Colorado horses are being slaughtered abroad for human consumption.

A new bill could shut down the industry.

An investigation by animal welfare groups followed horses from auctions to holding facilities to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico, where they were exported for human consumption

By THE COLORADO SUN, Jennifer Brown reporting »

Colorado and other states are sending an estimated 20,000 horses per year to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico, which export them to other countries that eat horse meat, according to an investigation by three animal welfare groups. 

The release of the investigation, which followed horses from auctions to holding pens to slaughterhouses across the northern and southern borders, coincides with Colorado legislation that would prohibit the sale of horses if there is reason to believe they could end up being used for human consumption. 

Animal welfare advocates support the Colorado bill, but have set their sights on federal legislation that would ban the practice nationwide. 

It’s not explicitly illegal in the United States to slaughter horses, but the last three horse slaughter facilities in the country, two in Texas and one in Illinois, shut down in 2007 as a result of state laws and a congressional amendment that removed funding for inspection of live horses at their plants.

Colorado lawmakers are scheduled to hear testimony Thursday on the state bill, which would create a new crime of equine slaughter for human consumption. The legislation, from Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis, a Boulder Democrat, and Rep. Lorena Garcia, an Adams County Democrat, proposes punishment by the pound. Every 100 pounds of horse meat is a separate offense, and those convicted could not own a horse for three to five years. 

The investigation from the animal welfare groups, which includes gruesome details and photos showing horses that are starved and can barely walk by the time they reach slaughterhouses, centered on auctions in Montana, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. From those auctions, the horses were sent to “kill pens,” or holding facilities, where they waited for transport across the international borders.

While people do not consume horse meat in the United States, and there are no longer slaughterhouses, the country is still a supplier for the horse slaughter industry, the report found. About 100 years ago, there were dozens of horse slaughter plants in the United States. The industry has declined sharply in the past 25 years.

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Featured Image:

Tuesday’s Horse

Official Blog of The Fund for Horses

3 thoughts on “Colorado horses are being slaughtered abroad for human consumption.”

  1. SB23-038 by Sonja Jaquez Lewis is a great place to start but does not go far enough. The hearing was canceled Thursday because there were so many Stakeholders that were showing interest. They wanted to get input from everyone. I have registered for pubic in person testimony, And written testimony can be given by anyone, go to and leave a 1500 word comment. Then once it is rescheduled, the comment period opens up, If you could put that state web site out and encourage others to comment, that would be great. Hopefully the bill regarding sanctuary will roll out soon.

    You will need this information including Hearing date to reference comments.

    State Ag and Resource Committee
    Sonja Jaquez Lewis Sponsor

    Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

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