Tag Archives: horse slaughter

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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Backstreet Bully


Yet another so-called “unwanted” horse who lost his life in the kill box at a slaughterhouse. The maddening part about it is that this horse was very much wanted. Numerous people tried to save him from the kill auction and later from the slaughterhouse itself. Adena Springs wanted him back and he had a safe home waiting for him. His breeder was willing to do the right thing for him. He was NEVER intended to be sold for slaughter. He was, in fact, completely unfit to be slaughtered for human consumption. As a former racehorse, this Thoroughbred had been given Phenylbutazone and other drugs during his life. That alone should have disqualified him for slaughter. The tattoo on the inside of his upper lip proved his identity. The slaughterhouse was provided with copies of his drug history. They did not care. They killed him anyway. What happened to the meat from his carcass remains open for debate.

An investigation has begun but officials from LPN (Les Viandes de la Petit Nation) in Canada aren’t revealing much to the public. Not every carcass is even tested for drug residues so there is no guarantee that Backstreet Bully’s remains were examined. If they were tested, it’s quite simple for the plant to get a negative test result from a carcass of a horse that was given Bute. They pull test samples from the fat tissue, knowing full well that Bute is deposited in the muscle tissue and not in the fat. The kidneys, which show the highest concentration in horses dosed with Bute, are typically not tested because they aren’t sold as food. It would be nice to know which parts of Backstreet Bully were tested after they had finished butchering him…

Part of his story can be found in a recent article in the Toronto Star. (Link provided below). The following is a first-hand account from Mindy Lovell of Transitions Thoroughbreds, one of the people who tried to save his life:

“Many of you have read the article on the front page of the Toronto Star about Backstreet Bully. He HAS had the last word and although it will never bring him back, he represents a drop in the bucket of the many horses that head to slaughter that clearly illustrate the massive flaws in the horse slaughter industry. I stood on that catwalk at OLEX that day asking Jonathon Lalonde to buy that horse. He refused – he claimed he was “meat only”. I did not believe that so I asked again. He repeated the same thing. That designation was never made on that horse and that has been proven. He lied. He was quickly backed up by Tracey Thompson-Hoogeveen that runs NYNE and promotes the sale of his so called meat horses. She also heard him state that as she was standing there as well. She also claimed she saw it written on the EID or kill sheet as it is commonly known. It was not. She repeated it numerous times. I was not the only one that heard her make these claims. I did not believe a word of it. Tracey also knew that there was a very good chance that I could identify that horse and have his drug records produced clearly indicating he was not eligible for slaughter. She knew because I told her that point blank and then I asked her what she thought would happen should that be the case. She did nothing but stand behind her lie. Did both Jonathon and Tracey know that racehorses are in general not eligible for slaughter due to the excessive drug use? Yes, they did but “they all do it” as in send them to slaughter regardless. There was ample opportunity to stop it. He could have been pulled off that truck in Ottawa along with the other horses she was intending to broker for him on NYNE. If things went true to form, he would have off loaded along with all the others and then re-loaded to head to the plant. It could have been stopped – easily. It was not. He was “just a horse” and the thoroughbred people that love and admire these horses and fight for them so much are “just a joke”. I kept trying. My calls and messages to both of them were ignored – she was “too busy”. Backstreet Bully never won the Queen’s Plate or the Kentucky Derby, nor did he make millions of dollars on the track, in fact only a few thousand but it did not matter to those of us that fought to save his life up until the very end. He was NOT “just a horse” in our eyes and he is only one of many. To add further insult to injury, we asked to have his halter returned – the leather halter with the brass nameplate on it reading Backstreet Bully and that simple request has never been honoured.”

–Mindy Lovell

Transitions Thoroughbreds

What was done to this horse and many others before him is an absolute outrage. He was unfit for slaughter and everyone involved in the process knew this but did not care. It makes no difference to them if the meat is filled with toxic drug residues. They aren’t going to eat it. They will sell it to the unsuspecting Europeans. LPN actually claims that it can trace the animals it slaughters from the farm up to the time they arrive at the plant. That makes very little sense considering the fact that they kill hundreds of thousands of horses from the United States where horses are not raised for food. I highly doubt there are too many farms breeding horses specifically for slaughter in Canada either. They are killing Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, and thousands of other horses used in competitive disciplines. Drug use in racing and other equine competitions is standard practice for many owners and trainers. Many of the drugs and other substances that have been banned for use in animals intended for human consumption are used on a daily basis at racetracks and elsewhere. That is the last type of meat anyone in their right mind would choose to eat. If the consumers had any idea what was really in their horse meat, they might lose their appetites…

There was NO reason for Backstreet Bully to die. He had a home waiting for him and years of life left in him. He had numerous people trying desperately to save his life. Those involved in the horse slaughter industry refused to allow anyone to save Backstreet Bully. The auctioneer ignored Mindy Lovell when she attempted to bid on the horse at the Ontario Livestock Exchange auction (OLEX). The kill buyer who did buy him falsely claimed the horse was sold as “meat only” and one official at the auction mentioned that the auction might decide to designate all the Thoroughbreds as “meat only” at the sale. That would mean that only kill buyers would be able to buy them. Private individuals and equine rescues would be unable to bid on them. Quite ironic. The equine advocates are actually trying to help by taking the unfit horses out of the food chain and instead of gratitude, they get nothing but attitude from the auction all the way to the slaughterhouses.

As a final insult, LPN has refused to return Backstreet Bully’s leather halter with the brass plate bearing his name to his breeder. It is difficult to imagine what use they could possibly have for his halter at the slaughterhouse. Why not return it? Perhaps because it is a tangible piece of evidence? Proof that he was slaughtered there. Proof that LPN took the life of yet another Thoroughbred racehorse even though they had proof the horse was not fit for human consumption. The truth of what happened to his carcass will come out sooner or later as the investigation continues. The horse slaughter industry is all about the money. If it is proven that Backstreet Bully was slaughtered for human consumption despite being given Phenylbutazone, it may cost those involved in this nightmare far more than they ever imagined.

Link to the Toronto Star article:


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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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Where’s the Beef?

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In the wake of shocking discovery that many so-called beef products actually contained up to 100% horse meat, many of those involved are rushing to reassure the outraged consumers that there is no cause for concern. So what if it was really horse (or in some cases donkey)? So what if they found traces of Phenylbutazone in three horse carcasses exported from the United Kingdom? Some food safety officials are insisting that the meat is still safe for human consumption. Oh really? I think not…

This is a serious problem. It isn’t like they just mis-labeled two different cuts of the same meat. Consumers thought they were buying BEEF when they were really buying HORSE and/or DONKEY meat. If the food safety officials cannot be bothered to ensure that the meat being sold came from the same species of animal listed on the product label, that does not make me feel that they are doing their best when it comes to monitoring which foods are fit for human consumption. The companies involved are now blaming some mishap in the supply chain.

I do recognize that there are cultural differences and some cultures enjoy eating horse and donkey meat. I accept that. I would not recommend it due to the health risks involved but they are free to chose for themselves. The people who bought Findus Beef Lasagne, U.K. Tesco’s Spaghetti Bolognese, and Aldi brand frozen lasagne and Spaghetti Bolognese, and numerous products by other companies believed it was beef. I am sure that many horse owners would not be pleased to find that they have just eaten someone else’s horse. Other people may have deeply held religious or moral objections to eating horse meat. Imagine the shock and horror this supposed labeling mistake has caused.

If this had only happened once in a small batch of a single product, then calling it an accident might be justifiable. The current scandal has spread too far for that explanation to be plausible. A leak from Findus has revealed that horse meat was in the so-called beef for six months. A leaked document states that the French supplier, Comigel, had been aware of the problem in its frozen lasagna since August of 2012. Tests of all the contaminated products have now shown that between 30% to 100% of the meat used was horse meat. It isn’t as if they just found traces of horse meat. In some products, it had completely replaced the beef that should have been used.

First Ireland, then Poland, and now Romania have all been suggested as potential sources for the meat now in question. The horse meat and also possibly donkey meat has been linked to a supplier in Romania. The desperate attempts to explain how such a mistake occurred vary. Some have suggested that there was an abundance of both horses and donkeys available for slaughter due a recent law banning the use of the animals to pull carts and carriages in that country. Another article reports that 54 wild horses stolen from Letea Forest were found aboard a truck destined for a Romanian slaughterhouse. The wild horses had been beaten, stabbed, and deprived of food and water. Four of them had already died on the way to the abattoir.

The Romanian officials are adamant that the horse meat was not sold as beef and place blame on two French companies. Both Comigel and Spanghero are now being investigated. The horse meat was shipped to a factory owned by Comigel in Luxembourg. From there, it made its way into frozen foods distributed to 16 European countries. Asda has found horse meat in four burger products last month and more recently in Beef Bolognese Sauce. Horse meat has also been found in cottage pies destined for 47 schools in Lancashire. Compass Group has identified between 5% and 30% horse meat in burgers sold in Ireland. Those burgers were purchased from Rangeland Foods, which has now withdrawn around 9,000 burgers after some of them were shown to contain horse meat. Minced ‘beef’ sold to Creative Foods was made into lasagna for schools and hospitals. That meat came from Pinnacle Foods, which had found horse meat in some of its products. The company claims it was not aware of the horse meat and it is now trying to find out how this happened. New sources of foods either with a mixture of a beef and horse meat or complete substitution of horse meat for beef are still being found. The companies are pulling products that have tested positive for horse meat and other similar products as a precaution. The scandal may continue to grow as more products are tested for the presence of horse meat…

Food Safety officials in the United Kingdom have started testing all slaughtered horses for the presence of Phenylbutazone as of January 30th, 2013. This testing should have already been mandatory before any horse meat was used for human consumption. Even if the meat is tested, the results can vary depending upon which parts of the horse carcass are checked. If you want a negative result, pull samples of the fat tissue. The chances of finding Bute are very slim. If you really want to know how much Bute a horse was given, take tissue samples from the kidneys, liver, lungs, or heart. The kidney will usually show the highest amount. The slaughterhouses deem the kidneys as unfit for use in food so they are rarely tested. Some British veterinarians are now insisting that there is no cause of concern. They say that Phenylbutazone is necessary for long term pain management in horses. I disagree. After many years of working with Thoroughbred race horses, I have seen very clearly what happens if you dose a horse with Bute for long periods of time. Some horses are more sensitive than others but take 1 gram of Bute per day as an example. Within 30 days, it will cause stomach ulcers. After that, the horse starts to show signs of kidney damage. Keep dosing with Bute and wait for Liver Failure. That’s all with a dose of 1 gram per day. Horses with broken bones or severe injuries are sometimes given between 2 and 4 grams or more per day. Long term use of Phenylbutazone will more than likely kill your horse. Do you really think it’s safe to have in your food?

Decades ago, Phenylbutazone was prescribed for human use. People used it for the treatment of arthritis and other ailments. There are still some people who will get the drug from a veterinarian for their horse and then use it for themselves despite the warning label and the list of potential dangers. It was banned for use in humans for good reason. Phenylbutzone (PBZ) is converted by the liver into its metabolite, oxyphenylbutazone.

“Oxyphenylbutazone has NSAID properties and at one time was thought to be less toxic than PBZ. However, oxypheylbutazone also has serious adverse effects in humans including those of producing aplastic anemia, agranulocytosis, thrombocytopenia, leucopenia, pancytopenia, and hemolytic anemia (Chaplin 1986). The mortality rate of PBZ- and oxyphenylbutazone-induced aplastic anemia was 94% and 71%, respectively (Benjamin et al., 1981; Bottiger and Westerhom, 1973; Cameron et al., 1966; Chaplin 1986; Deaths due to butazolidin, 1952; Dunn, 1972; Etess and Jacobson, 1953; Hale and DeGruchy. 1960). Overall the data suggest that the risk for the development of lethal adverse effects in humans by PBZ and oxyphenylbutazone are not always dose dependent indicating an idiosyncratic effect. In addition to its well-known bone marrow suppression effects, PBZ is also associated with a hypersensitivity reaction in the liver which can cause death. (Benjamin and Ishak, 1981). Taken together, it is clear why phenylbutazone is currently unavailable for human use in the United States and is banned in animals destined for human consumption.”

–Nicholas Dodman, Nicholas Blondeau, and Ann M. Marini

Association of phenylbutazone usage with horses bought for slaughter: A Public Health Risk.

Food and Chemical Toxicology

There are reasons why phenylbutazone is banned for use in humans and in any animal intended for human consumption. There is no way to know how it will affect different people. One person might able to tolerate phenylbutazone while another person might be hypersensitive. That makes it impossible to determine a safe level. The only way to ensure complete safety is to prevent any meat contaminated with phenylbutazone from entering the food chain. This has proven to be far more difficult that it sounds.

In countries where horses are raised specifically for food, it should be simple enough to achieve. No horse intended for human consumption can be treated with Bute. The trick is making sure no one gives the horse any Bute during the course of its life. Veterinary records might show no administration of phenylbutazone when in reality the owner obtained the drug elsewhere and used it on the horse without telling anyone. It is also unlikely that the horse will have the same veterinarian throughout its life. The owner could have two different veterinarians treating the same horse. If the horse is sold, the new owner may not receive the horse’s veterinary records or unscrupulous owners might substitute the records of one horse that was never given Bute for those of a horse that did receive it. This would allow the owner to send the horse dosed with Bute off to the slaughterhouse and no one would know. Efforts have been made to develop a passport that would stay with the horse for life but that system is still in need of vast improvements. At the time of writing, those involved in the horse meat trade have been forging passport documents in order to get the slaughterhouses to accept horses that are unfit for human consumption. The BBC has reported that as many as 7,000 unauthorized horse passports have been in use since 2008. The report does not mention whether or not any of those thousands of horses went to slaughter. Beginning in 2009, all foals born in the UK are being micro-chipped in an effort to make sure they can be positively identified in the future. *

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Moving on to countries where horses are not raised for food and an entirely new set of problems. All of the concerns listed still come into play but there is even more opportunity for fraud and abuse. In the United States, the USDA does not currently inspect horses intended for slaughter. The animals are shipped alive across the borders to both Canada and Mexico, where slaughterhouses await them. Because horses here are not raised for food, there are no restrictions on what medications can be given to the horse or what substances can be applied topically to the animal. If you want to give your horse 1 gram of phenylbutazone every day, no one will stop you. If you want to apply large quantities of Nitrofurazone ointment to your horse’s body, go ahead. That ointment clearly states on its label that it isn’t intended for use on food-producing animals but there are no slaughterhouses currently operating in the U.S. You can take that horse loaded up on Bute and covered in Nitrofurazone to a horse auction and sell it. Two possibilities: The animal might be bought and taken to a new home or the horse may also be bought by a meat man or kill buyer (KB), who is buying horses cheap so he can ship them to Canada or Mexico for slaughter.

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After the auction, neither buyer would have any records on the horse unless the previous owner chose to provide them. With no way of knowing if a horse is free from drugs or fit for slaughter, the KB can fill out paperwork or create any documents he needs. He will fill out an E.I.D. stating that to the best of his knowledge, the horse is clean and safe for human consumption. That’s all that it takes. The horse can now become part of the food chain. This happens on an almost daily basis.

If you were going to choose a horse to slaughter for human consumption, a racehorse is probably the absolute worst choice you could possibly make. They are loaded up with an amazing variety of drugs, hormones, chemicals, and in some cases dosed with actual poison. Whatever it takes to make them run faster. Try to find a racehorse that has never been dosed with Phenylbutazone. You have better odds of finding a unicorn. It would take hours to catalog everything and the trainers come up with new concoctions all the time. Here are some highlights. These are items commonly used at the racetrack that all appear on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s list of banned substances; Phenylbutazone, Clenbuterol, Equipoise, and Nitrofurazone. Some trainers also use snake venom (Rattlesnake or Cobra if they can get it) to dose their horses before racing. Others have been caught giving their horses milkshakes (mixture of sodium bi-carbonate and other things). Trainers will use illegally-obtained prescription drugs intended for humans, including PROCRIT and more commonly EPOGEN. This is highly illegal even at the racetrack. They are certainly not going to tell their veterinarian or any racing officials what they gave the horse. There will be no record of it. When I worked at the track, one of the horses in my trainer’s barn received 14 different injections before each race. I cannot even tell you everything they shot into that horse. Whatever it was, it helped him win for them and that was all that mattered. Other things they used in their barn included Bell’s Solution (a liquid narcotic), DMSO, chlorine beach, glycerine, and formaldehyde. But none of this matters, right? Racehorses aren’t slaughtered for human consumption. Oh, but they are slaughtered by the thousands in Canada and Mexico. Their meat is shipped to the EU and sold as food. All those products filled with horse meat instead of beef could contain meat from racehorses.

You might expect some form of testing at the slaughterhouses to see if the horse is loaded up with Bute BEFORE the animal is slaughtered. That isn’t how things are done at the present time. That would decrease the number of horses they could kill in a day. Some plants are able to slaughter as many as 100 horses per day. Not all of the meat is tested. Random samples are taken from some of the carcasses, not all of them. Mistakes do happen. Horses that are not fit for human consumption do get slaughtered. Not all of the horses are processed for food. Some of the plants also produce other products. From a food safety standpoint, I do not want the facility that produces my meat to multi-task. At Les Viandes de la Petite Nation in Canada, they slaughter beef, bison, deer, sheep, horses, and pigs all at the same facility. The company’s website boasts that it can provide complete traceability from the farm to the consumer. This is a rather curious statement since they slaughter horses from the United States where there are no farms raising horses specifically for slaughter. It would be safer if the slaughterhouses were strictly slaughtering for human consumption and slaughtering for other purposes at a different location. That would greatly reduce the chance of accidents. The only people who really know where the meat from a particular carcass went are the operators of the slaughterhouses.

Unless a horse has a scar, brand, tattoo, microchip or some other permanent marking, it can be very difficult to prove that the horse now standing in the slaughter pen is the same horse whose records from the racetrack show multiple injections of Phenylbutazone. With Thoroughbreds, the easiest way to read the tattoo on the inside of their upper lip. Contact the Jockey Club and they will identify that horse. From there, a quick search of Equi-Base or similar websites will show where the horse raced and under what conditions. You can get veterinary records from the racetracks. Proof that the horse was given Phenylbutazone or other banned substances should prevent it from being slaughtered for food. That is what saved Canuki and Cactus Cafe from being slaughtered in 2012. When the plant in Richelieu, Canada was provided with records from Beulah Park Racetrack in Ohio, USA, the horses were rejected for slaughter. They were returned to the United States and both are now being retrained as show horses. Their story is a miracle. Many other horses have not been so fortunate…


Princess TiffanyPrincess Tiffany slipped through the cracks. Somehow, through a twist of Fate, she ended up in the hands of kill buyer. Of course, being a racehorse, she had been dosed with Phenylbutazone during her career. The story gets worse. She was given additional doses of Phenylbutazone while in the kill buyer’s possession. That didn’t stop the plant from accepting her for slaughter. They killed her anyway. The injection sites would have been clearly visible once they began processing the carcass.

Backstreet BullyBackstreet Bully was the victim of an equine adoption gone bad. When he retired, his connections allowed him to be adopted. After he was in his new home, things took a tragic turn. On January 9th, 2013, he was slaughtered at Les Viandes de la Petite Nation in Canada despite the drug records provided by Adena Springs proving that he was unfit for human consumption. The slaughterhouse was well aware that this horse had been given drugs that made him ineligible for slaughter. Yet the plant still took his life. The meat from his carcass may have been used for something other than food.

Or that meat may have ended up as someone’s dinner…

Many other horses have met the same end; Deputy Broad, Beau Jacques, Silky Shark, River Spey, and No Day Off just to name a few. The difference being that with Princess Tiffany and Backstreet Bully, proof was available. The others went so quickly that there wasn’t time to get the information and send it to the slaughterhouses. Most of the plants have a room where they keep the severed heads of the dead horses. The tattoos still on the Thoroughbreds would probably prove that the problem is far more wide-spread than anyone has imagined.

In July of 2012, both Phenylbutazone and Clenbuterol were found in horse meat shipped from Canada to Belgium. That meat was sent to many European countries including Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. (Wait. Luxembourg? Isn’t that where one of Comigel’s factories is? Remember that Comigel first notified Findus of a problem in August of 2012? Must be a coincidence…) It is entirely possible that some of the horse meat being found in all those frozen meals came from Canada, meaning meat from horses raised the United States may have been mixed into it. This possibility led the Humane Society International to ask the EU for a ban on all horse meat from North America.

Recent reports from Food Safety officials in the United Kingdom have revealed that 6 horse carcasses have tested positive for Phenylbutazone. Three of them were exported to France and may now be part of the food chain. Despite the much stricter regulations from EU, Bute could still make its way onto someone’s dinner plate. Kill Buyers are quite clever when it comes to finding ways to cheat the system. The Daily Mail reported that Peter Boddy of West Yorkshire and owner of an abattoir, was also under contract with Aintree Racecourse to dispose of their dead horses. Aintree claims that there is no way any of those dead Thoroughbreds were used for food. One would certainly hope not. Still, it looks very bad when the person you hired to take away the carcasses also happens to own his own abattoir. Those 6 carcasses that were found to contain Bute had to come from somewhere. They may not have come from his abattoir but this just illustrates the scope of the problem.

Under the current system, it is very difficult to trace where a particular batch of meat originated. That makes it even more difficult to be certain that the meat is fit for human consumption. Even if the system within the EU can be fixed, the meat imported from Canada and Mexico will still be a nightmare. They aren’t following the regulations to the letter right now. New regulations are being put into place in July, 2013. I highly doubt they will follow those either. There are too many greedy people who make their living as part of the horse slaughter industry. They will always put profit ahead of safety. Nothing short of large fines and years in prison will change that. All of them will continue denying responsibility and blaming others for the mistakes. Business as usual.


Posted by on February 16, 2013 in Uncategorized


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There is No Humane Way to Slaughter a Horse

This has to stop–everywhere. There is no humane way to slaughter a horse. Period.

Canadian Horse Defence Coalition's Blog

By Jason Farrell, Sky Correspondent

Sky News has uncovered shocking animal welfare conditions at a UK horse abbatoir.

They include animals being beaten, neglected and illegal procedures in the process of slaughtering British horses for European food markets.

It comes amid public anger that some of our biggest supermarkets have been selling beef burgers and other products that contain horse meat.

Sky News visited the Red Lion Abbatoir near Nantwich in Cheshire after concerns were raised by Animal Welfare Group Hillside Animal Sanctuary.

Investigators at Hillside fitted secret cameras which filmed horses being beaten with an iron road to encourage them into the pens.

British abbatoirSome were then crammed into the slaughter pens in pairs and, on one occasion, a group of three, before being stunned together.

Please continue reading here.

Warning: Very disturbing content.

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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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