Tag Archives: equine welfare

Day of the Horse


December 13, 2013 is National Day of the Horse here in the United States. It should be a day to take time to recognize how much we owe to the horse and how much of our history has been changed because of them. Yet it is remarkably difficult to get politicians around the country to acknowledge this.

The horse in the photo above is Sergeant Reckless, a horse who served with the United States Marines during the Korean War. Since horses are prey animals, you would expect them to flee from danger. Not this mare. She carried ammo to marines so they could continue their fight and she carried the wounded back to safety. Even being wounded twice did not stop her. For more info, There have been thousands of horses who served bravely throughout history but most of their names are long forgotten.


The United States government in general and BLM in particular seem to have forgotten that horses can be invaluable assets and symbols of freedom. Now they are considered a nuisance, especially if they interfere with cattle grazing on federal lands. The BLM has rounded up most of the wild mustangs, on the pretext that they are overpopulated. No one at the BLM has explained HOW they could become overpopulated by such large numbers. If the mustangs didn’t have the food and water to survive, they would be dead. These are wild horses, not domestic horses who are fed and watered by people. The ugly truth is that the BLM gets money by selling grazing permits to ranchers and the mustangs are getting in the way. So the BLM rounds up the mustangs, using helicopters among other things, to make room for more cattle. This can be done at any time that BLM chooses and they seem to prefer foaling season. (Ladies, imagine that you have just given birth when someone starts chasing you through the desert with a helicopter so your only option is to run for your life). Needless to say, this is very dangerous for mares who have just given birth and a newborn foal cannot run fast enough to keep up with its mother while she’s galloping full speed for miles. The mustangs that survive the round ups are taken to holding facilities and kept there at tax payer expense. Some of the ranchers get paid to keep the mustangs on their property while their cattle are grazing on federal lands. If the mustangs become too much trouble, some of them can easily be shipped off to the nearest equine slaughter house. The ranchers win. The mustangs lose.


Horses can do things that seem impossible and make it look easy. They have the determination and the heart to go above and beyond to the next level. Even this is not always enough, especially in the Sport of Kings. Every racehorse owner hopes their horse will be the next Secretariat. His record still stands but thousands of Thoroughbreds have been destroyed chasing that dream. Some start out with big wins but most end their days as the low level claimers that keep the racing industry running. What happens to them when they can no longer race isn’t always known to the general public. Some of them go on to new careers. Others are not so fortunate. Every year thousands of Thoroughbreds are shipped off by callous owners looking to make a few hundred dollars off a horse that may have won them thousands. Those horses are sold to kill buyers and sent to be slaughtered for food. A typical racehorse is so full of drugs and hormones that the meat would be a health hazard so everybody lies. The kill buyers fill out forms with false information to make sure the slaughterhouse will accept the horse. The plants deliberately test for drug residue in parts of the carcass where they know they will not find any and the meat is sold to consumers in foreign countries.

All of this must stop but the politicians have yet to pass any laws that would correct the problems. America’s wild mustangs should be returned to the wild to roam free. The round ups should be permanently stopped. The SAFE Act should be passed. No horses should be slaughtered in the United States or exported for slaughter in foreign countries. Horses have done so much to inspire us to do greater things and help us in times of dire need. Their service should not be repaid with treachery.



Posted by on December 13, 2013 in equine welfare, horse, Horse Slaughter


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The state once called the Horse Show capital of America is now planning to become the Horse Slaughter capital of the United States. Members of the Oklahoma State Legislature have passed bills making it legal to slaughter horse for human consumption in their state. The Oklahoma Senate voted 38-6 in favor of allowing horse slaughter and the Oklahoma House approved it with a vote of 82-14.

Rep Skye McNiel explained that the bill would allow horse slaughter within the state of Oklahoma and provide a humane option for old horses. They will be slaughtered and their meat sent overseas. The sale of horse meat within the state of Oklahoma will remain illegal.

Based on the total absurdity of his statements, one can safely assume that Skye McNiel never visited Dallas Crown (Kaufman, TX), Bel-Tex (Ft. Worth, TX) or Cavel International (DeKalb, IL) when those slaughterhouses were still slaughtering horses.

  1. Killer Buyers looking to fill a truck with horses aren’t interested in old horses. They prefer them young, healthy, and fat.
  2. The process was NEVER humane. It was a form of torture from start to finish.

The residents of Texas, Tennessee, Missouri, Oregon, and New Mexico were wise enough to prevent any horse slaughter plants from opening in their states. Since the people of Oklahoma have never had a horse slaughter plant in their state, they might want to start reading up on the subject now. Better yet, take a road trip to Kaufman, Texas and have a nice chat with the residents and city officials there about how much they enjoyed having Dallas Crown in their city. Massive environmental damage, water pollution, increased crime rate, rotting animal parts attracting vermin and carrion, lagoons filled with blood, a constant and unbearable stench, horse blood being forced into the city sewer system only to back up into residents’ homes. For more detailed information, please visit




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Step 1: A horse is purchased by a killer buyer who has a contract with the slaughterhouse. Sometimes horses are given away or purchased directly from their owners but most of the horses come through kill auctions. The horses are frequently abused at the auction barns. Once the sale is complete, they will be loaded onto the kill buyer’s trailer.


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Step 2: The horse is loaded onto an extremely overcrowded trailer packed so tightly that it cannot move. A horse that goes down will more than likely be trampled to death. The driver will probably go straight to the slaughterhouse without stopping. Stopping to feed and water the horses is uncommon. The way that they are loaded would make it very difficult to even attempt to feed and water them. Horrific injuries often happen on the way to the slaughterhouse.


Step 3:  The horse is unloaded into a holding pen at the slaughterhouse.  How long they wait there depends on how many horses are waiting to be slaughtered and how quickly the plant can kill them.

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Step 4: The horse enters the slaughterhouse and gradually makes its way into the kill box. The methods used at this point vary from place to place. The captive bolt is the most common. It was originally designed for cattle. The worker must hit the horse in exactly the right place on its forehead to temporarily stun the animal. Horses are not cows. They often panic and try to escape. Even when they are stunned correctly, they can sometimes regain consciousness.


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Step 5: Desanguination – The horse is hoisted up to the ceiling and suspended by one of its hind legs. Its throat is slit so that it can be bled out before they begin cutting up the carcass. Imagine what happens when a horse is incorrectly stunned and regains consciousness during this procedure…

Does ANY of this look HUMANE in any way?

No, because there is NO humane way to slaughter a horse.

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From that point, the workers proceed to prepare the horse meat for transport to its destination. Usually it is shipped somewhere in either Europe or Asia. That’s what Rep. Skye McNiel means by overseas. That might not be quite so easy. If anyone in the Oklahoma State Legislature had bothered to read any international news, they might have noticed that the European Union is currently in the midst of a horse meat scandal. Products labeled as beef were found to contain horse meat. The source of the horse meat has not been identified. First Ireland, then Poland, and finally Romania have all been suggested. Six horse carcasses from the United Kingdom were exported to France despite testing positive for Phenylbutazone. Back in July, horse meat from Canada tested positive for both Phenylbutazone and Clenbuterol. Both of those are banned substances forbidden in food producing animals. The EU is not pleased about any of this. The Humane Society International is petitioning the EU to ban all horse meat imported from North America. Even if the horse meat is still allowed into the EU, the new regulations that go into effect in July of 2013 will disqualify virtually all horse meat from North America anyway. Passports will be required for all horses presented for slaughter at EU inspected slaughterhouses. Drugs histories from the time the horse was 6 months old will be required.  It is amazing that not one of the law-makers involved was aware of this when they voted to bring horse slaughter to their state.  Their level of stupidity is remarkable.

To read the new EU regulations for 2013, please click the link below:


The law passed in Oklahoma specifically states that only horse dealers and auction barns will be allowed to sell horses to the new slaughterhouse. Oh, really? How exactly do they expect either of them to be able to trace the drug history of every horse back to when it was 6 months old? Are they planning to test the horses for drug residues before they accept them for slaughter? No, because they already know the meat is toxic. That’s why they won’t allow it to be sold for food in Oklahoma. They don’t seem to mind the idea of poisoning people so long as it doesn’t occur in their state.

The horse slaughterhouse will be an environmental disaster. The community will be destroyed. The horses will suffer terrible atrocities before being inhumanely slaughtered. And when it’s all said and done, no one will want the toxic horse meat anyway. It will never meet the EU 2013 regulations. So what was the point of all of it? Money, of course.

Horse slaughter has always been a bloody business. Those involved in it ignore the regulations and put profits ahead of safety. They aren’t concerned with suffering. Even when the U.S. Slaughterhouses were open, the regulations were frequently ignored. The guilty parties were rarely fined or taken to court. Those who were fined were not forced to pay their fines. Instead they continued with the very activities that got them fined in the first place. Things will not be any different in Oklahoma.

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Horse Slaughter is inhumane.

There is no humane way to slaughter a horse.


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Posted by on February 24, 2013 in equine welfare, Horse Slaughter


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Deputy Broad: Gone but Not Forgotten

Taken at Mountaineer Racetrack in 2010

On July 11th 2011, Deputy Broad was entered in what would be his last race at Mountaineer Park. He did not run well. 48 hours later, he had been handed off by his trainer, Danny Bird, and soon found himself in the hands of a kill buyer by the name of Fred Bauer. Deputy was never run through an auction ring. There was no chance for a rescue or a private individual to save him. On July 18th 2011, Deputy Broad arrived at a horse slaughter facility in Richelieu, Canada as part of load sent there by Bauer. Deputy was processed on July 19th, 2011. Stable to Table in 7 Days…

Danny Bird had told people who asked about the horse that the animal was nasty and didn’t deserve a home. This is the exact opposite was what the horse’s previous connections said about him. Others said Deputy was a good boy and had the makings of a show horse. Even if the horse did have an attitude, it was probably caused by rough handling by people with little intelligence and poor horsemanship skills. That still would not have made it impossible to retrain him or find him a home. There are many other trainers who could have worked with him if given the chance. I have yet to come across a horse that could not be retrained if handled properly and I’ve been through over 200 of them. No matter what his attitude may have been, Deputy Broad deserved better than the cruel and inhumane death that he received.

At the plant in Richelieu, he faced the same barbaric death as the other horses who were there with him. They are slowly forced to walk up to the kill box. If the horses don’t want to go in there, they are typically beaten or shocked. Once inside the box, they face either a gun shot to the forehead or the captive bolt. Neither option is humane. For a gun shot, the person shooting must hit a tiny spot centered on the horse’s forehead between the eyes and the ears. Not an easy shot if the animal is standing still. When the horse is flailing and trying to escape, a perfect shot would be nearly impossible. The captive bolt was designed for cattle and is meant to stun the horse into unconsciousness. It often fails for the exact same reason. When it fails, the horse remains conscious while it is hanging from the ceiling and being dismembered. This is not a death I would impose on the worst of criminals. What exactly was Deputy’s crime? Not running fast enough? Being too expensive to feed?

Humane Euthanasia usually costs between $200 and $400. Is that really too much money to spend on a horse that earned $39,993 during his racing career? I am aware that the horse’s earnings would be divided between owners, trainers, jockeys, etc. Still, I don’t find it unreasonable to set aside $400 so that the horse can be euthanized if he is fatally injured. If the racing industry would set aside 10% of a horse’s lifetime winnings, that money could be used to help with the animal’s care when its racing career ends. They could also add a fee onto the entry fee for each race so that even non-winners would have something set aside for them. There should be plenty of possibilities. I’m sure that there were still many possibilities for Deputy Broad but his trainer was too selfish and pig-headed to look into them.

Deputy had a very nice pedigree. I have no doubt that he could have been retrained for another career in any number of other disciplines. I have seen ex-racers go down many different paths. Just a few examples: Made A Champ – Halter, Showmanship, and English Pleasure. North Texas – Barrel Racing and Trail Riding. Regaligan – Pony Club mount and Show Horse. Mo Dixie – Trail Horse and 4-H Project. Runnin4daborder – Trail Horse and Broodmare. There are always other options if the owner/trainer will bother to look. Even euthanasia would have been more humane than being tortured and then dismembered.

Sadly Deputy Broad was not the first horse to be slaughtered for food and he will not be the last–not until there is a horse slaughter ban throughout North America. This savage practice must be outlawed in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. As it stands at the time of writing, there are no USDA approved horse slaughter facilities in the U.S. but it was banned on a state level in the two states where the plants were located. USDA funding of the meat inspections was stopped on a federal level but that would not prevent the owner of a horse slaughter plant from paying for the inspections. The horses from the U.S. are now being shipped alive to Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered across the borders.

The Thoroughbreds are not the only breed that ends up at the slaughter plants. There are many others. However, one thing that sets the Thoroughbreds apart is their lip tattoos. If it were up to me, I would require the employees at the horse slaughter plants to catalog the tattoo numbers of the Thoroughbreds that arrive for slaughter. The list would be given to the Jockey Club and other horse racing associations. It is easy enough to find out who a TB’s last trainer was. If the horse arrives at the slaughter facility within six weeks of its last race, the penalty should be a permanent ban on that trainer at any and all racetracks in the U.S. If money is the only thing these soulless savages care about, then maybe taking away their livelihood will get their attention.

Please understand that I am not lumping all the trainers in together. There are many trainers at the tracks who treat their horses like their children. They will put their horses well-being ahead of their own. Unfortunately the money-grubbing scum are not smart enough to follow the example of the better trainers… I do not expect the trainers from the track to be responsible for every horse that passes through their barns for the entire lifespan of the horse. What I expect is for some of them to take a little time to look at their options instead of throwing away a horse’s life as if it were a Kleenex.


Posted by on August 9, 2011 in Uncategorized


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