produced from those animals was exported to the EU.

The European Union, which claims to have more stringent food safety practices than the United States, requires 200,000 horses per year for human consumption. To satisfy its demand, the E.U. imports horses from Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Uruguay.

Horse meat is also on the menu in China, Japan, Mexico, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Spain, Iceland, France, Russia, Kazakhstan, and many Eastern European, South American, Southeast, and Eastern Asian countries.

Finally, an often overlooked demand for horse meat comes from zoos and wild animal sanctuaries.

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Featured Image: Michael Mulvey, USA Today Sports

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