Horse Slaughter – the truths, the myths, the way to fix it all

Horse Slaughter:

I’m a very fact based person.

I came to horse rescue growing up with a grandfather who was a horse trader. I’ve been to tons of auctions across my region since I was a child. I understand the way it all works as well as anyone living, and I care about the truth behind slaughter, neglect, sales, auctions and trading horses.

The truth is vital for real change.

We cannot keep stating things as if they are fact just because someone we know told us it works this way or that way.Slaughter has little impact on equine neglect, if any at all. It also does not impact the traditional sales market. As one of the largest rescues in America, and as a group that works in think tanks and conferences with all major rescues, all numbers show numbers neglected aren’t rising. They are down, as a rule, across the board. And, of course, no organizations would better know if the neglect was rising than credible, large rescues that focus on law enforcement assistance, like we have.Both of these myths are used to try to support horse slaughter as an industry, though.

Factually, we know that more horses are not being neglected year after year (based on our own data and the data reported by rescues nation wide), even though the slaughter numbers are massively down, and that is something to realize:

The numbers being shipped are WAY down. Less than 18,000 horses were exported over the borders in 2022 to be slaughtered, down from 348,400 in 1989 (both in the USA and Exported back then), and down from 166,572 in 2012, after slaughter houses were closed to inspections (defunct) in the USA in 2007. Supporters of killing horses for human consumption (which presents many health concerns for humans, beyond the ethical considerations for a lot of people) used to say that slaughter had to exist or we would be overrun with horses in neglect situations and the sales markets would tank, but we see from hard data, all of that was a farce used to perpetuate a marginal, predatory and dangerous industry. We still hear things like, “Without slaughter, where would the old horses go or the thin horses?” Those aren’t the horses that ship. It never has been the typical type.

The horse in this image I’m sharing. . . he is the kind of horse that tends to ship. That is data you can look up – aged, emaciated horses aren’t who are sent to slaughter.

I’ve watched what a licensed USDA Shipper buys, and it isn’t usually the starved horse or the very aged horse. It wasn’t in the 80’s, and it isn’t now.

Sadly, and to the harm of many horses, these days, too many well-meaning people have fallen victim to the broker lot tales and believe it reflects the actual slaughter industry.

It doesn’t.

There are many horses in kill pen schemes that will not ship. They never were going to. There is a quota to be filled – supply / demand. No matter how many people buy from these fake kill lots, the exact number wanted to shipment will be sent. Until borders are closed, that is the way of it. By closing the borders, we close all broker lot schemes, and we absolutely, nationally, with 7,500,000 horses in the USA, can HANDLE the excess 16,000 not being killed.

That is .2% – People, we CAN handle that. We simple can. That’s a drop in a bucket – so fixable if borders close!

Slaughter is not needed, and broker lots need closed. Sure, you’re welcome to believe what you wish, whether true or not, but I like the truth; slaughter is not needed and doesn’t keep horses from neglect. There also isn’t really an overpopulation issue as much as a knowledgeable horse person deficit. If the market for kill horses ends, the breeders who send excess horses will be forced to be more thoughtful in their breeding. It is something we can handle in the industry. The USDA data is helpful if anyone wants to research on their own where real slaughter horses come from, and the industries responsible have already had to make changes as the numbers shipping does down each year. We absolutely can fix this and do better – the very notion that the number is so high we can’t do better is a farce. Folks can believe what they want, but to believe slaughter must exist is a choice not based in fact.

We’ve always been able to stop this, and I think now is the time we decide to do so.

How can you help? Visit

TO LEARN how to send a message to your reps in your state to endorse the SAFE ACT.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: