Family & Friends

  • Dec
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They kill horses, don’t they?

Posted by at 7:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)


Horses haven’t been slaughtered in the United States for the last five years. But Congress recently restored funding for U.S. inspectors to oversee horse slaughter, paving the way for horses to be killed and butchered here in the U.S. once again. While killing horses anywhere is contemptible, the decision does provide an opportunity to reexamine this entire issue.

A ban on killing horses in the U.S. doesn’t help horses—it prolongs their suffering. And they will continue to suffer as long as the industries that breed horses for profit—horseracing, rodeo and the carriage trade—keep exploiting these animals for our “entertainment.”

When horse slaughter was banned in the U.S. in 2006, it didn’t stop horses from being killed. Mercenary ranchers who make their living from horse flesh simply jam horses into undersized trucks and haul them for hundreds—sometimes thousands—of miles to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico.

Horses who manage to survive this grueling journey often arrive at the slaughterhouse with gashed foreheads, broken bones, compound fractures, eye infections and other injuries. They meet their end with a bolt gun, an often slow and agonizing death caused by the carelessness of workers who fire poorly aimed bolt after bolt until the animal finally dies. They are then bled out and skinned, usually in full view of other terrified horses.

Anyone who cares about animals should condemn horse slaughter altogether and call for an absolute ban on both the export of live horses and slaughter in the U.S. One doesn’t work without the other.

Horses have been exploited for human purposes and profit since the beginning of time, and we need to take an honest look at the disconnect between society’s horror over eating horses and its tacit approval of exploiting them in so many other ways. Many of the horses who end up in slaughterhouses used to pull carriages, perform in rodeos or cross the finish line but are now too worn-out to continue.

Even though horses tend to be skittish and sensitive, they are still forced to provide carriage rides on busy city streets and, at this time of year, in shopping mall parking lots for seasonal promotions. Fighting crowds, dodging traffic and trying not to slip on icy streets while hauling oversized loads day after day takes a toll. Accidents have occurred in nearly every location where carriage rides are allowed and many horses have died. But as long as people pay to ride, horses will continue to be worked until they can’t take another step.

The horseracing and rodeo industries are equally culpable for sending horses to their deaths. Horses are bred over and over until “winners” are produced. But not every horse makes money, and continual breeding has led to a critical overpopulation of horses: too many horses, not enough good homes. And just like dogs and cats, unwanted horses are often abandoned, neglected, starved and left to die without veterinary care. Thousands are sold to meat buyers and go from grassy fields to blood-soaked killing floors.

If eating horse flesh appalls you, so should the industries that provide the bodies. People can make a real difference by staying away from the racetrack, shunning carriage rides and steering clear of the rodeo.

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9 Comments

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    katerine says...

    December 20th, 2011, 2:02 pm

    Their is only one word that describes this act: cruel

    Patty Bowers says...

    December 23rd, 2011, 3:29 pm

    UNCONSCIONABLE!
    I would NEVER go to any event that forces horses to do anything THEY would not choose to do, inc. circuses, jumping events, rodeos, racing, carriage and pony rides, fox hunting, horse packing long distances inc. hunting, etc., etc.
    I try to tell everyone I know the same too. Once people understand how cruel these events are and the suffering involved, most change their minds about it. With most of these issues, it’s all a matter of education.
    THANK YOU PETA for your dedicated hard work on all these cruel animal matters. I CANNOT Imagone a world without PETA! ~ Patty Bowers

    Rosemary Bernier says...

    December 23rd, 2011, 4:18 pm

    Is there anything more to convince the powers-that-be that horse slaughter in any form is cruel, inhumane and just plain wrong?

    Mitzi says...

    December 24th, 2011, 12:46 am

    They are so good at making the whole image of a horse-drawn sleigh in the city at Christmastime. I didn’t realize how much they suffer! More people should know! And I’m also REALLY upset with our administration for lifting the ban on eating horse meat. How can our society be so cruel? Horses are such beautiful, intelligent animals. It makes me so sad.

    Holland says...

    December 24th, 2011, 11:24 am

    Agreed a ban on horse slaughter coupled with a ban on their export is necessary for the protection of US horses. However, getting one sweeping law that accomplishes both may not be possible. Perhaps the more achievable method is to legally prevent the restoration of any horse slaughterhouses on our soil while working for a ban on trucking them out of the country.

    Dazzle59 says...

    December 24th, 2011, 12:07 pm

    Thank you for this eye-opening analysis. As a vegan and animal rights advocate, I do not support the slaughter of horses for food, just as I don’t support the killing of any animal for food. I love horses but what makes them more special than a cow, or a pig, or a chicken? Critics say horses should not be eaten because they have been “domesticated” like dogs and cats, so they are put on a higher plane than the more lowly and “less intelligent” food animals. In my opinion, that is wrong.

    frances moyer says...

    December 24th, 2011, 12:55 pm

    thank you peta for all you do for animals.the things i read ,just make me sick,how cruel people can be.animals and children are a gift from God.

    Linda says...

    December 24th, 2011, 7:39 pm

    We shouldn’t have the mindset of who can more humanely slaughter horses but to abolish all exploitation and slaughter of horses in the US for starters and ending transportation across the borders.

    Flo says...

    May 14th, 2013, 11:22 pm

    Please do not slaughter the beautiful Horses, they are so trusting!!!

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