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How humane is horse slaughter?

USDA document and photos obtained through the Freedom of Information Act paint a disturbing image of the U.S. horse slaughter industry.


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The USDA is being accused of ignoring animal abuse in horse slaughter factoriesA joint press release put out by two animal welfare organizations—Animal Law Coalition and Animals' Angels—states that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was aware of “extreme cruelty during horse slaughter at facilities in the U.S.” The December 4 press release claims are based on a 906-page document and nearly 900 disturbing photos released by the USDA.

The document and photos were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request submitted three years ago by equine cruelty investigator Julie Caramante. Animals’ Angels assisted Caramante in obtaining the documents, and they are now working with Animal Law Coalition to assess and disseminate the information.

"I've been an equine cruelty investigator for a number of years," Caramante says, "and I've witnessed many incidents of animal cruelty but nothing could prepare me for these images."

According to the press release, “The photographs document significant injuries to horses at the slaughter house. Injuries included conscious dismemberment, open fractures, blinding, and battered faces. It appears some horses were left to bleed out. Other injuries indicated long-term abuse and neglect.”

“The pain and terror these horses had endured is criminal," Caramante says.

The documents and photographs released by the USDA can be found at /redirect.aspx? WARNING: THE IMAGES ARE EXTREMELY DISTURBING.

The press release goes on to state that there is some veterinary community support behind the anti-slaughter movement. “Dr. Nicholas Dodman of the Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee describing horse slaughter as, ‘a brutal and predatory business that promotes cruelty and neglect,’ concluding that as a veterinarian a ‘rapid end to this wholly brutal and un-American trade’ is warranted.” Indeed, Dr. Dodman has vehemently spoken out against horse slaughter. A Q&A with him about his views can be found at: /redirect.aspx?

Horse slaughter in the U.S. ended in 2007 after the three remaining plants in Texas and Illinois were closed by state lawmakers and the courts. There is a federal bill pending in Congress that would prevent horse slaughter from resuming in states without laws prohibiting it. The bill would also prevent U.S. horses from being shipping across international borders for slaughter. Currently, thousands of U.S. horses are shipped to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.

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Reader Comments

Chippy    P, UT

7/17/2013 7:51:13 PM

Thanks for posting that link!

Clarissa    Provo, UT

7/13/2013 11:32:43 PM

Horse slaughter is not only cruel and inhumane to horses, it is harmful to humans as well. In its lifetime, a horse is given medications and other toxic substances that would be harmful to humans and animals that consume its meat. Horse meat is not sold in the United States, but it is exported to other countries.

Horses are beautiful, intelligent animals that bring joy and friendship into our lives. We need to protect these sensitive animals from being killed.

Horses can't speak for themselves, but we can be their voice. Let congress know that Americans won't stand by while these precious animals are butchered.
Please don't be a bystander, be a rescuer! Follow this link to act today: LINK

Louisa    FDL, WI

7/8/2013 8:27:27 AM

I hope the Reps and senators of all the states see our comments and start to think horse slaughter is wrong. Then I hope they will NOT vote for more to come to every state. I think this is one of the most disgusting things that ever entered my mind. Horses are sensitive and need love. It's like would you want to be slaughtered? No I didn't think so.

Brenda    New Orleans, LA

7/3/2013 12:11:35 PM

I think the article is wonderful. Horse slaughter is wrong. We won't even mention the severe abuse of the entire process and how they are killed and the horror that leads up to it and all else. It is a shameful blight that the law against horse slaughter was reversed. Obama should know that he is showing great unenlightenment by not preventing horse slaughter. If one of his daughter's had one of theses great creatures, he would not allow the slaughtering of them. Please let us put into law a PERMANENT stopping of horse slaughter.

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