Action Item

Horse Slaughter Has No Business In America


Bill has been reintroduced in the House . The number is now HR 1942

At Wild Horse Education we often get questions about our American mustangs going to slaughter. As with most of the issues there is the simple answer and then there is the entire truth. Yes, our American mustangs are sent across our borders and into the slaughter pipeline. Yet there are a multitude of ways that they get there.

When we are talking about BLM mustangs they enter the pipeline in primarily two ways.

A horse adopted through the BLM gets “titled,” like vehicle ownership, after one year. Once an owner has title in essence the horse has lost all protection afforded by the act and is considered a “domestic.” All laws, or lack thereof, that apply to domestics then apply to a BLM branded horse. An owner can then sell a horse and place it in jeopardy of slaughter.

In 2004 a program called “sale authority” became a reality for wild horses. In essence this program allowed the bulk sale of wild horses for as little as $10. each. Many of these horses were sold to known killbuyers. In recent news an investigation we participated in uncovered 1,700 of these wild horses going to one man, Tom Davis. We have still not been updated as to any ramifications for such a sale approved by the BLM. Since that story broke BLM claims to have “tightened up” their sale program allowing only 4 such horses to be purchased by one individual. Yet if you read the fine print additional horses can be obtained through “permission.” BLM denies it sells wild horses to slaughter (although selling to a killbuyer is essentially, yet no technically, to slaughter). READ HERE:

And right now our wild horses are under threat of mass sale. One of the provisions that the Nevada Association of Counties (NACO) has brought into a federal courtroom is an attempt not just to remove wild horses from public land but to allow all provisions of the original sale authority (horses going to slaughter). Wild Horse Education is in the fight to stop this federal legal action and we do need your support. READ HERE:

Another way our wild horses find their way into the slaughter pipeline is “jurisdiction.” Only wild horses and burros found on BLM or Forest Service land are afforded any protections. Wild horses found on tribal land (like the McDermitt horses that went to auction in August 2013) or those found on land of other federal agencies (USFWS mustangs like the Sheldon) are routinely in jeopardy of the kill auction sale yard.

McDermitt foal nursing on exhausted mare at the livestock auction after roundup, transport and sorting

McDermitt foal nursing on exhausted mare at the livestock auction after roundup, transport and sorting (photo Laura Leigh)

But what is “horse slaughter” and why is it a problem if Americans don’t eat their horses?

Many Americans are still unaware that American horses are slaughtered for human consumption. Our horses cross our borders every single day and are brutally killed through a captive bolt (supposedly stunning an animal before it’s throat is cut) or literally being stabbed through the spinal cord and then hung upside down to have it’s throat cut.

You constantly hear “belly aching” by those that over breed, or are looking for a way to make a greater profit off of America’s horses, that the “horse industry” is in trouble because Americans can’t slaughter horses. They claim that people are “forced” into starving or paying to euthanize a horse and this is “unfair.” It is also not the truth.

The United States is very much “horse country.” Over 900,000 horses die every year in the United States.That should give you an idea of how many Americans own horses. In 2008, the last year we had horse slaughter in the US, about 100,000 horses were slaughtered. Most Americans that own horses do so responsibly and euthanize, rendered or bury, their horses. But proponents for reopening horse slaughter facilities in the US would have you believe that distraught poor people, that can no longer keep their horses, are starving them or turning them loose on public land and the slaughter brokers are here to “help” Americans with the “humane disposal” of beloved horses. This is so far from any truth it is akin to insanity.

Any American today can sell a horse to a “kill buyer” that ships animals to Mexico or Canada. About the same number of horses go to slaughter as they did when facilities, like the one in Kaufmann Texas, were in operation. The idea that anyone is inhibited from sending a horse to the most brutal death imaginable is absurd. The exact opposite has happened. Many people are actually afraid to take horses to a sale as they know killers are waiting to buy horses. An option to sell your horse at auction has actually been inhibited.

Sheldon mustangs routinely are at risk of slaughter

Sheldon mustangs routinely are at risk of slaughter

The claim that having horse slaughter in the US will somehow make this practice “safe and humane” is also insanity. First you need to actually look at the “product” produced by an “industry.” The product is produced in a non-regulated fashion that involves the use of known carcinogens wrapped in the final package. Medications including “bute” (a widely used pain killer akin to “horsey ibuprofen”), wormers, vaccines and even shampoos that clearly state “not for use in animals intended for food” are butchered and packaged for “human consumption.” Even our wild horse population held in captivity has been given wormer and vaccines prior to shipping into government warehousing. Using the term “humane” is also a joke. A captive bolt is used to supposedly stun a horse (often dozens of attempts are made and even if successful animals regain consciousness) and then it is hoisted by a rear leg to have it’s throat cut. If you think horses waiting in the slaughter line are unaware of what is awaiting them, you don’t know horses.

The market for horse meat is drying up abroad as the European Union recognizes horses coming from the United States literally represent poison. Recent discoveries of horse meat (and bute) being passed off as beef in frozen food products has rocked many European countries.

Yet in spite of horse slaughter being seen as unacceptable by 80% of Americans, the meat being poison and there being a shrinking market still states like Oklahoma and New Mexico are pushing to begin slaughtering American horses within weeks. This flawed business plan is supposedly supported by the horse “industry” through assertions made by those that have a potential to reap a profit. However the American “horse industry” is actually the vast majority of Americans and horse owners that act responsibly, and do not support horse slaughter.

Horse slaughter is an ugly business filled with violations of basic morality. Passing off poison meat, butchering pregnant mares, shipping crippled animals, polluting the environment as you extoll your virtues as “humane,” leaves more than a bad after taste.

Attempting to create a consumer market for horse meat has failed in the United States. Grocery store shelves carried horse meat for a time in the 1970’s, it failed. Even US pet owners, either afraid of the health risks or disgusted by the concept, refuse to buy products containing horse meat for their cats and dogs.

Horse Slaughter Has No Business In America

Unbranded McDermitt horses at auction

Unbranded McDermitt horses at auction

Horses Hit the International Spotlight

Right now one horse, California Chrome, has stirred the public in his run for the “Triple Crown.” Having already won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, the Belmont Stakes is the last hurdle toward achieving this feat. Affirmed was the last horse to do this grueling three race feat in 1978.

The public will have horses on their minds as media continues to hype this event.

Momentum in the legislative fight to end the slaughter of US horses gained another victory this week as the “Moran Amendment” to appropriations passed the House Ag Committee to be included in the 2015 Appropriations language. This language would “defund” inspections on horse meat effectively shutting down horse slaughter plants on US soil until 2016.

But we must shut down transport for export to stop  our US horses from being slaughtered abroad. Over 100,000 US horses meet this horrific end each year. The practice is also “predatory” in nature and creates a literally hostage situation where “kill buyers” and their brokers engage in the an extortion of sorts by screaming “the truck is coming” and charging as much as ten times market rate for horses they label “slaughter bound.”

We must stop this horror once and for all.

The Time is NOW!

Please take a moment to send a polite email to your federal legislators in Congress and urge them to cosponsor the SAFE Act (HR 1942), a bill to ban the slaughter of American horses for human consumption.

Safeguard American Food Exports Act of 2013 – Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to prohibit the sale or transport of equines (horses and other members of the equidae family) or their parts (including flesh, meat, and viscera), or the importing or exporting of equines or their parts into or out of the United States, by any person who knows or should have known that such equines are to be slaughtered for human consumption as food.

Take Action

1. Call your Senators and Representative and talk to them about this bill.

“Hello, I am a constituent of (your Representative or Senator’s name). I am calling to ask that you co-sponsor the Safeguard American Food Exports Act, HR 1942. Horse slaughter is an unacceptable practice opposed by the vast majority of Americans. Horses are not raised for food in the U.S. and are given a variety of drugs, horse meat is unsafe for human consumption. I would like that you request the bill come out of committee and go for a full vote immediately.”

2. Follow up your telephone call by sending an email. This bill falls under the category of “Agriculture.”

Find your Representative in the House:


Wild Horse Education is devoted to gaining protections for wild horses and burros from abuse, slaughter and extinction. We are active from range through holding and in litigation when required. Your support is greatly appreciated.