Industry of Death: Equine Slaughter houses

Uncategorized Jul 08, 2019

 

It is estimated that 98% of domestic horses that arrive at the slaughterhouses (and are not bred for meat) do so for musculoskeletal problems easily preventable if we improve the conditions in which they live. 

 

The horses need more than prayers! Click this link which shows how different parts of the world view North American slaughter houses, in particular in Alberta Canada!

The reasons that horses end up in slaughter houses  have not changed one bit over the decades.  

Several times during the past 20 years I have visited slaughter houses around North America where I collected, studied, dissected and documented domestic cadaver feet.

While it is nice that overall practices and designs of the plants have somewhat changed over the years, the industry is just that.  An industry!  Still 'progressing' and growing, behind closed doors,  to make bigger plants to take in even higher numbers of equines!    

I like to ‘interview’ the workers.  I have learned many things that I did not wish to know, and seen many things that I didn’t really need to see. 

The workers are generally pleasant and personable, smiling and gracious in their conversations.  Women workers shocked me. I know that sounds like a double standard, but I was saddened on so many different levels.  I’m not judging them, just seeing women covered in horse blood, who are doing their jobs and trying to make a living,  and knowing they are completely disassociated. Totally unplugged and disconnected from what is happening all around them!

A couple of years ago I asked how many horses go through in a day. He said that there was about 250 a day, monday to thursday, but we are in the process of expanding to fill demand. We are raising the quota up to 350 a day and going to go all week. We hope we are able to keep up.   

How many horses go through now each day? ” We do about 320 -340 a day, monday to friday. A big day we can do about 370′′   Keep in mind that this is only at one plant. There are more.

Where are the horses coming from?  “They come from all over. Different shipments from the USA and within Canada and Alberta. The ones you saw today are mainly from the US and are meat horses” 

Meat horses? “Yes, they are strictly bred and born for meat. They are raised in stock yards,  like cows, getting fattened up and then shipped here. It’s a growing market” 👈🏼
 
How old are these horses when they are shipped? “Generally between the ages of 2 and 4 but mostly around 2 years old”
 
So they have never had their feet trimmed or anything really done to them other than born and raised for meat. “Yes that’s right. They are in stock yards like cows”
 
What about the other horses coming in? Like these feet with shoes on. "They don't come from the meat horse market   They are generally someones horse who was lame or broke a leg, race horses that don’t run good, or some old farm horse that is too old and can’t do the work anymore. We get some fancy looking horses too that look like they are show horses.  Some people just drive up with a trailer, collect their check,  and unload their unwanted”
 
                               
One man told me that his job was to take off the shoes of all who arrived with them on. It was an after death procedure. He was happy to show me how he does it. I asked him if I could take a photo of the bin of shoes. He hesitated for a moment and saw no harm in that. I said, I thought that they were not supposed to be shipped wearing shoes at all in those slippery floored cattle liners. He said they can have front shoes on but not hinds. He said sometimes they get by with hinds on, but generally there are inspectors at different check points.
 
 
 
                                      
This FB picture is one I pulled from the web.  A barefoot site in Argentina also using cadavers for education.  The unhealthy shod feet like those seen in slaughter houses all over the world. 
 
Same problems everywhere. This much I knew 20 years ago, but It really begs the question. IF shoes are the answer to lameness...how and why did they fail all these horses?
 
So when the horses are on the kill floor, how are they killed?  ” With a bullet, not a bolt like some cow slaughter houses, but a gun”   (I was kind of shocked to hear that and asked if they ever miss 😶 you can guess the results of that answer) 🙊🙉🙈
 
It is a surreal experience for me each time. Death and fear fill the air making it so heavy. You can feel it! It’s like an out of body experience, and I go deep into journalism mode to investigate and try to understand.
 
Trying to understand how to stop it, but realizing it’s not the fault of the plants that are supplying a demand.  It's not the fault of the workers who are trying to make a living.  
 
Trying to bring a little awareness, I'm not sure how many people realize the extent of the mind boggling numbers of horses slaughtered each and every day in Alberta, Canada and all over the world.  For meat, for profit,  and for human consumption.  
Too many unwanted horses out there and too many back yard breeders who breed for color or pedigree and create horses who break down early because of poor conformation, and don't get me started on too early training and riding. 
 
Please be responsible for your horse when you sell it. Know where it goes. When you buy one, know where it came from.  When I hear about rescues and rescue horses, it is heart warming for sure. But for every one that gets ‘saved’ there are thousands that didn’t, and thousands more than are continually being bred.  

 Can equine slaughter be stopped?    Should it be?  What do you think? 

And CANADA!  Do we really need to ship LIVE horses to Japan to arrive and be slaughtered?  (Click for article) 

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