Mexican and Canadian Brutality to Horses

horse slaughter

by Marcia Mueller

As we try to stop the round-up of wild horses by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), we also need to think about other abuse of horses that receives less attention. One of those abuses is the slaughter of horses for food. Eating horse meat is obviously not an American custom, but it is a tradition in France, China, Japan, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and Scotland.

Three foreign-owned slaughterhouses operated for a while in the United States. However, they were closed when Congress banned spending for USDA inspections after public protests. Many Americans found the idea of eating horses repulsive and unacceptable. Unfortunately, no law was passed to prohibit sending horses to foreign slaughterhouses. Last year alone 140,000 horses were trucked to Canada and Mexico. This year again there was an attempt to fund inspectors for American slaughter facilities, but the ban has remained, and the horses will continue to undergo the trip.

So why is America allowing its horses to be killed to supply foreign demand? Two answers are greed and meeting the needs of irresponsible people who want to get rid of their animals and make a few dollars in the process.

The unfortunate victims come from a variety of sources, including horses from BLM round-ups. Wild horses and burros were allocated land so they could continue to live in freedom. However, ranchers need increasing amounts of public land for cattle grazing, and the horses are removed for the ranchers’ convenience and profits. Some horses from the round-ups are put up for adoption, and others are left in dismal holding pens (the ones that survive and round-ups and hazing!). Others can end up going for slaughter, even illegally. In 2012 the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros reported that Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s friend Tom Davis sold 1794 horses for slaughter in Mexico. Davis later admitted that the horses were bought for $10 dollars each and sold as a group for $150,000, or about $73 per horse profit. Transport cost the tax payers $140,000. Davis has never been prosecuted for their deaths.

Other horses sent to Canada and Mexico are victims of “backyard” breeders who are trying to make money selling them or even hoping get that great next winner at the race track. Many are horses who, like dogs and cats, are no longer wanted in this throwaway society. Included are the old, injured, and sick whose owners refuse to pay for euthanasia. Some may be ex-carriage horses who are unable to work the busy streets anymore. So increasing numbers of horses are found on abandoned property, left on roads, and even deposited in dumping areas like garbage. Sanctuaries try to save as many as they can, but the numbers are too great to care for them all. So it was decided that sending horses to slaughter was simply a way of disposing of unwanted animals and making the end of their lives a monetary transaction.

The trip to Canada and Mexico is a nightmare for the animals, as documented by Animals’ Angels. They are shipped in trucks not designed for the long necks of horses, and thus the animals are squeezed in and cramped in a space too small for them. Since some of the animals are sick and injured to begin with, the journey is even more hellish for them.


Pregnant mares give birth in trucks and the littles are often trampled to death before the truck arrives at its destination. The journey may last 24 hours, often in extreme heat or cold, with no rest, no stretching, no food, no water.

According to Animals’ Angels the stockyards where the horses are brought for sale are often littered with dead and dying animals with no one to attend to them or administer euthanasia. Furthermore, in spite of Animals’ Angels’ documentation, the sellers and killer buyers are almost never prosecuted.

The slaughter itself is sickening, especially in Mexico. In 2007 The San Antonio News-Express revealed that Mexican slaughterhouses use a “puntilla” knife to sever the spines of the horses before slaughter. The video obtained by the paper revealed the horses being stabbed multiple times in the neck. Finally, the stabbing paralyzes the horses and leaves them unable to breathe. They remain fully conscious during the slaughter process until they are “bled out” and die. Canadian slaughterhouses apparently use stun guns/captive bolt guns but the process often require two to four shots to work.

The slaughter of any animal is brutal. We fight the battle with Big Ag over the suffering inflicted on cows, pigs, sheep, and birds in America. That we are sending even more animals to their death in other countries is inexcusable.


We should not be sacrificing our horses for dietary customs abroad.



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20 thoughts on “Mexican and Canadian Brutality to Horses

  1. Pingback: Mexican and Canadian Brutality to Horses | Animal Ambassadors International (Canada)

  2. Humans SUCK man. They will eat anything and everything, dogs cats, horses, sheep, pigs, birds with ZERO remorse, then they will go to church to exonerate themselves from any “wrong doing”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is vile, disgusting & disgraceful. How anyone can do this to a animal are beyond me. They should be ashamed of themselves. This has got to stop. Its barbaric and unacceptable.


  4. This is horrific and completely unacceptable! How can anyone do this and/or support this sick, twisted treatment of one of the greatest animals on earth? Excuse me while I go and lose my breakfast…..


  5. Maybe I should note here that one viewer said there was an error in discussing the story of Tom Davis and his sending the horses to slaughter. The story was originally broke by David Philipps in ProPublica. However, multiple organizations reported on the story after it developed. I noted information from at least one of those.


  6. I’m from Canada, and fairly ashamed of that due to ouroutdated attitudes towards animals and the greater environment. I think any and all methods to get horse slaughter stopped are worth pursuing, with the SAFE act being the one that might help us most in our fight to get this barbarity stopped in Canada. Our lawmakers can’t seem to get their heads out of their asses to get an anti slaughter bill passed here, despite a majority, not just AR people, being against it. If the US could get SAFE passed, it would greatly reduce the numbers available, and maybe some, preferably all, of these murder plants, would have to shut down, or at least greatly reduce their body count. If that could be accomplished, we’d still have to tackle the ever-growing problem of live air shipping of horses to Japan, possibly an even worse fate for the victims. This is under the radar, aND i’M SURE THE GOVERNMENT WOULD LIKE TO KEEP IT THERE, AS MULTIPLE ANIMAL CRUELTY AND TRANSPORT LAWS ARE BEING BROKEN with impunity, and they look the other way, just as they do in supposedly CFIA regulated kill plants. (Sorry about the caps, my fingerm slipped.) Any Americans interested in our efforts to help horses in Canada can google the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition. It may seem an impossible dream, but even though they limit their efforts to equines, they have probably helped to get this issue in front of the most previously uninformed people. As for the barbarians who eat horses and then end up with diseases because of the unregulated drug residues (bute,etc.) in the corpses, I hope they die a horrible death, and make others think twice about following their depraved example. It would be awesome if a pandemic started, and killed them all. Would serve 2 purposes, population control and removal of some of the worst specimens of our mostly hideous species.

    Liked by 1 person


    Liked by 1 person

  8. this is the one thaing we horse lovers to need to work as i sad be for ther is a lot of good options for horses they can be dondated they can go to therpudics farms retierment farms its just so heart breaking

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dispictable, dibolic cruelty at its highest form.You all should hold your heads in shame God have mercy on your wicked black hearts and souls.Killing horses gor human consumption is kulling those that eat horse,toxic and you dont care.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yes we do, and some of us deal with that in real life, not just in print/social media. What do you propose we do, go into a FOREIGN COUNTRY and face long jail terms?
    Hijack a truck and get shot?
    Shoot a KB so we might serve a term here and become useless to the cause?
    Better you/we spread the word that we MUST get the SAFE ACT PASSED. Rally against breed organizations that (not so) secretly promote slaughter, even within our own borders.
    Educate as graphically as possible the horrfic slaughter pipeline from auction to death.
    Or join us and try to save as many as we can before their fate is sealed, putting our love, time and money where our mouths are and walking the talk.
    It can entail much sacrifice on our part, but better us then them imo.
    I for one am perpetually, flat out broke from donating, saving, feeding, vetting and a slew of other things from that walk I’ve chosen, but I wouldnt, couldn’t live with myself any other way…
    nor could those two in my avatar and the others I’ve rescued that were once looked at only by price per pound.
    The SAFE ACT is the best hope they have within our borders. Help get it passed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think most of us can identify the lifestyle of the dedicated animal activist with our rounds of rescuing, feeding, donating and doing what we can to help.

      Great idea to bring up–The SAFE Act. I’m sending along some information for those who want to help out.

      The SAFE Act closes the loophole that allows horses to be transported to other countries to be killed for human consumption. It also bans the transport of horses across borders for slaughter. The main purpose is to safeguard food safety for people because the drugs commonly given to horses are deemed unsafe for human consumption. But the most important issue for most of us is saving horses from slaughter in America and preventing the horrendous transport to Mexico or Canada.

      What can we do to help? We should write and call our legislators and ask them to support the bill. Formally, it is called the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act. The bill in the Senate is referred to as S. 1214 and in the House of Representatives it is referred to as H.R. 1942.

      You can find your representative at You can find your senators at There are phone numbers and email/building addresses on the sites so that you can call, e-mail, or write.

      If you want to go further, you can also send thank you calls/e-mails/letters to those who are sponsoring the bill: They are Senator Bob Mendendez (D-NJ), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), and Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD); House members are Representative Frank Guinta (R-NH), Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL), and Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM). As you can see, the bill has bipartisan sponsorship.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. I would be happy to follow your posts about protection of horses, but because you are promoting Hillary Clinton and are coming out against Donald Trump, I do not want to be part of your group. Thanks for the article to inform people of the terror of horse slaughter.


  12. Thank you for this particular post. People who don’t own horses often dismiss this as not affecting them, but if you’ve ever had a dog or cat, then this is exactly the same. One would never consider selling their aging dog to the Chinese fur industry, one should not do this to their horses either. The BLM round ups are shameful and despicable.

    This won’t end until people stop going to race tracks and OTB, and don’t take on a horse unless they can commit to all 30 years of its life.

    Liked by 3 people

      • I cannot share that link as it does not address the true problem of slaughter, and it is written in such a way as to make many dismiss it as “liberal BS” in the first few paragraphs without reading further.. and alienation is counter productive to our goal at this point when it is ranchers, breeders etc, you know, the people with money, many of which are right wing that we are trying to get on our side on the issue.
        More than 70% of the American people want the BLM roundups stopped. But roundups, while intertwined, are a seperate issue from closing out borders to horse export for slaughter.
        Going after the BLM to stop roundups by saying/inferring wild horses are a large part of horses being slaughtered will get you nowhere as they will simply state they have adequate measures in place to prevent the mustang from being sold to that end, no matter what we with knowledge otherwise day.
        As I said before, education and passing the SAFE ACT are our best hope at this point in time to move this country away from the barbarism of slaughtering any equine for profit.

        Liked by 1 person

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