Horse slaughter is not euthanasia

As of late we are seeing so many articles and commentaries on horse slaughter attempting to mislead the public into thinking that horse slaughter is a form of euthanasia. It is NOT.

Horse slaughter is NOT humane euthanasia. “Euthanasia” is defined as a gentle, painless death provided in order to prevent suffering.

Horse slaughter is a brutal and terrifying end which brings about enormous suffering. It is a huge subject, so today let us focus on the use of the stunning device commonly called the “captive bolt.” It is in and of itself a major reason to stop the slaughter of our horses.

Use of the captive bolt

The captive bolt pistol was invented in 1903 by Hugo Heiss, former director of a slaughterhouse in Straubing, Germany.

The penetrating captive bolt pistol (also called a captive bolt, stunbolt gun, bolt gun or stunner) is the device most commonly used to render a horse unconscious in preparation for slaughter.

Captive bolt pistol - Wikipedia
Modern captive bolt pistol.

The goal of captive bolt stunning is to inflict a forceful strike on the forehead with the bolt in order to induce unconsciousness. For the non-penetrating bolt gun variation the bolt may or may not destroy part of the brain, while brain tissue is always destroyed with the penetrating bolt gun.

Recommended Captive Bolt Stunning Techniques for Cattle

The bolt is activated by a trigger pull and is propelled forward by compressed air or a spring mechanism, or by the discharge of a blank round ignited by a firing pin. After striking a shallow but forceful blow on the forehead of an animal, spring tension causes the bolt to recoil back into the barrel.

The heightened fight-or-flight response typical of an anxious or frightened horse makes accurate pre-slaughter stunning difficult. As a result, horses often endure repeated blows and sometimes remain conscious during dismemberment.

This is only one of many, many examples why horse slaughter is horribly cruel and should be banned outright. Do not be fooled by the pro horse slaughter movement rhetoric that it is over “in a shot” and there is no fear or pain or suffering.



9 thoughts on “Horse slaughter is not euthanasia”

  1. Not to mention that horses are slaughtered so they can end up on someones dinner plate. Slaughtering shouldnt be the solution to over breeding and the many other reasons they end up there. Same with all the other unwanted cats and dogs, killing shouldnt be a solution or last resort. Its horrifying and heart breaking..


  2. And to think a so called rescue hiding under the name Horse Plus Humane Society has a stun gun and an incinerator. Horror stories from a gal that was there when the owners of this place used it. Captive bolt should not be available to any one other than a slaughter house.


  3. The Final Race on youtube shows graphic evidence of the cruelty of horse slaughter. In the Meramist abattoir in Queensland, Australia, the captive bolt is used. There are many examples of horses not being stunned from the first bolt and having to be bolted again and again. One horse is bolted 5 times. There is also footage that shows horses that are not stunned being strung up and having their throats cut while still conscious.

    The recent Panorama program “The Dark Side of Horse Racing” showed many racing figures that appeared to think sending a horse to slaughter is euthanasia. Completely unacceptable that such people have such a misinformed approach.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. As a horse lover and owner, I appreciate learning ANYTHING about them… their behavior, their needs, how they live, and yes, even how/why they die. That is because I feel I must be an informed person in order to make wise decisions and also to discuss equine topics with others. Because I know there are too many unwanted horses in the world mainly due to overbreeding, I used to be in favor of slaughtering. I really couldn’t think of a better way to lower their numbers, especially if unwanted, dangerous, or very sick. I used to believe that there was no other answer other than euthanasia. But some people cannot afford to have a vet put down their pet peacefully, After viewing numerous undercover videos on horse/mule slaughter over the past few years, however, I have come to realize just how inhumane and torturous it is. And your articles/pictures/videos also have helped me make this decision. Thank you for putting this topic into a proper perspective for me…I am vehemently against the slaughtering of animals and will do my part to try to get it stopped where it still exists in the world.


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