According to government records from 2001 to 2020, the United States sent 1,620,192 of its horses to Mexico and Canada for slaughter for human consumption.
U.S. Horse Slaughter Export Numbers
2001 to 2020
You will notice the number of slaughter bound horses to Mexico and Canada began to increase substantially in 2007. It was in that year that the slaughter of horses on American soil came to an end. A court ruling upheld a Texas law banning horse slaughter and similar legislation was passed in Illinois.
Consequently, in August 2007 both horse slaughtering facilities shut down. This however did not end the slaughter of American horses for human consumption — it simply moved it to Canada and Mexico.
Since that time the U.S. Congress has failed to pass federal legislation outlawing the slaughter of horses domestically and across its borders. The result is that thousands upon thousands of American horses are still being sent to Mexico and Canada to be killed for their meat to fulfil the demand of consumers overseas.
The average size horse yields about 600 pounds of usable meat. The eight countries which consume the most horse meat devour an estimated 4.3 million horses a year. The appetite for horse meat seems insatiable.
The Atlantic published a fascinating, in-depth article on the history of horse meat for human consumption entitled, “The Troubled History of Horse Meat.” We highly recommend it.
Featured image: In France, specialized butcher shops (boucheries chevalines) sell horse meat, as ordinary butcher shops were for a long time forbidden to deal in it. However, since the 1990s, it can be found in supermarket butcher shops and others. Image Credit: Jacques Brinon/AP
Horse Slaughter Numbers: National Agricultural Statistics Service/USDA and Statistics Canada