Help Educate

ABOUT HORSE SLAUGHTER | Source: The Humane Society of the United States

Horses are currently being crowded into trucks, forced to endure hours without food, water and rest and driven to Mexico and Canada for slaughter.

With all three horse slaughter plants in the U.S. now closed, and horses being trucked by the tens of thousands to Mexico and Canada for slaughter, passage of a permanent slaughter ban to prohibit horse slaughter—and the transport of horses for this purpose—is crucial. The two Texas horse slaughter facilities shut down after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit Court upheld a 1949 Texas law that prohibits the sale of horsemeat. A separate decision affirming Congress’ intent in the FY06 Agriculture Appropriations language to prohibit the U.S. Department of Agriculture from inspecting horsemeat from slaughtering facilities shut down the Illinois plant for a time. Eventually,  the state of Illinois enacted a ban on horse slaughter, shutting down Cavel International, the last operating plant in the country.

Undercover footage by Animal Angels shows the extreme suffering endured by horses shipped across our borders to slaughter plants in Mexico. Crammed onto crowded trailers with no regard for age, sex breed, condition or temperament, the horses are transported for hours and sometimes days a time, horses without food, water or rest. It is not uncommon for these animals to arrive at the plants dead or seriously injured.

Common myths about horse slaughter

Myth: A ban could result in “unregulated shipment of horses to slaughter” and horses being shipped longer distances to slaughter.

Fact: Untrue. The passage of the Conyers-Burton Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act will prohibit the slaughter of horses for human consumption, as well as the trade and transport of horseflesh and live horses intended for human consumption. This legislation will terminate any legal option for sending American horses to slaughter within the United States and over the border as well. Read more»

Get the facts about horse slaughter

How many horses are slaughtered each year?

Prior to the closure of all three foreign-owned plans in the U.S., over 100,000 horses were being slaughtered in the United States and processed for human consumption. Now, tens of thousands of live horses are transported across the border to Mexico and Canada for slaughter. After these horses are killed, their flesh is shipped to Europe and Asia for human consumption. Their owners are often unaware of the pain, fear, and suffering their horses endure before being slaughtered. Read more»

The HSUS and Horse Protection

The HSUS has worked to protect horses and other equines in our society from abuse, neglect, and slaughter for human consumption since our organization’s inception in 1954. We’ve conducted workshops for law enforcement, animal control officers, and humane society officials on equine neglect, immunocontraception for wild horses and burros, and we’ve engaged directly in pilot programs with the Bureau of Land Management for implementation of population control for wild mustangs. Our investigators have been undercover at equine auctions and horse slaughter facilities, documenting the inhumane treatment of these animals, in transport and during their slaughter.

We have worked at the state and federal level in advocating for the adoption of strong horse protection and anti-cruelty laws, and we have sought funding and provided training for enforcement. The HSUS stands firmly in opposition to horse slaughter and is a leading advocate in support of the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, as well as legislation at the state level to prohibit this gruesome and unnecessary practice.