Betraying Our Equine Ally
An Animal Rights Article from


Susan Clay Hill, Animal Welfare Institute
June 2005

The horsemeat trade is hidden from most Americans and the industry wants to keep it that way.

Horses have served humans throughout history, carrying us on their backs, tilling our fields, drawing wagons and carriages, enriching our lives as friends and companions. In the United States, horses have never been raised for human consumption, yet American horses are being killed so their meat can satisfy the palates of overseas diners in countries such as Italy, France, Belgium and Japan. Show horses, racehorses, foals born as a “byproduct” of the Premarin© industry (a female hormone replacement drug), wild horses and family horses all fall prey to this detestable foreign industry.

The horsemeat trade is hidden from most Americans and the industry wants to keep it that way. Warren Smith, operations manager of a Canadian horse slaughterhouse, was quoted in the Edmonton Journal (3/10/01): “Talking about horses is kind of a scary thing, especially in the West, where people think it’s more of a pet than protein. When anybody starts writing about horses, everybody gets up in arms. Every time we say anything about horse in the paper, there’s always an uproar, so I don’t want to talk about it.”

Most horses who end up being slaughtered are brought in by killer-buyers who serve as middlemen for the slaughterhouses. Killer-buyers readily purchase as many horses as possible at livestock auctions around the country and haul them to the plants to be butchered. Many horses are sold at auction by irresponsible owners seeking an easy means to dispose of animals they no longer want. Others, however, are consigned by caring owners who simply have no idea of the fate awaiting the animals.

See our Horse Exploitation Photo Journal
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