Horse Slaughter Arguments

July 19, 2011 § 28 Comments

After reading comments on many, many pages from pro-slaughter activists, I’ve noticed there are “trends” to the arguments they use.  Below are some of the most common pro-slaughter arguments, and my response to them.   Most of the arguments were copied and pasted exactly as-is from a multitude of different pages.

I did, previously, have a list of arguments started (… but I’ve come across more so thought I’d do another one.

I also created a page with some possible “solutions”, and would love some more feedback:

And now on to the arguments:

Unless you are a vegan, you are a hypocrite to say horse slaughter should be banned.

There are three reasons this statement is blatantly untrue.

1.)    While the government has classified horses as livestock, they no longer are required (or even preferred) as working animals on a farm.  Tractors, ATVs, etc. have taken over the vast majority of jobs formerly required of horses.  Since this change in farming and ranching, the vast majority of horses are considered pets in the eyes of their owners.

2.)    Since horses are not raised as food-chain animals, they are given many different drugs that food-chain animals are banned from having.  This makes the meat unsafe and unfit for human consumption.  It actually makes it unsafe and unfit for any animal consuming it, which is why generally it is not even used in dog food and why zoos don’t take horse meat any more.

3.)    Horses are similar to deer in their flight response.  Every single slaughterhouse that deals with horses was created and designed for cattle.  The design, and treating the horses like cattle, is what makes horse slaughter inhumane.

You should boycott all restaurants, retailers, sponsors, etc. that have anything to do with any meat.

See answer above (specifically item 1 and 2).

Don’t you realize that all meat (cow, pork, chicken) are treated inhumanely?

Many people do realize that, although it is easy to pretend they don’t when they get their meat packaged at the store.  It’s easy to ignore.  That being said, there is a difference between the mass production farms, and the free range farms.

Some things that would help curb the mass production farms is buying locally raised and processed meat.  Visit the farm, check how the livestock looks and what the ‘housing’ is like (do they have access to the outside?  or are they all jammed into a barn or cages?).

One more point I’d like to make regarding food-chain animals is that they were bred, born and raised to be food.  They are rarely treated as pets, and don’t have the same relationship with humans as horses do.

In India the cow is sacred.  They’re not over here protesting us eating beef!

We don’t go to India and slaughter their cows.  This is a typical strawman argument.  I’m sure they don’t like the fact that we eat beef.  Just as I’m sure Jewish people cringe at the thought of people eating pork.  The point is, you don’t see Jewish people protesting us eating pork, nor Indians protesting us eating beef.  Why?  Because they’ve come to a different country, with different beliefs, and they respect and accept that fact.  They live here and they just don’t partake.

If an American or Canadian company went and set up a slaughterhouse in India, and started slaughtering cows to send the meat to another country for consumption, do you not think the locals would have a fit?  This is the reason that argument is a strawman argument.

Horses are livestock.  Just like cows, pigs, etc.

The government classified them as livestock.  They were livestock then (when classified).  They were used to plough, pull wagons, as transportation, etc.  They are no longer livestock in the traditional sense.  People don’t need horses, they want horses.

No one has the right to tell me what meat I can or can’t eat.

So, then go to a country where people eat horse.  We don’t eat horse in North America (except something less than 3% if you count Quebec, Canada).  Since we don’t eat horse meat in North America, we should not be slaughtering horses for meat.  Especially horses that were NOT raised in the food chain.

The government tells people what they can and can’t eat every day.  The fact that they don’t process and sell dolphin meat is telling you that you can’t eat dolphin.  Maybe you should start a pro-dolphin-meat campaign.  Or maybe you should start rounding up cats and dogs and slaughtering them for human consumption.  Lets see how that goes over.

There’s no proof that this meat in particular is tainted.

IF you do the math… less than 10% of horses slaughtered annually are RAISED for the food chain.  Therefore, 90% of the horse meat on the shelves came from old, lame, retired, young, working, race-horses, etc.  Until recently (the last few years or so) most race horses went straight from their last race to the kill pen – and considering 99% of those exact horses were given Bute on race day, you know they still had it in their system when slaughtered.

While no stats exist as to how many pleasure horses have received Bute in their lifetime, I would hazard a guess and say 50% have.  That’s a low estimate probably.

Horse slaughter is a necessary evil to deal with the problem of indiscriminate breeding. We’re not going to get rid of indiscriminate breeding. It’s human nature and part of living in a free society. We can do what we can to make it as humane as possible but we can’t get rid of it.

First off, indiscriminate breeding can be dealt with.  There are several solutions available, they just take time and funding to get set up.  See my page:  Solutions.

I don’t agree that it’s human nature to breed indiscriminately.  I agree some people breed indiscriminately; probably due to lack of education, intelligence and / or concern.  Unfortunately, those people who are breeding indiscriminately are adding to the problem twofold.  One in the basic numbers of horses being bred.  And two in the fact that most of the horses being bred indiscriminately are sub-standard, AKA “cheap” horses that there is no market for.  The higher-end, talented and well-bred horses are still pulling in the same prices as before.

The only way to make horse slaughter humane, is to raise horses as food-chain animals, and treat them that way.

What do we do with the mean horses?


It’s really that simple.  Why can’t pro-slaughter activists see that euthanization is an option?

So you’d rather see them keep a horse they can’t afford to feed and have it starve to death?

No.  I’d rather people be smart about taking on a horse, and preparing for every eventuality.  If they had a euth fund sitting in the bank, and they couldn’t continue to care for the horse – they could euthanize the horse.  That is, if they couldn’t find a suitable home for it, which they should have started looking for long before it got to the option of euthing or starving.

In no uncertain terms, it is never ok to starve an animal.

Unless you’ve witnessed slaughter you have no right to say anything.

This is another strawman argument.  Just because someone hasn’t witnessed something, doesn’t mean they don’t understand it.  Do you have to witness someone being shot with a gun to understand it must hurt like a sonofabitch?  And that it’s wrong?  Do you have to witness a child being molested to understand how it will affect them later in life?  And that it’s wrong?

No.  You only have to understand what is going on, and have the slightest bit of empathy, to know it’s wrong.

Unless you own a horse you have no right to say anything.

This is similar to the argument above.  I don’t have to have a child to know it’s wrong to molest them.  I don’t have to have a child to know it’s wrong to beat or starve them.  And I don’t have to have a child to feel empathy over the plight of the starving children around the world.

Unless you rescue horses you have no right to say anything.

Not everyone can afford to rescue.  Not everyone has the skills and knowledge to rescue.  If this statement were true, no one would be allowed to speak out against anything, ever.  This, honestly, is one of the most ridiculous “arguments” I think I’ve ever seen.

Unless you’re Canadian you have no right to say anything about Canadian slaughter.

Lets use the kids starving in other countries again.  So, because they’re in a different country I shouldn’t have an opinion?  Give me a break.

Unless you’re American you have no right to comment on the closures.

See previous answer.

Animals are eviscerated in the wild!

(The following answer was completely and entirely stolen from here:

In the wild, the prey animals has a chance at ESCAPE.  In a slaughter house environment, the prey animal has NO CHANCE.  To put it bluntly, predator animals don’t have the mental capacity to give two hoots about much pain they are causing, when they kill.  We, as the human species are supposed to have the mental and physical capabilities to show kindness, or, if you will, the HUMANE way to kill….

Surely, because in the wild it IS a brutal death, that you’re not suggesting that because wild animals get away with it, that humans should also get away with it?

We, as humans, have and do portray a certain amount of empathy with the creatures that we kill/slaughter.  Their deaths are much quicker in spite of the methods used (my bold) in comparison to their wild counterparts who are completely aware of everything, even while they’re being eaten.  Slaughter bound cattle, horses, and pigs, are rendered with bolt guns — and are rendered brain dead before they’re stripped of their flesh and quartered.  If they aren’t brain dead on the first hit, they will be by the second one — which is a rather quick procedure.  A minute or so, give or take.

(Edit in)  Saying animals are property is like saying children are property.  In my opinion, anything that depends on you for its very survival is not something that can be “owned” like a book

“The question is not, can they reason?  Nor, can they talk?  But, can they suffer?”
Jeremy Bentham

The reason there are so many abandoned and neglected horses is because of the closure of the US slaughter plants.

This is patently untrue.  The mere fact that the same number of American horses are slaughtered each year (they’re just shipped to Mexico and Canada) proves this statement to be untrue.

There are many things that have affected the numbers of horses neglected and abandoned, not the least of which is the economy.  But no, don’t ever factor that in!

Why shouldn’t people be able to make money on their horse by sending it to auction/slaughter?

The difference between the cost of killing and burying a horse and the gain from selling the horse to slaughter is between $250 and $500, depending on the weight and health of the horse.
(back up stats here)

So, if you consider how much it costs to keep a horse per month, within a few months you will be ‘making money’ just due to the fact you are not paying for that horse any longer (if you factor in the ‘loss’ of $250 to $500 you would have ‘made’ off the death instead of euthanizing).


Well, that’s all I have time for today.  I know I’ve probably missed a few ‘arguments’ that are floating around out there.  Feel free to add them in the comments section.

Don’t forget to check out the Solutions page, and leave some comments there if you haven’t already.

There is also a page set up to help people Re-Home their Horse ( and a new chat board to discuss things like slaughter, etc. at (  I’d love to start seeing some traffic over there.  Feel free to cross-post the Re-Home Your Horse chat board!


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§ 28 Responses to Horse Slaughter Arguments

  • wildwelsh says:

    Bear Valley Rescue just posted your blog on their facebook page. I love it! I have also written to Mr. des Barres and have never heard back from him! It is nice to see that others think similarly about the slaughter issue. I will follow your blog from now on. Thank you for writing it! (Wildwelsh is my young friend’s blog…she rides one of my rescue horses)


  • Andalvin says:

    Great posting! Only one comment. Under the heading of animals being evicerated in the wild, the horses being slaughtered at the two Canadian slaughter plants were shot from a distance by people taking pot shots hoping to hit something. More of the horses than I care to remember were, in the opinion of many, NOT insensible when being strung up to be bled out. I know the article is from another poster probably based in the US but just wanted to clarify that the captive bolt is not used, to my knowledge, here in Canada.
    Thanks again for a great posting. Will cross to it.


    • Not A Breed says:

      I know that in Canada the horses are shot, rather than using the captive bolt. Done properly, a shot to the head is actually more effective. Unfortunately, it’s often not done properly. :(


  • Chris says:

    According to this pro-slaughter vet, both bullet and lethal injection are bad. Only slaughter is good!

    “You then said a bullet was appropriate for euthanasia. Have you ever shot a horse? Have you ever shot a gun? Is a distraught, untrained owner with an unrestrained horse going to know where to shoot, the proper calibre of bullet and keep the horse from moving at the critical moment? Gunshot and captive bolt do the same thing-penetrate the brain and render senseless. Is a bullet ricocheting around a safe thing? Is a gun in the home a good thing with the possibility of theft or misuse by others?

    I will tell you that lethal injection is not without its problems. There is no FDA licensed drug for equine euthanasia. It does not behave the same in all horses. It does not cause easy death in all horses. It leaves toxic chemicals that make it a risk to render or bury (or leave out for wildlife feed). The drug most often used is pentobarbital. It is being used in human executions in this country. It is not made here, but imported. The makers don’t want it used for that, so will probably take it off the market in a couple of years. We wont have it for horses either, then.”


    • Not A Breed says:

      I don’t think anyone who is not trained and already very competent with a gun or rifle should try to shoot a live target. Duh!
      I also don’t think a distraught owner should shoot their own pet. That’s just asking for trouble.
      I do know that if push came to shove, and my horse was suffering unbearably, I could pull the trigger myself (if I had to, and there was no one else who could). I know I could, because to watch him suffer would be worse.

      I think, in general, if my horse was suffering, my neighbour – who is good with a rifle – would be over here to help at the drop of a hat.
      I also think, in general, that the vet is stretching their neck out on a chopping block going on about whether a gun in the home is a good thing with the possibility of theft or misuse by others. Who the fuck are they? There are laws in every state and province in North America regarding gun storage and licensing… that vet just proved they are an ass right there.

      Euthanization definitely can go wrong. Some animals react badly to it, and that is not a pretty sight. What your pro-slaughter vet is saying about the FDA licensing of Pentobarbital, may or may not be true, but it is my understanding that it is basically a barbituate, and that this particular drug is used to treat a number of illnesses in humans, not the least of which is seizures… so I highly doubt it’s going anywhere. Fuck, of course this is some fucktard from the fucking United Horsekillers website.


      • Chris says:

        Exactly! Scare mongering at it’s best… trying to convince people that only slaughter is good. It can ALL go bad… gun shot, captive bolt, lethal injection, electrocution. Nothing is 100% guaranteed, least of all slaughter. If it was so humane why do so many pro-slaughter say they won’t send THEIR horse to slaughter, but it’s ok for others. If it’s the most humane, then they are just sick euthanizing their horses at home! LOL. Talk about hypocrites.


        • Not A Breed says:

          I know! And they call US hypocrites!!! I’ve seen so many instances of people saying “I’d never send my horse to slaughter… but slaughter is necessary.” Absolutely hypocrites!


      • Suzanne Moore says:

        No wonder! On THAT site you can also find Sue Wallis’ post where she posts some old, outdated studies that she thinks back up her claim that Bute clears the horse’s system in 30 days and after that the horses are perfectly safe for humans to eat. I kid you not. She also posted this on her Facebook page.

        You don’t want to believe ANYTHING that comes from those nut cases.


  • Chris says:

    “Horses are livestock. Just like cows, pigs, etc.”

    Try swapping out all the horses in riding ranches, boarding barns, carriage rides, racetracks, policing, RCMP ride, medieval times, dressage, etc, etc with cows, pigs, chickens, etc and see how that goes for you. Try to convince thousands of people to pay $500 a month to board their pet cow. Try to convince thousands more to part-board a pig.

    Cows, pigs, etc CAN be pets, but the vast majority are not. The money is in the meat… the opposite is true of horses.

    I think that the classification of horses has to be changed from livestock to pet or a whole new category. Like you said NAB, horses are not needed, they are wanted. If all the horses died tomorrow, we would still get our food. No one, anywhere would go hungry…the Europeans would source their horsemeat from elsewhere. Other than a few stores in Quebec, not even the meat counter plan-o-grams would need adjustment.

    Horses…. recreational animals, not livestock.


  • Chris says:

    I find they are also big on their ‘property’ rights. They feel they should have the right to send their horse to slaughter, like it’s a service, instead of fulfilling a demand for horsemeat. What about the rights of people who are eating this tainted meat? Do they not have the right to demand that certain drugs not be given to horses, ever, if they are going into the human food chain? At some point if horse slaughter continues, the welfare of the person who may eat the horse will take priority over the health and comfort of the horse. Horses will be turned into meat animals first, recreational animals second, and every horse owner will end up paying to have every horse tracked from the day its born, especially as it pertains to medication. According to the attached article, they don’t want to do that. Somehow, they think that they are ‘speshul’, that even though they want the option to turn their horses into hamburger, they don’t want to have to track them like they’re….well umm, like they’re livestock!


    • Not A Breed says:

      OMG did you see her big idea of the “Do Not Slaughter” registry? There’s a fucking joke for ya!


      • Suzanne Moore says:

        I saw that a long time ago when she had a survey on the United Organizations of the Horse – as the site was called then – and I took it. What a blast. I told them then what I thought about ALL their ideas, especially that Do Not Slaughter Registry! Idiots!.


  • Barb3000 says:

    But we may not be able to stop horse slaughter until the EU cracks down on Canada/Mexico forcing both countries to electronically track horses with the passport from birth. Only then will the mass breeders such as the racing industry, Quarter Horse and others cease what they are doing because they simply won’t be able to unload their culls as they call the poor horses that didn’t make the grade, wasn’t fast enough or were injured. That is the only way this will ever stop because the politicians in all three countries, Canada, US and Mexico are paid off not to stop horse slaughter. The people that want this to continue have very deep pockets.


    • Not A Breed says:

      Welcome Barb3000, and thanks for your comment. I do agree with you. Not only about the fact that there will have to be some tracking program for horses, considering they are not raised as food-chain animals. Of course the end expense will be passed on to the owners. Isn’t that the way it always goes?


      • Barb3000 says:

        If the meat men can’t get their truck load of horses across the borders without a up to date passport they will be turned back. A percentage of the horses are refused at the border crossing with Mexico now because the poor condition of the animals. US trucks can’t drive on to the slaughter plant in Mexico the animals are offloaded into another truck for the rest of the trip. A Mexican Vet inspects the horses and picks out the ones that can’t go including pregnant mares. Since US trucks can drive on to the plants in Canada I don’t know how that is handled if some of the horses are in bad enough condition to be turned back. I also don’t know what happens to the turned back horses.


        • Suzanne Moore says:

          There is also an affidavit that is supposed to state that the horses are free from banned drug residues, BUT when the EU conducted inspections of EU certified plants in Mexico, they found banned drug residues in US horses that had paperwork stating that they were clean. Which is what we knew would happen with the affidavit idea.

          They also turned back about 30 horses from a shipment that was waiting in a feedlot in Texas. Still don’t know what happened to those horses although I think Animal’s Angels is still investigating. Probably never know.

          I don’t think American horse people are going to accept a tracking scheme – remember NAIS?


  • MaryElizabeth Willett says:

    How about the old arguement that the wild horses and burros are dessimating the environment and destroying the balance of the ecosystems in question because the wild horse population is so high. I am not sure, but I think their population in most American regions are at all time low. In terms of the ecosystem, it is my understanding, because horses roam, they leave an area when it has been over grazed, leaving in tact enough for the area to re-seed itself to its previous state, much the same as a farmer will rotate field crops, as to allow over farmed land to heal itself, so to speak. Horses have roamed the Earth for many centuries and never has a regional ecosystem been destroyed by them. Mind you, the fact that we, North Americans, have irradicated one of the horses few natural predators, (wolves), doesn’t help, but that is a whole other problem.


  • Barb3000 says:

    And one of the number one reasons that none of the anti-horse slaughter bills was ever passed into law is because the US Senate is bought off by special Interests. We all know who they are. These politicians last year when S.727 was ignored and never marked up was enjoying good sized donations going into their reelection campaigns(legal bribery). These donations were in the thousands of dollars. If you would like to know just how much your state senators got please go to enter the bill number and follow directions. Please pass this information on to everyone you know.


  • Wow,What terrible arguments from this individual,she uses nothing to back up her claim.She has no problem violating individuals rights.The fact is we have a right to eat what ever we want have it be horse,cow,dolphin,or cyanide. That fact that you would compare starving children,to eating horse is just silly. Grow up!!


  • Not A Breed says:

    Hmm… Mr. James Pickett is apparently on crack.
    You do not “have the right to eat what ever (sic) you want”. Wow. What planet are YOU from?

    Here, let me make another comparison…

    Back in the day, when seatbelt laws were being passed, every idiot such as yourself screamed about your personal rights, property rights, blah blah blah. This is very similar. YOUR rights do not outweigh the rights of everyone else. What part of that don’t you get? And everyone else had the right NOT to pay exorbitant insurance rates to cover YOUR medical bills because YOU don’t want to wear a seat-belt. Are you with me so far?

    What you don’t seem to get is that everything has laws surrounding it.

    Even the laws about what drugs are given to food-chain animals…. Would you suggest we abolish all those laws? Because really, they’re telling you what you can and can’t eat!?!?!?


  • Suzanne Moore says:

    Mr. Pickett ~ In the first place no one is telling you what you can or cannot eat, although in the section “No one has the right to tell me what meat I can or can’t eat” it’s plainly stated that you can eat all the horse meat you want if you go to a country that sells it. You can even eat it here, but you would have to go to Canada or Mexico to purchase it. And that the government tells you what you can/cannot eat all the time.

    When you say there is nothing to back up the claims, you are just mistaken. You need to go back and read the post again – there certainly ARE links to backup documents.

    And WHERE do you get a comparison between starving children to eating horse meat? What she was saying – in refuting the argument that you don’t have a right to protest horse slaughter if you don’t own a horse – is that you don’t have to have a child to protest child abuse. You DO agree, right?

    You need to go back and actually READ this post instead of babbling about something you obviously did not read.


  • Suzanne Moore says:

    Thanks! I’m rather fond of yours too. This guy IS either on drugs or can’t read or both. GEEZ!


  • Patti Larocque says:

    As horse owners, we should never send our animals away to slaughter houses, do the right thing, pay out the money and put them down before they leave the barn – at least, the pain and suffering ends there.


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