Obama lifted the ban.

I’m sure that you have all heard by now that despite campaign promises, the ban on Federal funding for horse meat inspectors has been lifted which now allows USA equine slaughterhouses to resume function.


My argument is that there has never been an equine kill method offered where minimum wage slaughterhouse workers could perform the task effectively and humanely.

I’m not against slaughterhouses as much as I am against inhumane technique – and the inhumane people behind the inhumane technique.

You see, horses are tough to kill (unless you get it just right).  And, they are highly sensitive.  For humans to not adequately consider the equine with a humane form of slaughter is, well, inexcusable and too easy of an out for me to respect.


Just because horses are now going to be killed in the USA instead of Mexico or Canada, doesn’t mean that their suffering will be less.  It just means they don’t have to travel as far under horrible conditions – So, I guess they will not suffer for as long, but certainly they won’t suffer any less.

Being killed is being killed.  Being aware that you are being killed is even worse.  Being killed badly is unspeakable.

You can’t pretty that up.


Did we formulate a humane method of horse slaughter during the last FIVE YEARS in preparation for this day?  Um.  No.

And why not?  Because developing and maintaining humane slaughter methods would cost a lot more money… and those making all the money would prefer not to have to part with any of it.

So how could reverting to inhumane slaughter be better for the horse?

It isn’t.  It will be better for us, not the horses.

We Americans will now have less guilt about disposing of our unworthy horses and make more money at it while we are doing it.

And, what kind of message are we sending?

If inhumane horse slaughter of any age/any condition horse is OK in America… I guess we are making a clear point that we don’t care about anything that has no obvious value – even if it did help build our country.  (Oh wait, we’re kinda like that with our elders too, aren’t we?)


Major flipping fail.


It isn’t OK to have a ton of kids/cars/garbage and not care for it…

Since when is it OK to breed/buy whatever horse you want and when you get it – if it doesn’t measure up – just get rid of it.  Why do humans think it is A-OK to not care for an animal they own – especially if it is competing with, costing too much or pissing off the human?

You wouldn’t kill Trigger but you would kill the mare next door.

What is the difference?



Hey, I have an idea…  there are too many people in this world.  We breed indiscriminately.  We don’t even have herd sires or lead mares that keep the riff-raff from adding genetic defaults to our lineage.

There are too many of us…

So, I think we should start there.  If we humans had to devise a humane slaughterhouse for unproductive/unwanted humans, it would probably end up being a heckofalot better than what we’ve adopted for the poor equines.

In this way, we could do unto others as we’d like, right?  Oh, wait a  minute, that ‘do unto others’ stuff is strictly meant for humans.  We can do whatever we want to the animals (and the earth, for that matter).



Allowing your horse to die painlessly and with dignity isn’t cheap.  That’s why ownership has responsibilities…

Oh sure, you could drag your sorry sick horse to the slaughterhouse – and maybe make a coupla bucks – but is that right?

All I’m saying is do the right thing.  Either care for your horses, plan for your horses, ask for help in emergencies, dispose of your horse humanely or DON’T HAVE A HORSE.  Take responsibility, people!

Who is minding the store anyway?


I hadn’t planned on getting all Andy Rooney on you… but this cop-out of an equine kill procedure really burns me.

Six of my eleven horses were queued up in that slaughter line before they came to live with me.  And, I gotta tell you, there isn’t a worthless, useless, non-thinking nor non-feeling one in the bunch.  I could not imagine any of them standing in the bloody chutes waiting for the misplaced hammer.

For my dollar, I’d rather get rid of some of the insensitive and godcomplexed people who are clogging up the world – and leave a bit more space for the keepers of the horses.

Just sayin’

Kentucky Derby winner, Ferdinand. When he was no longer valuable, he sold, then sold again and then he was slaughtered in some dark place in Japan...


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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

22 comments have been posted...

  1. Geoff Pritchard

    First – recent studies have shown conclusively that THE MOST RAPID AND HUMANE method of killing an animal IS NOT overdosing them with narcotics but is actually shooting them in the head. That’s how we used to put down horses back in the day but now we interpret “humane” in terms of OUR comfort with what we see, not the true speed of death.

    It appears to me that you’ve essentially taken HSUS’s talking points, many of them wrong-headed, and made them your own here. One example is the tainted meat argument. Some of the products listed by HSUS are topical in nature. Koppertox is a copper solution painted on to the hoof to kill a fungus and the insecticides are usually applied externally as well.

    “There are sad circumstances but never so sad that your “pet” is taken to be killed.” People do this with their dogs and cats all the time. Folks would euthanize pets because they were going on vacation and it was cheaper than boarding them. Or they just got new carpet or ……. So it’s not just horses.

    I do believe we can slaughter horses in a humane fashion but I don’t think banning slaughter will serve horses any good at all.

  2. Bridget

    While I agreed with most of your comments (especially finding a more humane way to handle equine slaughter). I think it’s really stupid to compare horse slaughter to human slaughter. Whether you said that to make a point or not human slaughter has been done before, in concentration camps. As much as I love horses and value them it’s naive to compare the overpopulation or horses to that of people. Just my 2 cents : )

  3. Jody Brittain

    Very, very well put! Slaughtering a horse is NOT like cows, pigs, or other livestock, and it IS BECAUSE they are so sensitive! I have always said, it is the back yard breeders that have created this sad situation! Stay on your soap box, because you have said this all quite well! I applaud you!

  4. Mike Friehauf

    BRAVO!!!!!!!!! Very well put!! Everything that I have thought and tried to express in one very well put blog (as well as the additional comments).

    Man is pretty much a virus.

  5. Diana Vaughan Harris

    God help those who do not understand the pain and suffering that comes with this archaic and barbaric method of death. It is unspeakable and so painful to even think about for all of us who love our horses and all animals so deeply.
    How much can we do??? Spread the word to everyone we know… and may those with disposable resources help us to open nationwide MORE safe havens for our horses,putting them to good use with purpose. Equine Therapeutic Recovery for individuals who have disabilities,addictions,post traumatic stress and other painful conditions can learn to trust and love. Horses heal us..What can we do???

  6. horse care courses

    Hi, linked your post to http:/hay-net.co.uk and have just re-blogged it ourselves. We have lots of welfare issues that need attending to in the UK with regard to horse slaughter but I feel that we should also know what is going on elsewhere and how the real people feel about it.

  7. Keri

    I rarely comment on articles, but I couldn’t wait to find the comment box so that I could thank you. You beautifully and articulately summed up everything I’ve been saying (ok, screaming) since learning about this a few days ago. I’m a dog rescuer, but advocate for the welfare and humane treatment of ALL animals. The fact that we are going backward to an inhumane system instead of moving forward to more compassionate solutions makes me very sad. And really angry. Thanks so much for being a voice for the animals.

  8. RiderWriter

    “I have read the numbers and more than 70% of horses going to slaughter are cast-off’s from people over-breeding, especially quarter horses.”


    It’s all about the money/$$$/moola, folks. The legislators who snuck this in the bill are facing pressure from folks for whom the horse industry is just that, a money-making INDUSTRY, not an enterprise where the flesh-and-blood animals are considered all that much. The people who want nothing more than to make money in the “horse business” want the slaughter plants to conveniently dispose of their unwanted equines. I particularly indict the stock horse registries here (and you KNOW which one I’m mainly talking about :koff:AQHA:koff:). More babies = more registration dollars so breed ’em like rabbits, people – somebody will take out your trash!

    I unfortunately must include the TB racing establishment as well, having just read an article that mentioned 10,000 TBs go to slaughter every year. I knew it happened, I knew it was a lot of them, but I didn’t know it was THAT many. Our disposable society at its finest! Run it ’til it drops and them send it off to the knacker for your last (literal) pound of flesh. Absolutely sickening.

    THANK YOU, Dawn, for taking a stand and your willingness to publish your views. I hope no pro-slaughter troll turns up here trying to say everything will be hunky-dory with wonderful USDA inspectors watching over all (‘cuz that worked sooooo well in the past…). Hope those Europeans are enjoying their Bute/steroid/dewormer-laden steaks!

  9. Jenifer

    I am with you on getting rid of the useless humans. Start with all humans who are cruel to animals. Years ago when the slaughter/anti-slaughter fights finally came to public light there was a TV show I think called “Hard Copy” or maybe one of the other news investig tv shows that investigated a US based slaughterhouse. The video was of a yearling strung up by the hind legs upside down and throat slit to bleed out while still alive and the workers were laughing at the baby’s desperate struggles. One of the news crew was so badly assaulted by the slaughterhouse workers that apparently he ended up in the hospital for an extended stay followed by months of rehab and physical therapy; according to that show none of the POS workers were ever prosecuted for that. The cameraman did get away and it was aired. That day was an eye opener for me and I do not give a good g–damn how any politician wants to window dress it – slaughter is NOT humane euthanasia.

    Politics is the art of the possible subverted by the art of the asshole.

    And – IMO – there is a one-word diagnosis for what is at the root of every single problem in the world to day and that word is OVERPOPULATION. I am talking about overpopulation of humans. Until the population of the planet changes to the point where every life – human AND animal – is precious and protected, we will continue downward spiral into unspeakable evil and chaos.

  10. Seabiscute

    Horse slaughter for human consumption is not much better in Canada than in Mexico, and it was no better when it was practiced here (it is the same companies monopolizing the industry, after all). Check out the USDA records at http://www.kaufmanzoning.net/, if you have a strong stomach.

    Also, please note that horses were usually trucked long distances when the US plants were open as well (in Texas and Illinois).

    Unless specific horses-raised-for-slaughter-without-medication farms are set up, it doesn’t make economic sense for new plants in the US, when the (finite) demand for horsemeat is already being met by the existing plants/supply lines across our borders.

    That could happen, though probably not overnight, as the EU seems to be wising up to the unsafe quality of US horsemeat. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean that new plants would be any more humane than the old ones, because it will still be unprofitable to run a humane operation.

    People suck. Dawn, I suggest reading Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” — he wrote in the context of the Irish Potato Famine (and the refusal of the Brits to aid them), but your post certainly shares his attitude.

  11. dawndi Post author

    From Judy:
    I think the same. When I look the online sites like horse clicks or craigslist, I read so many reasons for selling like not having the time, or going in a different direction, or going off to college…. Horses aren’t cars. We really aren’t too far removed from the horses in Black Beauty ,my first book from my grandmother. I have seen too many people getting mares just to breed to supposedly “get their money back”. How stupid is that? There are so many backyard breeders who don’t even train their horses when they are ready to sell them. I have seen thousands of ads stating 90 days professional training but may need a tune up. There are sad circumstances but never so sad that your “pet” is taken to be killed. Why the hell do the elite French people like eating horses anyway? Maybe people taste good but I don’t want to eat them. I understand that the old and sick must go for dog food, but where is the humanity? We can kill with skill so why isn’t it done? Something is very wrong with a society that supports cruelty. Just because you aren’t looking at it doesn’t make you blameless. Like War, I want it done and over. Even our wars have become big business and not what is being claimed.

  12. Angie

    Dawn, I was happy to read your comments on horse slaughter. I too feel just the way you do, and it makes me sick with dread when I see all the “Free Horse” ads on Craigslist, as I know too often where those poor animals are going to end up going, whether their owners are aware of it or not. To those folks who say that slaughter is a humane and painless end to a horses life, I say, come visit a slaughter house or talk to folks who have had on in their area. There is nothing humane or painless about it. The whole process if riddled with unfeeling humans who want nothing more than to make a buck off what they see as an excess animal….they treat these horses like trash the whole way to and in the slaughter house. I have read the numbers and more than 70% of horses going to slaughter are cast-off’s from people over-breeding, especially quarter horses. Horses not meeting the desired gualities are thoughtlessly given over to slaughter. If every new registered foal born came with a stipulated fee the breeder had to pay that could go into horse rescues of a euthanasia fund, that would be a big step in the right direction. I agree..”get rid of lazy worthless human beings” and this world would be a better and safer place for the animals.

  13. Mikey

    I agree with you. I have former slaughter bound horses too. I don’t like it, but if plants do get up and running, I think it’s better than sending them to Mexico. I don’t know about Canada, but the loads of horses going to Mexico suffer unspeakable cruelty. If I have to pick the lesser of evils, I’d rather have it happen here in the US where it can be regulated and watch groups can keep an eye on what goes on. I don’t like it, but there’s a whole lot in this country I’m not happy with right now. Including how we treat our elderly people.

  14. Doug

    I run an animal rescue organization called Emergency Animal Rescue. We don’t foster, shelter, rehab or any of those other versions of rescue. We rappel over cliffs, down wells, climb up trees, crawl through underground drain pipes, go into fires and floods to rescue animals from those types of scenarios. In reading Dawn’s piece on horse slaughter, her paragraph entitled GET RID OF THE LAZY, WORTHLESS HUMANS struck a chord with me. On a couple occasions over the past 17 years of doing this, both owner and animal were in danger. I’ll bet you can figure out which one I rescued first.

  15. Debbie Raynor

    THANK YOU for putting this out there. There needs to be more dialogue and education on this issue. I too am completely opposed to slaughterhouses. With that said, it is reasonable for people on both sides (and the middle) of this issue to work together on a compromise that addresses a humane solution for the excess and neglected/abused horses. When we outlawed slaughtering horses we failed in the interim to follow up with continued pressure to address a main source of the problem – overbreeding.
    Hopefully with this latest development, people will be spurred (no pun intended) to action against this practice again.

  16. Casey O'Connor

    O my dear, I didn’t realize you and I think exactly alike on this! You make about a million very valid points in this ‘rant’ and frankly, points which will have to be more and more considered as time goes by and the human animal blots everything on this planet into oblivion. One thing you didn’t mention tho was the breeding for meat thing, which is apparently taking a toe hold, at least in Wyoming and such. And one advocate thinks our only way to stop slaughter is to publicize the toxic quality of the meat to the foreign markets – but forgets that pro-slaughter people and the BLM have 40,000 horses they can eliminate, under the guise of saving the tax payers money, who are free of medicines. It’s just evil, plain and simple. All the different ways, are wrong. Thanks for stating it out there for all to see and consider…

  17. VRose

    I agree with your points. I too am not so much against slaughter as I am against the barbaric practices that occur in regards to the treatment of animals in slaughter houses and during transport. I feel this way about all animals used for consumption. You can look up videos and articles about other animals as well and can see that their treatment isn’t much better. Just because you eat it doesn’t mean you have to treat it badly. I have started to raise animals for consumption and they get treated like royalty and slaughtered with as much respect and kindness as possible before it happens. Another thing that needs to stop is all of the indiscriminate breeding of animals. when will people learn that just because you like your horse doesn’t mean you should breed it.Same goes for all animals. Quality not quantity. I am going to go hug my horse now :(

  18. Ritambhara Tyson

    It made me sick when I heard about this. Thank you for writing this, it at least go some of my own frustrations out there just reading it. We need another Temple Grandin to champion the horse slaughter practices.

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