Beloved companion or Parisian dinner?

  There are right ways -- and there are wrong ways -- to dispose of an unwanted horse, according to Brent Glover, who for 33 years has operated Orphan Acres, a 50-acre equine sanctuary in northwestern Idaho.

Here are some of the wrong ways, based on recently reported incidents: Don’t tie the horse to a stockyard fence or a downtown stop sign and then drive off. Don't turn the horse loose on public land or in a Costco parking lot. Don’t bury or incinerate a dead horse near a water drainage. When a horse is euthanized, its carcass may be classed as "medical waste," ineligible for landfill burial or even cremation in many states.

As for the right ways, one method is to let the horse die a natural death, dig a grave and backfill it with manure or compost -- under optimal conditions, the half-ton corpse will decompose in 60 to 90 days.

Another option -- shipping an unwanted animal to a domestic slaughterhouse – is no longer available.

Spurred by an anti-slaughter campaign led by the Humane Society of the United States, the last U.S. slaughter plants -- two in Texas and one in Illinois – were closed by state laws two years ago. The abattoirs processed horsemeat for zoos and for human consumption in China, Italy and elsewhere, accounting for the death (and disposal) of about 100,000 unwanted horses annually.

Now that the domestic slaughterhouses have been shuttered, many horse lovers argue that the situation for horses has actually worsened. Of the approximately 9.2 million horses in the U.S., some 2.3 million of them are in the West, mainly used in recreation and agriculture. Squeezed by rising prices, and lacking a way to dispose of their animals, owners are more frequently abandoning, neglecting and surrendering their horses.

Room and board for a horse is around $200 per month now -- and the cost of fuel, hay and grain, and basic care is climbing. At the same time, because of a surplus of unwanted horses, auction prices have plunged, down to $100 or less from an earlier average of $300 to $500. If you figure in the cost of euthanasia and disposal at $750, it’s a swing of about $1,200 for the owner looking to get rid of an unwanted equine.

Glover says the number of unwanted horses is “snowballing. If I said yes to all the queries, we would have 500 horses here.” He says his hay bill has nearly tripled this year, due to rising agriculture and transportation costs.

Jim Warren, owner of 101 Livestock in Aromas, Calif., near Monterey, says he’s picked up some 70 abandoned horses in the past two years. “A lot are in really poor condition,” he says. “People can’t afford to keep them, can’t afford to kill them, so they simply stop feeding them.”

Horses accounted for about 1,500 of Colorado’s 10,000 investigations into animal cruelty and neglect this year, up nearly 30 percent from the year before. Most of the incidents involved malnourishment, says Scot Dutcher, chief of the state’s Bureau of Animal Protection.

Like many, Dutcher is conflicted on the slaughter issue. “No one prefers slaughter,” he says. “But frankly, it’s a necessary evil.”

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “humane” slaughter in the United States begins with a captive bolt gun, which renders the horse unconscious before its throat is slit. Many people are appalled by the thought that terrified horses see other horses being killed. But the morality of slaughter is “not a black-and-white debate,” says Chris Whitney, president of the Colorado Unwanted Horse Alliance. “Many of us look at horses as livestock. Others see the horse as a large dog. It’s tough to meld the approaches and points of view.”

Proposed legislation would ban horse slaughter in this country, along with the export of horses to other countries to be slaughtered. But the complexity of the issue has kept the bill from making it through Congress, despite support from a long list of lawmakers including Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama.

Members of the Livestock Marketing Association testified before Congress in May, says president Jim Santomaso, telling lawmakers that “horse owners want and need a legitimate, practical and humane way to dispose of their horses that have come to the end of their useful life, but still have value as a slaughter animal.” The proposed legislation “is a slippery slope,” says John McBride, a spokesman for the 61-year-old trade association, “saying that a legitimate food product can be banned.”

Slaughter opponents deny that horsemeat can ever be considered “legitimate.”

“Horses have never been raised as a food animal in this country,” says Stacy Segal, equine protection specialist for the Humane Society of the United States. “We give them medications that would never be allowed for a slaughter animal. None of the mechanisms to protect meat for human consumption are in place.” The group’s primary argument against slaughter, however, is that horses “are companions who serve us in a variety of ways.”

The closure of the U.S. slaughterhouses has coincided with a sharp jump in the number of horses being shipped to neighboring countries. There’s no way to confirm that exported horses are being slaughtered, says John Rice of the USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service. But the export rate has tripled in the past three years, with nearly 46,000 horses transported to Canada and 45,000 to Mexico in 2007, many under inhumane conditions. And foreign slaughter techniques are questionable – a film on the Humane Society Web site shows slaughterhouse workers in Mexico stabbing a horse repeatedly in the spinal cord.

The slaughterhouse closures have also had significant financial impacts, according to the Animal Welfare Council in Colorado Springs, Colo., including loss of revenue ($26 million annually for the export of horsemeat) and the cost of maintaining unwanted horses (based on 2005 statistics, the Council estimated $220 million per year nationwide).

Anyway you look at it, a horse is a “1,200-pound fixture for 25-30 years,” says Chris Whitney. “It’s a sizable investment, both economically and emotionally. I think people in the West in particular – for whom horses are tools, livestock, part of agriculture – don’t see slaughter as a problem.” He says the core issue “starts with how many babies hit the ground. That’s the long-term fix – for people to be responsible in their breeding programs.”

But horses are suffering now, and rescue operations are coming up short. “These people who are pushing this no-slaughter should be sending at least $5 a month to help care for these animals,” says Glover. “They all want to keep the horses alive, but who’s going to pay?”

The author is Online Editor for High Country News.
Jul 03, 2008 05:42 PM

This article, by focusing on the consequences of the slaughter ban, ignores the primary problem with the amount of horses in this country.  It isn't that we need slaughter--we need to figure out a way (education, licensing, etc) to prevent irresponsible breeding operations from turning out too many unwanted horses.  Everywhere you turn, someone is trying to give away an untrained and/or lame horse that they bred recklessly because "foals are so CUUUUUUTE" with no thought towards the consequences of the action.  Additionally, with regard to humane methods of destroying a horse, euthanasia is quick, painless and humane.  A bullet between the eyes is quick, painless, humane AND inexpensive.  Slaughter is not a humane process for a horse and should not be bandied about as the only solution.

Jul 03, 2008 06:11 PM

I agree. By focusing on slaughter we are focusing on the end point, not the starting point of this problem. The problem is the uncontrolled horse breeding going on in this coutry. It's disgusting. To breed and animal and esentially create a life you should be lisenced. Period. You should have meet certain requirements. I am a horse trainer and I am TIRED of foolish ignorant people calling me because they have an unruly colt they bred 4 years ago and now they don't know what to do with him. People but as much thought into producing horses as they do into producing children...very, very little. Slaughter isnt the problem, slaughter is only one solution to the problem, and that problem is the overbreeding of these animals.

Jul 03, 2008 06:42 PM

Regarding the give away of untrained animals: It's easy to see when a dog is poorly trained and if the dog becomes dangerous, the owner can be held accountable and the animal put down. Horses aren't dogs and training is even more important. You may not know you have a difficult animal until you try to saddle it or get on it's back - it may otherwise appear to be safe animal. 

Maybe what applies to dog owners should apply to horse owners -- though there are those that believe there's no such thing as a bad horse (or a bad dog) -- it's just that those of us that know how to train these animals don't have the time and resources to retrain every problem animal that comes along.

And yes, breeders need to slow down - especially backyard breeders who breed horses for the sake of having a cute little foal. Education programs that were developed to cut down on puppies and kittens need to be applied to recreational horse owners. Horses that help with the family income are another matter. A little (or really tons) of manure for your garden isn't a good return on a farm animal. 

Owning a horse can quickly become a hardship. Too many folks grab on to horses based on how they look -- not how well they are trained or how easy they are to keep. We had a horse that ate local grass hay and a little cob and thrived. We also had a horse that stayed thin on just about every diet.

What a ramble. Not saying that those who can afford to shouldn't own horses for recreation, but education is the key. And so is maybe horse-sharing. Three kids from three different families could share in the care and feeding and enjoying of one horse instead of each having their own one. That would help ease the real cost of owning a horse.

Until how we think about horses and horse ownership changes, humane slaughter is necessary -- it's crueler to neglect an animal and have it suffer. 

Jul 04, 2008 09:23 PM

The incident that brought about the slaughter ban was a thoroughbred race horse losing a race and being immediately shipped to slaughter. These "horesmen" and breeders are the people who need to be controlled. They promote the horse as an athelete and something to idle.  Race tracks are the venue for their sport and should be the mechanism for fixing the problem.  But as with all issue, money (in this case gambling) and ego will win out over responsibility. 

The myth of the horse never being used as food derives from the cowboy and western laws that placed the value of a horse higher than a mans life. Horse thieves were hung because it was believed a man on foot would soon die. The truth is that horse meat was sold during the depression and world wars. The drugs given to horses are an issue, however similar drugs are given to cows, chickens, sheep and pigs which we consume everyday.  Some research could easily address these concerns.

John H

Jul 07, 2008 11:24 AM

The bolt gun/stun gun in slaughterhouses has been proven NOT to work correctly. It is unspeakably painful and more often leaves the animal awake, aware of the horror that awaits him or her. Look into their eyes, hear their desperate cries for mercy --- isn't that enough! And, horses sent to slaughterhouses - disgusting! Owners should be responsible for the life and death of their horses. If not loving (so many cruel "owners") then at least humanely, but its the owner's obligation. Step up and take care of your horses. BEWARE OF MAN!  

Jul 07, 2008 11:25 AM

As to the part of this article (and I quote) "Here are some of the wrong ways, based on recently reported incidents: Don’t tie the horse to a stockyard fence or a downtown stop sign and then drive off. Don’t turn the horse loose on public land or in a Costco parking lot. Don’t bury or incinerate a dead horse near a water drainage. When a horse is euthanized, its carcass may be classed as "medical waste," ineligible for landfill burial or even cremation in many states."

It's mentioned that these "incidents" are based on reports.  I wonder if there are actually police reports.  There were a rash of articles mentioning abandoned horses last year, but those were nothing more than a hoax.  Just because this article says there were incidents doesn't mean it's true.

As for disposal methods of a horse carcass, the author fails to mention composting and rendering plants.  Here in California (home of some of the strictest enviromental regulations) you do have the option of sending the carcass to a landfill, I had to do this last year.

Slaughter is still happening incidentally.  The U.S. operations have moved to Mexico and Canada and your neighborhood friendly kill buyers are still in business, according to USDA records the number of U.S. horses slaughtered hasn't changed at all in the past two years.

For some real information that's not based on pro-slaughter hype, read these articles:

Duane Burright

Jul 07, 2008 11:25 AM

While I don't like the idea of slaughter, because I see my horses as pets, I understand the necessity.  My biggest problem with the industry is the inhumane conditions that the horses are transported in and the condition that the horses are in when they are transported.  Horses being shipped with broken legs (if they can hobble, the auction vets will let them be shipped), putting electric cattle prods up their anus to get them up off of the floor of the trailer which is slippery with urine and manure because these guys won't put shavings down, no water, no hay, 16.3h horses on double-decker cow trailers, etc.  The police don't stop these guys, but on the other hand, the budgets for police/state trooper forces are being cut, so they don't have the staff, etc.  They've outlawed double-decker transport of horses, but then the slaughter guys get upset because they can't get as many horses on a transport and they say that they lose money.  Like I said, I understand the need for slaughter houses and I'm not against them, I just don't like them.  And I wonder if the French and the Chinese, huge consumers of horse meat, understand all of the chemicals that go into these animals-wormers, anti-biotics, fly sprays, etc.  I'd be concerned if I were a consumer. 

Jul 07, 2008 11:27 AM

I have been breeding high quality ponies for over 40 years.  What am I to do with my old broodmares when they no longer produce, and have no teeth to eat with? I can't afford to keep one on Equine Senior feed for x number of years at over $50/ month and I have 5 old mares so that comes to $250/month or more than what it costs me to feed the rest of the herd of 50. Euthanasia and disposal would cost thousands!  I don't breed crap.  Some of my ponies are top performance ponies on the east coast and I have shipped semen to foriegn countries.  If I, a responsible breeder, needs to use a slaughter house, you KNOW the irresponsible breeders need one.

Jul 07, 2008 11:28 AM

1) Slaughter is NOT a necessary evil.  The number of horses that are sent to slaughter represent 1 percent of the total number of horses in the US.

<>2) Many of the horses are not rendered unconscious by the captive bolt.  The captive bolt was invented for cows NOT horses.  Because the anatomy of the brain in a horse is different from that of a cow and because of the flight response horses try to avoid the bolt.  Read the "white sheet" published by the AWI.  Horse slaughter is inhumane.  The recent undercover vidoe at a Canadian horse slaughterhouse showed how brutal, cruel and horrific the process is. The Canadians stated that horse slaughter is inhumane after viewing the undercover video.

<>3) A very recent article published by John Holland shows that despite the current downturn in the economy there is no increase in the number of abused or neglected horses across the country.

4) According to the USDA statistics, the number of horses sent to slaughter in Mexico and Canada are comparable to the number of horses slaughtered when the slaughter houses were operating in the US.

<>This article is filled with lies and deception.
Jul 07, 2008 11:31 AM

Don't worry, Nature has the solution at hand.  Once they all find their way to wild and free homes in the vast rangelands of Nevada, Idaho, Oregon and Utah, the problem will solve itself, in horrid and apocalyptic fashion. The horses will eat the range into oblivion, but the BLM and other agencies will not be able to gather them, because it is cruel and illegal.  Even if they could gather there is no budget for maintaining them at an adoption facility and no one to adopt anyway.  Many wild horse advocates will suddenly disappear from the debate, faced with the difficult choice of admitting they were wrong and allowing horses to be euthanised on the range to avoid starvation.  Many will stick to their guns, and continue to fight common sense management of stray animals on public land.  These unfortunate horses will die a slow death, ground between the rock of careless owners, and idealistic advocates and the hard place that we call the West.

Jul 07, 2008 11:31 AM


  This is America! Our values,which of late have been awry in DC!

  Just do a survey! A majority of Americans want our horses protected from the brutality of the slaughter pipeline.

  Since the beginning many American horses have been shipped to Canadian horse slaughter plants.

  Passing of the American Hoprse Slaughter Prevention Act will weed out all the irresponsible breeders,owners,and trainers!

 Many of our horses are unfit for human cosumption being many drugs in them are banned for use in our meat animals,these foreign companys tout the horse meat they sell from the USA as horses rasied in open fields or wild mustangs! Shame on our own USDA too!! Our pet food companys do not use horsemeat!!



Jul 07, 2008 11:32 AM

In 2007 alone the AQHA registered nearly 136,000 horses. (In comparison the Jockey Club registered approximately 37,000 horses in 2007.) How many additional Quarter Horses were produced and remain unregistered is unknown. Based on the following fee schedule and assuming that ALL registrants were members registering foals under 7 months old, this equates to an absolute minimum revenue of $3,400,000 from 2007 registrations ALONE. Factor in the amounts paid for nominations, race and show entries, and it becomes rather easy to understand why the AQHA does not want the AHSPA to become law.  Consider that of the 100,000 horses slaughtered each year, some 80% are listed by the USDA as being Quarter Horses.


2007 Registration Fee Schedule

                                                                                                     Member                   Non-MemberFOALING DATE TO 7 MO. BIRTHDATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $25 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $60AFTER 7 MO. BIRTHDATE TO 12 MO. BIRTHDATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $50 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $85AFTER 12 MO. BIRTHDATE TO 24 MO. BIRTHDATE . . . . . . . . . . . . $125 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $160AFTER 24 MO. BIRTHDATE TO 36 MO. BIRTHDATE . . . . . . . . . . . $300 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $335AFTER 36 MO. BIRTHDATE TO 48 MO. BIRTHDATE . . . . . . . . . . . $550 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $585AFTER 48 MO. BIRTHDATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,035 

How much of the minimum $3,400,000 + did the AQHA spend to provide financial assistance for euthanasia? Not a single penny. The AQHA did however, manage to hire former Senator Conrad (kill them all) Burns as a lobbyist to work against the passage of the AHSPA.


The AQHA, as the world’s largest breed registry, needs to become part of the solution. Set up a euthanasia fund and stop encouraging the mass breeding of horses. Start approving stallions and breeding mares as is done in most, if not all, Warmblood registries. The ongoing breeding of ill-conformed horses must stop. It is long past time for the AQHA to step up and demand responsible breeding and ownership.


Jul 07, 2008 11:33 AM

Horse slaughter can not be an option....that is the bottom line, then maybe people like the AQHA that bred 140.000 horses last year, will think twice about what they are going to do with the unwanted horses that they and other breeding industrys created.  There is alot of money in horse slaughter, and you have groups like this supplying the horses.  Don't make the grade off to a feedlot. then brutally killed and butchered. It is criminal  breeding horses with the intent to cause abuse and death. Stop the overbreeding and Stop the slaughter.  All about greed folks. 

Jul 07, 2008 11:34 AM

As long as we think it's ok to kill horses, dogs, cats when we no longer want them, and blame the big bad public and throw our hands in the air, the killing will continue. Or we could turn our efforts in another direction. Read "Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation & The No Kill Revolution in America."

Jul 07, 2008 11:35 AM

Why must we keep an industry in operation that 80% of Americans oppose, just to accommodate criminals?

Slaughter is the economic underpinning for indiscriminate over breeding, PMU factory farming of horses and its by-product foal genocide, consumer fraud, horse theft, the extermination of our wild mustangs, and irresponsible horse ownership in general.

because it was obvious horse slaughter could not be made humane according to the standards in its 2000 Report, AVMA simply changed the requirements in its 2007 Euthanasia Report! In that report the AVMA removed any mention that horses' heads should be immobilized during use of the captive bolt gun. That pesty requirement that slaughterhouses ignored anyway simply got in the way of the AVMA's campaign to convince Congress and the public that horse slaughter is "humane". Now the AVMA is effectively telling Congress and the public that it is humane euthanasia for an untrained operator to fire metal bolts at a horse's unrestrained head until it is more or less unconscious and then, still alive and perhaps even conscious, subjected to the slaughtering process.


kill buyers are not looking for the unwanted or abused or neglected horses. They are looking for healthy horses that can be slaughtered for horsemeat, a delicacy in parts of Europe and Asia. The USDA has said over 92% of American horses slaughtered, are healthy. the horse slaughter industry actually encourages the over breeding of horses. Because owners can make money from the brutal slaughter of their horses, they have an incentive to over breed. If the slaughter of horses for human consumption is illegal, there is no reward for over breeding. Pet actually reported a decrease in horse abuse and neglect cases following closure of the last U.S. horse slaughter house in 2007.

Historically, there have not been increases in abandoned, neglected or abused horses following closures of horse slaughter houses. In 2002 the Illinois slaughter house burned to the ground and was out of commission for some time. Reports of abandoned, abused and neglected horses in the Illinois area were actually on the rise in the 2 years before the fire but decreased afterwards.

The number of horses slaughtered in the U.S. dropped significantly from over 300,000 annually in the 1990s to 66,000 in 2004. There was no notable increase during that time of abandoned, abused or neglected horses.

A recent study of trends in horse slaughter revealed the number of horses slaughtered was determined by a demand for horse meat primarily in Europe and not by the number of unwanted or abandoned horses. These findings contradict horse slaughter industry claims that if horse slaughter is banned, there will be large numbers of abandoned, unwanted horses. The demand for horsemeat creates a market where horse slaughter "kill buyers" compete with other people who want to buy horses. This encourages owners to supply that market through over-breeding horses, for example. If slaughter of American horses for human food is made illegal, there would be less incentive to over-breed horses. The study shows that there would be no significant or sustained increase in unwanted or abandoned horses.

House slaughter is contrary to American values and given today's renewed patriotism,our message is more poignant than ever. If we do not protect our domesticated and wild horses against slaughter for human consumption abroad then America has indeed, lost her very soul.



Jul 07, 2008 11:35 AM

What a crock of crap! Do your own unbiased research Sir! Here are just a FEW that you can begin with!  Check the USDA records for the last 5 years and see the thousands of horses that were IMPORTED from Canada INTO the USA for slaughter! If we have such a surplus of "unwanted" horses, and SLAUGHTER does such a service of cleaning them up for us, then why were we importing them into the country?? Also AVMA CHANGED their written wording all around amid the conflict of all this, to EXCLUDE their original report on the captive bolt with HORSES! They were AGAINST captive bolt for horses UNLESS trained personal had an adequate head restraint!! AND the AQHA just registered it's five millionth foal!!!!!!!!!!! Many in the racing industry were also encouraged to OVERBREED as they had the kill buyers making weekly trips to the barns to take away horses that weren't fast enough!!!  It's all about the money folks! Just follow the money trail.... The TRUTH is this!! Slaughter has not, doesn't nor EVER WILL control overpopulation! It merely CONTRIBUTES to it!!!

Jul 07, 2008 11:36 AM

Stacey Segal is wrong on so many counts it's not funny.



Many American Indian tribes, if not specifically raising horses for food, certainly considered that to be the normal end of a horse after it was too old to carry someone on its back. And, both Indians and mountain men had no problem “going heavy” on horses in a pack trail to allow for food for “filler.”


Lewis and Clark ate horsemeat without batting an eye, for doorknob’s sake. And, a century ago, it was still fairly common for white farmers and ranchers on the high plains to eat horsemeat.


As for Segal’s second sentence, sure, if a horse is a prize Thoroughbred, it gets all doped up. I doubt a rancher's horse gets nearly as much shoved down its throat or injected its gluteus as does one of his cows.


Jul 07, 2008 11:40 AM

The premise of this article is faulty. Anyone wishing to send their horse to slaughter can still do so. The same number of horses are being slaughtered so to use an event that has yet to take place is a prediction, not an actuality. Whatever conditions exist, cannot be blamed on the loss of slaughter because it hasn’t happened yet. For every horse slaughtered, 8 die of natural causes or are euthanized. It’s evident that responsible owners are prepared for their animals death and have proven that slaughter is not the only option. Every article promoting slaughter transfers the responsibility from the owners to everyone else. Why should anyone but the owner be responsible for horses they made a conscious decision to buy or breed? Those of us that oppose horse slaughter ARE supporting the rescues and sponsoring horses. What is the pro slaughter side doing beside pumping out fictitious articles and trying every scare tactic in the book to justify their stance? What are they doing to help owners in need? What are they doing to promote responsible breeding? Their solution to every issue in the horse industry is slaughter. We are working on retirement funds for TBs. We are working with rescues across the country and establishing networks. We are fundraising and helping with the adoptions. The pro side, on the other hand, is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars donating to senators to block the legislation, hiring professional lobbyists and professional PR firms. Why not take that money and give back to the industry by establishing funds to help owners, by working with organizations to develop solutions and to educate horse owners on responsible breeding? 

The support of horse slaughter is not coming from the owner that has fallen on hard times. It is coming from the people and organizations who want to perpetuate the breed and dump cycle and the cattle associations. The irresponsible breeders want somewhere to dump their mistakes and the cattle associations fear if the legislation passes, cattle are next. That is absolutely ridiculous. Cattle are raised as food animals and beef is an accepted food source in this country. 

Why not target the cause; over breeding. Take the AQHA to task. Their foal counts each year far outnumber the number of horses slaughtered. Their foal counts are well over 100,000 higher than the next highest, TBs. The number one breed of horse going to slaughter is the quarter horse. Do you not see a problem there? If there is a surplus of horses, wouldn’t common sense dictate that you cut back on breeding? Wouldn’t the value of horses rise if they are bred for quality and not quantity? The years of excessive breeding has come home to roost. The kill houses only slaughter the amount they need to fill the demand, not the number of available horses. With slaughter still available and the pro folks claiming there are abandoned horses overtaking the country, doesn’t that prove our point that the kill houses are buying to meet the demand and we have more than they need? Isn’t that an over breeding issue? 

Horse slaughter was never humane in the domestic kill houses and use to the excuse that the foreign slaughter isn’t humane is just another scare tactic by the pro slaughter advocates. The exports are nothing new. I find it rather hypocritical that they didn’t seem to have a problem with the exports when the domestic kill houses were open. Not one peep out of them as horses were being transported to Japan, Mexico and Canada for slaughter. Now, it’s just another talking point to scare people into believing domestic horse slaughter is needed. If they were concerned for the horses’ welfare, they would be advocating ending slaughter. There are two ways to humanely end a horses life and slaughter isn’t one of them. There is no humane way to slaughter a horse.

Jul 08, 2008 10:44 AM

This issue boils down to: is a horse a pet, or is a horse livestock.

I use horses on my ranch, and ride them with my family and freinds in the national forest. In my state (Colorado) horses are considered livestock. I brand my horses, to prove ownership, and prevent theft.  I see many novice horse owners  in my area who treat horses like pets. They  buy a horse for themselves, or their children, and then, just as with many other pets, as the initial thrill wears off, and the reality of the work and expense of keeping a 600 to 1,000 pound animal as a pet sinks in, many many horses are neglected and sometimes starved.  Horses are herd animals, but I have seen many "pet owners" keep single animals penned up in a tiny stall or paddock - the equivalent of solitary confinement for a horse. I find this practice much more disturbing than allowing horses to be slaughtered.

Horses are NOT PETS. If you want to treat your horse like one, be responsible, but don't take away my right to treat my horses as they truly are - livestock. I love some of my horses, and tolerate others, but I treat them all humanely, more than some of you "pet owners"



Jul 08, 2008 06:23 PM

My dad was a saddlemaker all his life. We lived on a farm; we never had a horse. He said that too many people bought supplies and other things for their horses when their children needed shoes and food. Horses are great, if they are being used to help with a lifestyle (i.e, ranching, farming, guiding, etc.) They are a waste of time, effort and money if they are purchased for the pleasure (short-lived most of the time) of owning one, and are expensive.

Jul 11, 2008 06:17 PM

"There is no humane way to slaughter a horse."

 Of course there is; don't be silly.  Kill it quickly and without pain.  It shouldn't suffer, but a lot of animal people seem to have this idea that killing an animal is by definition inhumane.  It's a silly, urban conceit.