The Meat Trade

Horse Auction

All of the posts discussing animal trafficking made me remember an article I read from several years ago. Horse meat. In America horses are considered above human consumption and referred as companions and faithful steeds. Horses have a long standing history of being held high in human standards as being useful for a variety of daily necessities.

American is aware of the export and slaughter of homegrown US horses to supply a meat that’s shunned at home but popular with diners overseas. Each year, thousands of horses abandoned pets, ex-racehorses, farm animals, are rounded up and trucked across the country south into Mexico, or north into Canada, for killing and processing and dispatching abroad, many to Europe, a major hub of horse meat consumption.

It’s a murky and often-informal business, with numerous buyers, sellers and middlemen in on the game. And it’s part of a much bigger, international trade in horses and horse meat now in the spotlight in the wake of the European horsemeat scandal. This was initially triggered by the discovery of equine meat in “beef” burgers on sale in Ireland and the UK, and has now widened to include numerous meat products. Seizing their chance, long-time critics of the horse meat industry have stepped up efforts to close the trade down, citing appalling horse suffering and health risks to humans through controversial drugs entering the food chain.

Most horses destined for the international meat market begin their journey being trucked to auction houses across the US. From there, they are transported on to feedlots, and then exported across the border to slaughter facilities in Mexico or Canada. Activists say that horses are frequently crammed into vehicles — many not suitable for carrying livestock — and forced to endure lengthy journeys without adequate food, water and rest, leading to injuries and exhaustion. Graphic pictures show a number of other horses sprawled on the ground, apparently too sick to get up, and an aborted foal abandoned in the dust. Conditions were so bad that investigators say they pleaded with the auction authorities to euthanize a number of the horses.


Many of the horses sold to the mexican slaughterhouses find a brutal death. The horses are funneled into a small bloodied metal chute one by one where they are stabbed in their spines or heads. After their death, which may take multiple stabs, the carcass is dropped onto a line where they are hung from their hooves and their blood drained to ensure death. All horses sold the slaughter are killed including pregnant mares and foals. Along with possible contaminates from slaughter houses horse meat may also be contaminated with drugs such as Bute, a drug used on racehorses known to be a carcinogen to humans.

Is there any way to stop the brutal trade of horses over our borders? Spread awareness. If you know of someone wanting to sell or give away a horse to be aware of the buyer. Many horses are purchased on craigslist for cheap or free, or sold in an auction house where livestock can be bought in bulk for low prices.


One thought on “The Meat Trade

  1. This is horrifying to me! I love horses and grew up riding, competeing, and showing them on a friend’s farm near by. You grow so attached to them over time, they’re like big puppies. In the time I spent there, we never gave away any of our horses to any strangers. We always knew the person well or that person had taken lessons at the farm, so we felt comfortable about selling them (basically what it came down to was selling them for more space or less cost on our friend, but at the same time giving us the chance to still see them). I feel like anyone who cares for horses, would do the same. To blindly sell them like this just makes me sick. I honestly am taken aback by this, and would like to see this end in my life time!

    I’ve found a few links to sites that support the stop of this horrible act.
    (including the humane society’s page on it)

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