I hate to admit this but until I moved back to Canada from Southern California, I had no idea that horses were regularly slaughtered for human consumption.
Seriously, I thought I must be hearing things.
People eat horse meat?
People send their horses to auction, their pets, their companions, without setting a minimum bid? Meat buyers bid, win and haul them off to slaughter? How is it possible that horse slaughter exists?
Fit, young, completely sound horses, including pregnant mares, are regularly slaughtered in Canada to be eaten by humans, or worse shipped to Japan, crammed in crates, to be slaughtered there? You have got to be kidding me. This can’t be true?
But as you know, it is.
Horses of all shapes and sizes, including well bred, well trained, “registered”, expensive horses. Healthy horses, young horses, and yes, again, even pregnant mares.
Horses like Jack, a handsome, dark, 16.2 HH percheron, likely crossed with a thoroughbred, who is light and responsive under saddle and who was on the door step of a slaughter plant in Alberta, but who was mercifully brought back to British Columbia to live out his days as a beloved riding horse. A horse you can jump on bareback, ride with or without a bridle, who will go any where, through anything, and all day long.
Oh and did I mention that he side passes like a dream?
Horses like 16.2 HH thoroughbred DJ who raced in British Columbia and in California, who was then re-trained to successfully 3 day event. A horse who made any one who rode him look not just good, but great. A horse who would bring a big silly grin to the face of my favorite riding instructor, while she would repeat again and again, “He’s so lovely”.
Horses like 17.2 HH Puff, registered as a North American Spotted Draft (see the picture at the top of this post) who began his life in Alberta where he was trained to drive, double and single before he was 3 and who was sold at 3 for $10,000. A horse it turns out who later also had professional training by a well known driving instructor, and as a result was featured in a magazine article.
A horse who loads like a dream, travels like a dream, who loves to be bathed, and to swim. A horse who has impeccable ground manners and loves to work.
A horse who through no fault of his own ended up passed between a few hands and who on two separate occasions almost went to slaughter.
He came to me at about 8 years of age, for a song. I did not at first know his background, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that someone had trained him well, and it seemed to me that he knew how to drive — a few tests and yes, it turned out that he did — and then he took to the saddle, he looked to pick up contact, and he loves to go, but if you say “WHOA” at any gait, you best be ready to stop, which is of course a very good thing!
Horses like Moose, 17.2 HH, Clyde x Thoroughbred. It turns out that he too came to me, direct from a meat buyer at 8 years of age. At the time I didn’t know about his background, but it was obvious he’d been well handled. Tested from the ground and then from the saddle, and when the jumps came out, he not only knew exactly what to do, it turns out he loves to jump!
How could a horse, that I came to learn originally came from a breeding program where horses regularly sold for $60,000 or more, a horse who is the bravest horse you’ll find any where, a perfectly sound, young horse, who again loves to jump, end up almost slaughtered for human consumption?
It happens every single day in the United States, Canada and Mexico. EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Amazing horses, young horses, sound horses, of every color, size, breed and of both sexes end up, again through no fault of their own, slaughtered for human consumption. Horses that are blank slates and horses who are well trained. Take your pick.
Yes, unbelievably, in Canada, a country we all consider to be a first world country, this barbaric practice exists. To make matters worse horses are transported in ways that are not humane, slaughtered in ways that are meant for other species, and not only that, there are NOT any enforceable, accountable guidelines in place to protect those eating horse meat.
One of my neighbors asked why eating horse meat is any different than eating beef or other commonly consumed meat, and that’s a great question.
I want to go on the record and state that I don’t eat any meat but if I did, I would be concerned for a couple reasons including the fact that horse meat has ended up being sold as beef.
Even if you are okay with eating horse, you should be concerned. It is up to those who are delivering horses to slaughter to declare, on an honor system, as to whether the horses they are delivering have been treated with drugs that are not intended to enter the food chain. Veterinary drugs like wormers and pain killers such as phenylbutazone AKA “bute”, are regularly given to horses, drugs that are clearly marked as NOT being meant for ANY animal that is to enter the human food chain.
One would think, that surely in Canada there are fool proof protocols in place to prevent horses treated with drugs not meant for human consumption from ending up on dinner plates.
You would think that horses that have been pets or working animals, and regularly treated with drugs that are common place in horse care, would not be slaughtered for human consumption, BUT as you peruse this site and read articles and watch documentaries including “The Kill Pen“, you’ll find that the so called protocols are worthless.
You’ll also find as you go through this site and “Google” information about horse slaughter, that horse meat is knowingly and unknowingly eaten by humans in the United States, Canada, Japan, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, Kazakhstan and Italy. YES, you read that correctly, horse meat ends up in food products that are labeled as beef, so people are eating horse meat without realizing it.
If like me you are appalled at what is happening, I hope you’ll consider rescuing, adopting your next horse instead of buying.
I also hope that you’ll consider donating to rescues and organizations like BC Horse Angels, so that work to prevent the unnecessary slaughter of horses can continue, and so that horses being rescued can be properly cared for, and so that fewer will end up being slaughtered.
Surely by working together we can, once and for all, ban the slaughter of horses in Canada, Mexico and beyond.
THANK YOU for not just reading, but for taking action.
If you are not in a position to adopt, or donate, and even if you are, please also consider a phone call to your provincial and national politicians to demand that the slaughter of horses in Canada be stopped, and please share this site far and wide, use YOUR social media accounts to do good!
Thank you for your continued support. Your kindness is transforming the lives of B.C. horses and advancing the effort to end the slaughter of horses in Canada for human consumption.
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