How do horse slaughterhouses work?

From Ron Epstein

The Montana state legislature endorsed a bill Tuesday that would allow the construction of a horse slaughterhouse. It would be the only such plant in the country—the last three, two in Texas, one in Illinois, were shut down in 2007.

How do horse slaughterhouses work? A lot like cow slaughterhouses. Horses arrive on trucks and trailers, usually after being purchased at one of the many horse auctions across the country. They proceed down a ramp, into a feeding pen, and finally through a chute that leads to a small, brightly lit room. That’s where an employee holds a pressurized gun called a “captive bolt pistol” up to the horse’s forehead and shoots a 4-inch piece of metal about the size of a roll of quarters into its brain. Workers sometimes need to shoot three or four times before the horse stops moving. The horse is then dumped out a side door and strung up by its feet, at which point workers slit its throat and drain the blood. The body is then cut up and sent off to a meat company, usually in France or Belgium, where horse meat is a delicacy. (See a video of the whole process here.)

Keep reading They Shoot Horses Don’t They? at Slate magazine

See also Equine Protection Network

and Equine Advocates

an Unwanted Horse Coalition

and The Humane Sociey

Hat Tip Jan Allegretti

Image Credit: WIkipedia Commons


I watched the video and thought it looked well run.

What else are you supposed to do with horses that aren’t wanted? Most come from the racehorse industry where much like human sports, only a few actually become stars. With humans, the rest get regular jobs and lives while racehorses are sent to slaughter. Some also have been abandoned by their owners because they can’t afford to keep them anymore due to the decline in disposable income.

Sending them to slaughter and willing markets in Belgium and France seem better then glue and dog food.

    Where are u going to go when u are unwanted and not useful to your family anymore? Perhaps they (horses) have a “regular” job to do as well, like making someone happy to adopt them! Just don’t make it so friggin expensive that they can’t afford to! Gee, what to do with all the foster children, put them down because there is no longer a use for them, helloooooo????

Farm Supply is asking for contributions of hay bales to feed hungry horses. The recession is forcing horse owners to realize they have no money left to feed their horses. So, they starve until they are sold — to slaughter house purchasers. The quandary: save the horses or the children? Yet another symptom of how sick this corporate economy is.


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