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Facts and Fallacies of Horse Slaughter Contains Graphic Content H.R. 503 : T he American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act

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H.R. 503:

The American Horse SlaughterPrevention Act

H.R. 503, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA) is a federal legislation that would prohibit the slaughter of horses for human comsuption as well as the exportation of live horses intended for the same purpose, making sure that no American horse is slaughtered inside the US nor shipped to be slaughtered abroad.

This bill, introduced on February 1st 2005 by Representatives John Sweeney (R-NY), John Spratt (D-SC) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY), is a new version of the former American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 857) which gained 228 cosponsors in the House of Representatives last year but died after being blocked in the Agriculture Committee by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).





How many horses are slaughtered in the US each year?According to the USDA, the three horse slaughter plants remaining in the US (two in Texas and one in Illinois) killed 65,976 horses in 2004 for human consumption and about twenty thousand horses were transported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. Together, these numbers represent about 1% of the total number of horses in the U.S., and the entire industry is only 0.001% the size of the U.S. meat industry. It is entirely foreign owned, and pays no corporate taxes or export tariffs. The horse slaughter industry is economically insignificant.


What types of horses are being slaughtered?

Aren’t these old, sick horses?

According to 2001 field studies conducted by

Temple Grandin, 70% of all horses at the slaughter

plant were in good, fat, or obese condition; 72%

were considered to be “sound” of limb; 84% were

of average age; and 96% had no behavioral issues.

Slaughter plants DO NOT want old, sick horses

for obvious reasons.

Horses at Dallas

Crown Slaughter



Isn’t the transport of horses to slaughter

regulated by the federal government?

Yes, and it is currently legal to transport horses in

low clearance double decker cattle trailers; legal to

transport horses more than 24 hours without food,

water or rest; and legal to transport horses without

separating the stallions from the mares and foals.

Approximately 30% of horses are injured from

fighting and transportation.

Double Decker



How are horses killed at the slaughter plant?

According to federal law, horses must be

rendered unconscious prior to slaughter,

usually by captive bolt. However, some are

improperly stunned, even with repeated blows,

and are still conscious when shackled, hoisted

by a rear leg, and having their throat slit.

The USDA specifies that 10% live vivisection


With their long necks and aversion to

anything approaching their foreheads, many

horses require multiple strikes.


If horses aren’t slaughtered, where will all

the unwanted horses go?

The annual number of horses slaughtered in the US

dropped from over 300,000 in the 1990s to less than

66,000 in 2004, with no special infrastructure needed

to absorb the thousands of “unwanted” horses that

were not slaughtered. Horses are being kept longer,

sold to others, humanely euthanized, or donated

to retirement and rescue facilities.

The “surplus horse population” is a myth.


Won’t banning horse slaughter mean more

cases of horse abuse and neglect?

No. In fact, both the Hooved Animal Humane Society

(HAHS) and the Illinois Department of Agriculture re-

ported that following the burning of the only slaughter

plant in the region, abuse cases quit rising and went

down between 2002 and 2003. California banned horse

slaughter in 1998, since that time horse theft has dropped

34% and cruelty reports have not increased (Dr. Carolyn

Stull). Texas, which had the only two slaughter plants

in 2003, had among the nations highest rates of cruelty

and theft.

The conclusion is clear, slaughter promotes abuse and theft!

The following pages are graphic in content, yet
  • must be viewed to allow us to commit
  • to putting an end to this abuse.

$20.00 per pound abroad, it does not feed the hungry, horse slaughter houses cater to the rich


Never in the history of mankind has one

animal done so much, for so little in return, as the horse.


The Economic Impact of

the Horse Industry in the United States

There are 6.9 million horses in the US. 725,000
  • are involved in racing and race horse breeding,
  • while 1,974,000 are used in showing and
  • 2,970,000 are used in recreation. 1,262,000 are
  • used in other activities, such as farm andranch, rodeo, polo, police work, etc.
  • 7.1 million people are involved in the horse
  • industry as owners, service providers,
  • employees and volunteers. 3.6 million are
  • involved in showing and 4.3 million in
  • recreation. 1.9 million people own horses.

While the median income for Americans is $36,000,

the median income for horse owners is $60,000.

The horse industry directly produces goods and

services of $25.3 BILLION and has a total impact

of $112.1 BILLION on the US gross domestic product.

This is greater than the motion picture industry,

railroad transportation and tobacco product

manufacturing industries.


My own stats: The average horse accounts for $271

in taxes to federal, state and local governments.

Deep Thought - Compare these stats to the GDP and

tax income of a horse delivered to one of the two

Texas slaughterhouses.

Based on that answer, ask yourself - Is it better

for the economy to slaughter a healthy horse or keep

it alive and productive?


(Hint - if the 65,976 horses slaughtered last year were instead introduced back into the economy, the tax base would have increased by over $11.4 million. The GDP would have increased by over $69.2 million.)

Then ask yourself - Why are the slaughterhouses permitted to stay open?

Things just don't add up, do they?

Jerry Finch Habitat for HorsesA Nonprofit Growth and Learning CenterHitchcock, Texaswww.habitatforhorses.com


Support HR 503

Help Save

Americas Horses


Reference Sites:







Slide Show Presented by

Connie Carmichael

July 5, 2004

(Updated April 10, 2005)

in Affiliation with

Habitat for Horses



Lone Star Equine Rescue


Special Thanks To:

J. Holland

J. Caramante

L. Barr