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New Anti-Slaughter Amendment: What Does It Mean for Horses?

October 28, 2005 | Horses
By Laurel Lundstrom

UPDATE (February 07, 2006):

Despite a measure passed by Congress late last year (see below) to prohibit taxpayer money from funding the federal inspection of live horses for slaughter, the practice of slaughtering horses for human consumption will continue unabated in the United States.

Today, the United States Department of Agriculture announced that three slaughterhouses - two in Texas, one in Illinois "“ will be paying for inspections on a per-fee basis. Beginning 10 March 2006, the companies will maintain their operations by financing inspections themselves.

The announcement follows a rulemaking petition, delivered by the three slaughterhouses about a month ago, demanding inspections. Without such inspections, horses could not legally be slaughtered in the U.S., nor shipped elsewhere to be slaughtered for human consumption.


28 October 2005 - In four months' time, under an amendment passed with the 2006 agriculture appropriations bill,[1] the U.S. Department of Agriculture will no longer be allowed to provide the inspection necessary to process horse meat for human consumption. The measure also deems shipping horses to other countries for slaughter illegal, although there is no penalty for doing so. Animal welfare groups are ecstatic, calling the legislation a "historic victory on behalf of country's beloved horses." [2]

For certain horses, that might be true. But others won't be so fortunate.

Once enacted, the amendment is only valid for one fiscal year; in October of 2006, horse slaughter will be up for Congressional debate once again. In any case, horses not saved from human consumption may be rendered for zoos or for pet food.

While two of the three horse slaughter plants in the United States may see a dip in sales come February, the Beltex Corporation in Fort Worth, Texas will continue to stay in the business of processing wild boars, ostriches, and bison. [3]

The slaughtering of horses is decried, in part, for its foreignness. Much of the horse flesh is shipped to places abroad such as Belgium and Italy; the three slaughterhouses exporting, we frequently hear, are also foreign-owned.

Yet it is the U.S. government and U.S. ranchers, relying on U.S. demand for beef and other animal products, who remain unwilling to give up their use of public land. And that is what really pushes wild horses and burros off the land and into slaughter. With less land given to the ranching industry, the 41wild horses found slaughtered in the Illinois plant earlier this year might still be alive.

In addition, private owners across the United States will still discard lame, old, outgrown, and otherwise unwanted horses. Horses used for sport and other large commercial purposes also outlive their usefulness and are discarded. An estimated 15,000 horses are actually conceived as throwaways by the menopausal hormone industry each year. Because the legislation does not address the root of the problem, the Congressional debate will continue.

Horses serve us all of their lives, say the animal welfare proponents, and thus we ought to stop slaughter. But it is precisely because we do see horses as put on earth to serve us that we wind up with the issue of how to dispose of them. That won't go away so easily.

Until we stop seeing horses as an item to be privatized and traded -- whether for sport, for companionship, or even for their iconic value as symbols of romantic western ideals, killing is inevitable.

Starting with the few free-living horses still roaming the plains and islands, an enlightened society would ask how we can begin to respect these animals on their own terms.


  1. House Amendment 236 of House Resolution 2744.
  2. "Ban on horse slaughter survives Republican effort to kill it," Associated Press (26 Oct. 2005), quoting Nancy Perry, vice president of governmental affairs for the Humane Society of the United States.
  3. Personal Interviews, Beltex Corporation, Cavel International and Dallas Crown Slaughterhouses (28 Oct. 2005).


To all of you who have rescued horses, I thank you, but these are animals. I love my horses dearly, but if one of them was hurt or dangerous I would not want to put other people in danger. Thank goodness we still have kill plants, this keeps prices resonable to horse breeders and the quality of horses available high.

On February 9, 2006, Lynn Klenow wrote: "I think anyone who supports horse slaughter should be run through the kill chute to see what it is like." Do you really mean that Lynn? If you do, doens't that make you a psychopath??? These horses are being slaughtered for human consumption... Don't you understand that people have to eat to survive just like the wolves and grizzlies do??? Did you really think we eat only because we are just low down and evil and mean??? Or we do it because we are filty capitalist pigs and white skinned on top of it??? Who is the worst person: Person A who is killing a horse because he must eat the same way Lynn Klenow does to survive.... Or Lynn Klenow who wants to see person A killed for killing an animal so person A can eat to survive????? If you really mean this Lynn, what can you do to help?? There are two things you can do... give up your property to support the nearst wolf and horse reserve, including ALL of your income....and since some thing or other must die in order for you to live, including plants if you are a vegan you could commit suicide... After all if you don't eat the animals that eat plants, do you have any right to plants that animals must have to survive????? Just Curious Tom [Blog editors'note: Curious Tom sure is wrapped up in provocations.]

On February 9, 2006, Lee Hall wrote: "Thank you for writing. Please note that horses are for sale in this country. They are treated as articles of commerce right here." Well Lee, so is every thing else that people need to eat to survive. Don't you people understand that all living organisms including man must eat to survive????? It sounds like you are against the ownership of animals. If so what is your answer??? If people don't own animals so they can be bought and sold into slavery,...sorry I mean harvested, killed, murdered, slaughtered, butchered, eaten what will you do when the shelves in your grocery store are empty???? Wouldn't that be fun if you and all of you friends of animals had to face reality and either set there and starve to death or kill something so you could eat just to get rid of your hunger pains!!! I think it would really be funny if your only options were a horse, a wolf or a grizzly!!!!! Really, what is the difference between a grizzly or a wolf killing a horse to survive and a human doing the same for the same reasons??? There is only one difference if you really stop and think about it... that is the way you view one versus the other in your own mind. Isn't it true you can avoid this reality because you aren't involved in the harvesting/butchering process... you can just go to the grocery store??? I see where you are coming from on some of your issues, but you people all act like you aren't involved in any of this harvesting/butchering process. IE I am a vegan... Well like it or not, if you eat only plant matter, there or people out there that claim you are guilty of killing a plant.... I've heard people claim that plants have feeling too!!! So what is your answer?? Remove the people from the land?? If person A doesn't have the right to havest the bounty of the land, Does FOA have the right to impose their ideas on Person A???? Also does Lee practice what he preaches???? Do you live in a conventional house?? Do you drive a car?? Do you use any fossil fuels? Electricity? Do you have a pet dog or cat? If you do any of these things and any of the things your friends and neighbors do, you are probably as guilty as the anybody else when it comes to supporting commercial agriculture and the minerals extraction business and all of these things that are ruining our beloved earth mother!!! Oh by the way, the Berlin Wall was not made to keep people out of communist Russia!!! Lets see if you've got the guts to post this on your blog! Tom

it sure does suck to be a horse. you work all your life, and when you're old & not of use, they kill you cause it's convenient. sure makes being a cow better? at least no ones riding you, or you're pulling a load, getting spurred, whipped, having to carry heavy weight... if you REALLY love animals, you would not keep them. to keep dogs and cats, they need to be fed (protein) and where is protein going to come from? i almost think that pet food companies, human food companies hype up the idea having pets is a life enriching experience. true, but what to do about old companions? unwanted companions? food to FEED your companions? its a capitalistic society and animals are preyed upon by humans. so let me reiterate again, if you REALLY love animals, you would not keep them and continue to breed them. because eventually they will need to be disposed of one way or another. ---- but hey, check out these articles--i never imagined they ground up dogs and cats...well, to be fed back to dogs and cats. and cosmetics & soaps too.

Hi, i am against horse slaughtering just like all of you!! My sister has bought a horse that my boss was goin to sell to a slaughter house...and i recently found out that where i work every year we have the slaughter house people from canada come and get some of our weak horses or our fat ones...i work at a riding stable...actually i used i decided to quit...i cant stand watching those animals knowing their goin to die..and i cant save them far im goin to buy 1 and my sister already bought one!! but i need alot more help then that!! so if you are interested in helpin me email me please im desperate at

what's up with these people why kill a horse?Well I think killing all kinds of animals is wrong!!!I'm not only talking about horses I talking about seals,cows,wolfs,wel you get the piont,so PLEASE STOP KILLING THESE CREATURES!!!What have they done to us??? thank you!!

hi, i am totally against animal killing of all kind. i am a vegetarian, and do own animals, some of which we rescued, and we treat them all wonderfully. they are considered family members and friends. i think that killing any type of animal is cruel, and we do it just so we can eat them. and we only kill them because they can not stand up for themselves, so we HAVE to stand up for them. killing animals for us to eat is no different than killing humans for us to eat, but yet that is illegal. SO NEXT TIME YOU EAT AN ANIMAL THINK ABOUT THAT!!!! SO PLEASE STOP ANIMAL SLAUGHTER

Hi, I think horse slaughter is a cruel thing because even if they made a mistake they should not be sent to slaughter and if you wanted them then why did you sell them especially when you no someone will buy them and give them a good home. I think that it is wrong to do to horse slaughter and slaughter to any other animal. I am going to join a anti slaughter club wheni can find one. I hope all of you people who are into slaughter read this. Please stop the slaughter. Stop the pain. If there was a human slaughter house a bet you would be in it. SO please STOP


Hello, I am 12 years old going on 13. My mom said for my birthday we are going to save some horses lives from slaughter. I have 6 horses and I would never ever send one of my horses to a slaughter. I still don't understand how people could be so cruel to those poor animals.THE ANIMALS CAN'T STAND UP FOR THEMSELVES SO HOW ABOUT WE STAND UP FOR THEM. END THE SLAUGHTER NOW................


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