Horse charity launches huge anti-slaughter effort

Susan Wagner, executive director of Equine Advocates in New York, launched an effort to get 100,000 signatures on an appeal to end horse slaughter. She stands next to Press Exclusive, a Thoroughbred ex-racehorse who was trampled en route to slaughter and nearly died.

Susan Wagner, executive director of Equine Advocates in New York, launched an effort to get 100,000 signatures on an appeal to end horse slaughter. She stands next to Press Exclusive, a Thoroughbred ex-racehorse who was trampled en route to slaughter and nearly died. Press now resides with Susan on the New York horse sanctuary. To read Press’s story, please click this photo.

A New York charity, looking to end horse slaughter once and for all, is seeking to raise 100,000 signatures on an appeal to the White House.

Equine Advocates, a horse sanctuary based in Chatham, N.Y. launched a signature drive last week in an effort to gain enough signatures by Election Day to convince the current administration to intercede on behalf of the estimated 150,000 horses shipped to Mexico and Canada every year for slaughter.

Stating that mounting scientific evidence, published in top scientific journal Elsevier, as well as in the mainstream press, indicates horse meat is tainting “beef products” sold in countries like such as Great Britain, Susan Wagner of Equine Advocates says the issue of horse slaughter is about more than ending the brutality of horse slaughter. It’s about food safety, she says.

“At no other time in history has a presidential administration had so much information” that horse meat, which is commonly treated with medications and not recommended for human consumption, is possibly in the food chain, Wagner says. Citing the 2013 horse meat scandal in Europe, in which food advertised as beef products was in fact horse meat, Wagner says the best way to prevent horse meat from entering the food chain is to stop American horses from shipping to slaughter in Mexico and Canada. “I think we can stop this if we can stop the live transport of equines over our borders,” she says.

Buoyed by the 4,000 signatures already raised, Wagner and Equine Advocates supporters are meeting this week to enlist the aid of celebrities. They are hopeful that given Vice President Joe Biden’s historic support of anti-horse slaughter efforts, a petition at this juncture in history might stand a chance bringing about an executive order to end the shipment of horses to slaughter.

“Horse slaughter is a garbage disposal for (some) irresponsible people in the horse industry,” Wagner says. “We don’t consume horse meat in this country, and yet we ship it to other countries, even though horses are not bred for consumption. They’re bred to be sporting, recreational and companion animals.” To sign the petition, please click the link on Equine

27 responses to “Horse charity launches huge anti-slaughter effort”

  1. Linda Shockley


  2. Debbie Roscoe
    1. Debbie Roscoe
      This is a national voice, and this needs to be a global cause to stop the slaughtering of American horses for human consumption, here at Hang A Halter along with our sister page The American- Canadian Horse Warrior Forum we encourage everyone to hang their halters from their vehicles, horse trailers anywhere that sends the message that horse slaughter is not a controlled form of euthanasia, it is a slaughter of our magnificent horses, and to remember the ones lost and whom have fallen victim within the slaughter pipeline. We all need to stand up together united as one Team fighting this battle to not only save America’s horses, but to save each other from the consumption of toxic horse meat. My blessing to all who diligently day to day fight this battle. It is time America to make our voices a national cry for help, and end this merry go round of slaughter. Horses are companion animals and should be treated as such, NOT AS A FOOD SOURCE TO END UP ON SOMEONE’S DINNER PLATE.

  3. Wendy Gulliver

    If there were no horse slaughter, there would be no profit in overbreeding: overbreeding would end without any intervention from legislation. It is the equine slaughter industry that encourages overbreeding. Stop slaughter and the mega breeding farms would stop too.

    1. PBauer

      There is not profit in overbreeding. It’s a lot more expensive to breed a foal and raise it than what you get for your grown up 2.5 year old horse on the meat market.

      The slaughter ban will not stop idiots from allowing ungelded colts grazing together with some mares in some backyard pasture, the foals growing up without worming, vet care, basic training or anything.

  4. Loni Stewart

    The EU has put forward a rule for Canada stating that a horse bound for slaughter must have resided in the country of slaughter for 6 months prior. This rule is to come in to effect in March of 2017. It’s unlikely that industry will be able to comply given the huge numbers of horses who are shipped to Canada for slaughter. As a Canadian, I welcome this rule as it might, finally, be the beginning of the end. Of course, industry will fight it so we’ll have to see.

  5. PBauer

    And who is going to give those 150000 horses a year, a lot of them probably old or with health and behaviour problems and not riding horse material a good home?

    And what legislation is going to stop the over-reproduction of horses? Because in a country that is not able to regulate something as potentially lethal as guns because of a libertarian lobby I can see the huge outcry if legislation restricts or regulates horse breeding.

    If there are too many horses and not enough suitable homes, those that are surplus will either end up neglected and starving, or there has to be a suitable, humane means to end those 150000 lives a year and dispose of the carcasses.

    There is just no other way. Responsible handling of the captive bolt by a trained professional in a calm environment can end an equine life as humanely as the injection of the vet. That this isn’t the case in modern slaughtering plants is a matter of cost-efficiency, which is a shame, for horses and other animals meant for human consumption and a general failure of our societies.

    1. gail smith

      Not to mention the inhumane conditions of transporting these poor horses hundreds of miles – these are highly evolved, intelligent, thinking, feeling and aware creatures – no water and too many horses in a truck – and sometimes flying them overseas – this is JUST NOT RIGHT – every horse deserves a humane and respectful death in a calm environment – NEVER A SLAUGHTERHOUSE – if you have to eat them then I don’t want to know – so long as transporting distances or overseas is as frozen carcasses.…

    2. Daniel Cordero

      «And who is going to give those 150000 horses a year, a lot of them probably old or with health and behaviour problems and not riding horse material a good home»

      Typical commentary of the uninformed, anti-horse internet troll, which evidently shows that despite they call themselves “pro-business” they have no freaking idea about economy. No matter they end up voting Trump, or Pence, for that matter.

      Economically speaking, people tend to act in their own, unenlightened self-interest acting according to the incentives that society provides them. Well, as the article quite correctly points out, this horse slaughter thing merely provides a undue incentive to breed horses without control, to keep people that aren’t mentally competent enough to drive a motorped (i.e. killer buyers) operating in the horse industry and to further animal abuse.

      The famous surplus thing argument has been going around since… uhhh… prior to 1996 at the very least. I think that in plus +20 years of unrestrained killings FOR PROFIT you guys had more than enough time to do away with your “surpluss”. But you don’t, because you just love to the cash this blood trade puts in your hands… and, pursuant to what was commented above, you keep breeding and sellling meat horses in your own, unenlightened self-interest, creating externalities whose burden is for the rest of society to bear on (i.e. in the form of charities trying to look for homes for these horses, to name just one).

      «And what legislation is going to stop the over-reproduction of horses»

      It is not about legislation. It’s about removing the incentives. Society, and economy as an expression of the society that lies behind, will take care automatically of that (that’s what some Scottish guy called Adam Smith meant about market forces). And that’s why precisely legislation, or fiscal policy, is needed. Another issue is that you guys don’t want it to pass because you are basically hyper-conservative nay-sayers that can see past your own dogma and neocorporate propaganda.

      1. Anna

        Bullcrap. There’s no incentive to illegally breed horses for meat, it’s simply not cost effective.

        1. Daniel Cordero

          No, bullcrap to your bullcrap. There is a huge financial incentive in horse slaughter that precisely promote that things stay like they are now. True that those incentives are somehow limited for those breeding the horses and that will just get $500 a piece at the action, but they are huge for the slaughter plants and meat industry behind, that basically obtain meat at 50% lower cost of what fully-raised beef cattle fetches at the kill floor. Food fraud makes the rest.

          For backyard breeders, more than primary economical activity it is just a convenient way to abdicate their responsibilities and a way to get some quick cash from what is basically byproduct not fit for human consumption. They are essentially inefficient and in a world where economy is shifting from mass production (outdated, primitive) to efficiency they are a thing of the past. They must be shut down and they way to do so is legislation and fiscal policy.

          1. PBauer

            A young, healthy horse that was never medicated with anything is definitely fit for human consumption. So what the backyard multipliers (I refuse to call them breeders) produce is definitely fit for human consumption, just like a young, healthy bull or pig.

            What’s not fit for human consumption is horses that had been worked, that didn’t hold up, that have been medicated with certain substances. Like broken down race horses straight off the track, ex riding horses that have health problems but the owners can’t keep them etc. But even those don’t stay unfit for human consumption. All those substances have a waiting time until they have fully cleared from the organism, then you can eat the meat, no problem.

            This can of course not be guaranteed when auction horses of dubious origin are shipped off and slaughtered.

    3. Jan

      «And who is going to give those 150000 horses a year, a lot of them probably old or with health and behaviour problems and not riding horse material a good home»

      The horses that are not adoptable and who’s owners won’t look after them in their old or infirm age,deserve to be humanely euthanized at home knowing they are loved not abandoned, not sent on a horrendous torturous journey and painfully slaughtered. Your assumption that these are the type of horses slaughtered is also wrong. Herds of young yearling quarter horses are sent (over production) Beautiful brood mares of every breed heavily in foal are also sent by breeders cutting back! Children’s horse and pony riding camps use their horses to make money all summer and in the fall send all the horses to slaughter auctions and buy new ones in the spring. It’s cheaper than feeding and caring for them all winter. Racehorses that need time off to heal are sent because it’s cheaper to slaughter than to look after and vet the horse that has run legs off making the owner big money. It’s laziness, and the almighty dollar that gets in the way of responsible ownership and slaughter enables this trend!’
      Its wrong on every front! The horses deserve better. It is cruel beyond any animal cruelty nightmares. Great horses with bright futures possible are sadly destroyed! And the meat is toxic and dangerous for humans to consume!

      1. PBauer

        And those irresponsible practices are going to stop if any form of slaughter is going to be banned?

        You seriously believe that?

        How is breeding young Quarter Horses for export to slaughter in any way, shape of form cost efficient for the breeder, when the price for meat horses is so low? When hay prices are up, you have to feed the sire and dam, have vet costs, farrier etc.

        1. Daniel Cordero

          Once you eliminate the incentive behind those practices, yes it will end progressively as society adjust to the new incentives put before it. Those are market forces, but I don’t expect you to understand it.

  6. Mary Kostanski

    What does it tell you that according to USDA statistics, 70% of the 150k horses going over our borders to slaughter are young, healthy QUARTER HORSES. The AQHA maintains a pro-slaughter philosophy, and if you follow the money trail, they have their politicians paid off in DC to keep their handy little pipeline open. But the voice of the people will be heard–and let’s hope our President and VP will deliver the Will of the People–an EO to counteract the pro-slaughter obstructionists in Congress. Reps Rouzer, Conaway, Pitts and Upton refuse to let the SAFE Act onto the floor for a vote. Follow their money trail!

  7. Equine Advocates

    The only way we will ever be able to stop irresponsible and callous individuals from over-breeding to where they finally take responsibility for the equines under their care is to remove the option of horse slaughter entirely. Equines should be removed from the food chain entirely as their meat is unsafe for consumption. Then and only then will the horse industry as a whole will become healthier. No equine deserves to be slaughtered. We owe our horses kind and humane treatment during their lives and a peaceful, dignified end. That means that if safe and loving homes cannot be found, that horses are entitled to be humanely euthanized, just as we do for our dogs and cats
    . The word, “euthanasia” is Greek for “good death.” There is nothing good or humane about sending an equine to the slaughterhouse. A lethal injection as administered by a licensed veterinarian where the animal goes to sleep and does not wake up is the kindest option if safe homes cannot be found. If one has the money to have a horse, then one should have the money to humanely euthanize that animal. The fact that horse meat has been discovered in the American food supply should be a further warning that food fraud is rampant. We must prevent equines from ever being slaughtered in this country again as well as ban the transport of live equines across our borders into Mexico and Canada or to any other country for the purpose of slaughter. I hope that President Obama and Vice President Biden who each profoundly understand this issue will be inspired to end horse slaughter before they leave office as part of their legacy.

  8. Sue Carter

    Equine must be removed as a USDA-recognized “Amenable Species” or this will never end.

  9. reinstatepete

    The White House already responded to a petition on this issue years ago. What we need is the millions of Americans opposed to slaughter to make sure they vote for a candidate that opposes horse slaughter for the White House AND US Congress. Without a ban by Congress this industry will continue to linger. Support the SAFE Act!

  10. dale

    I whole heartedly agree with the cessation of shipping horses out of country to slaughter, either north or south of the US. However, the situation in its entirety does not end there. We have to make arrangements to humanely euthanize the horses that are not going to be re-homed. Rescues all over the country are bursting at the seams with unwanted horses and are not able to keep up with the demand for space for these unwanted horses. The horse community is no different than the canine or feline communities with the over population issue.That is a cold, hard fact of the matter. There are horses starving and being abused at the hands of ignorant and abusive owners. We cannot simply legislate that shipping to slaughter is illegal; we have to address the whole issue and fine constructive ways to limit the over population situation that we face.

    1. Virginia

      Well said, thank you. We can’t simply angrily demand to ‘stop slaughter’ without providing sane, prudent alternatives. Not everyone is wired with our mindset and it’s a difficult job to persuade someone to kick old habits and lifestyles.

      1. dale

        Our stewardship for the equine is from start to finish- given that the greatest percentage of equines that reproduce on the face of the earth is due to human facilitation, then we must eventually gain a modicum of control over the reproduction process. As much as we humans love out autonomy, we are rapidly approaching the need to “license” breeding in some fashion. Place the responsibility of future equines initially in the hands of the “breeder”, the one who chooses to create a new ” dependent. Professional breeders, as well as the extremely causal individual who fails to geld when they produce a colt. I am not saying that we limit breeders, rather that they pay a fee/tax each year on their stud/broodmare. It could be experience based, both the number of covers/collections as well as the the long term experience of the get. That part is difficult and may require a fee/tax on the mare that successfully produces the get. Those off-spring can be micro chipped and should the offspring go into decline (starvation/abuse/abandonment) the information is traceable and the stud/broodmare fees can be adjusted based on experience- like many insurances are experienced rated. I know this is far reaching and there is a lot of control, but a system of accountability back to the source may mitigate the unnecessary breeding of equines. Of course, the ownership history can be a source of information, too.
        I actually do not like a lot of regulation and control, but the growing problem of unwanted horses hurts the horse community and it is “killing” innocent horses that slip through the system. In Maryland, the MD Horse Council supported the beginnings of an independent 501C3 called the The Fund for Horses and that organization does fund raising on a state wide to assist MD horse owners who find them selves in difficulty with their equines. They try to assist financially (on a small basis) and they solicit equine veterinarians to provide services on a “conservative’ cost basis. The combination of these activities helps with castrations and euthanasia; humane processes to limit the equine population- before and in the end. Additionally, the Fund for Horses has had the MD legislature proclaim Responsible Horse Ownership Week to coincide with the Preakness, to help promote the best practices of horse ownership. They have produced a booklet “Responsible Horse Ownership” that is distributed to help educate, particularly new and future horse owners. It has been developing over the past few years and there is a great investment of time and talent by the members of this group- all directed towards the end goal of reducing the suffering of horses due to the ignorance and lack of planning/commitment on the part of the horse owner. Each of us has the responsibility to positively and creatively do what we can to insure the welfare of the equine as the equine serves at our leisure and has no control over his own welfare.

    2. gail smith

      … and stop ‘gathering’ the wild horses! You clearly have more than enough domestic horses. Count the numbers remaining on the range and COUNT the wild horses in holdings – stop this nonsense of ‘estimating’ – LET THEM GO – leave the wild horses alone in guaranteed safe areas – no ‘gathers’ – no PZP – no meddling – and let them self balance for best health and future genetic inheritance. Your domestic horse population is something you can manage – but leave the wild horses on the range (you have no validated numbers for the ‘range overpopulation’ claims).

      1. PBauer

        That would only work if the horses had enough capable predators that keeps the numbers of those feral horses in check, like in Africa, where lions, hyenas, crocodiles and leopards keep the number of zebras (and other hoofed animals) in check.

        I bet that the local US farmers wouldn’t like having those around.

        No predators = population number will double every few years = more horses than the land can feed = horses are going to starve to death and ecosystem is going to be destroyed, other wildlife is going to die too

        1. Daniel Cordero

          Incorrect by all accounts… not surprisiing coming from an extremely uninformed individual -if not downright an internet troll-.

          Funny that precisely farmers and ranchers have at their disposal a free, tax-payer funded program that essentially kills any predator:

          Then no wonder there are no predators… all because we taxpayers have to maintain the privileges and the monopolies of these folks: Welcome to corporatism, America!

  11. Always Nell

    Overbreeding. There’s the start.

    1. gail smith

      Overbreeding of domestic horses is something you CAN manage… but there are no accurate figures of the wild horses so absolutely no justification for claims of ‘overpopulation’…

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