Even though the slaughter of horses has been happening for decades, the average American has no idea that horses are being shipped to Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered. More and more people are becoming aware of horse slaughter and are horrorstruck when they learn just how barbaric the process is.
Likewise, most of the people overseas that eat the horse meat from North and South America would be appalled to learn how horribly the horses suffer while being butchered for their meat.
There are no longer any horse slaughter plants in the USA that slaughter horses for human consumption. Proponents of horse slaughter say that the closure of the US plants has caused a unwanted horse crisis in America. The fact is nothing changed in the horse slaughter business once the US plants closed, except the location of where the actual slaughter occurs. The exact same suppliers, kill buyers and auctions are up and running and the exact same companies are now in Canada and Mexico killing the horses, they never skipped a beat. Please read horse slaughter trends 2006 - 2018 here.
However, the slaughter houses have convinced many horse owners that horse slaughter is a necessary evil and that horses are slaughtered humanely. But thanks to Animals' Angels, GAIA, Canadian Horse Defense Coalition and the media many of those horse owners now realize that they were wrong.
In April of 2010 an 8½ minute news segment (English version) was produced by GAIA, a respected animal welfare organization from Belgium, with much of the footage provided by Animals' Angels USA. Belgian and Dutch consumers were shocked to learn of widespread horse slaughter-related cruelty in North and South America. Consumers responding on television websites demanded action. "They [importers] told us the meat is of superior quality because the animals live a life of luxury and freedom on green pastures...well cared for with plenty of food. But it's a horrible lie." "I really doubt I'll ever eat horse meat again," said one man. "They may say they fixed the problem, but I'll never trust them again."
In late February 2010, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) received hidden camera footage of horse slaughter practices at Viande Richelieu in Quebec and Bouvry Exports in Alberta - the latter known as the largest exporter of horse meat in North America. The CHDC has compelling proof that puts into question the effectiveness of the assembly-line slaughter of horses. The evidence demonstrates that both the facilities in Alberta and Quebec fail to meet humane slaughter standards used by the CFIA to audit Canadian slaughterhouses.
Dr. Debi Zimmermann B.Sc (Zoology), D.V.M. describes "The numerous acts of willful abuse are also of grave concern in the treatment of these sentient and non-aggressive animals." Henry Melvyn Richardson, DVM, "Bouvry and Richelieu are causing extreme pain and suffering to the horses in their facilities." Dr. Mary Richardson, DVM concludes "As a veterinarian who has worked in the animal welfare field for twenty years, I feel confident that the footage from the Bouvry plant shows levels of suffering that are unacceptable."
The sad truth is the facts about how extremely cruel and barbaric horse slaughter is just didn't come out in 2010, but has been made public for years. In 2007 the San Antonio News-Express released a horrifying video that resulted from their investigation of horse slaughter in Juarez Mexico. In 2008 FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) records and close to 500 gruesome photographs taken by the USDA were released to Animals' Angels and depicted in a KHOU article and video Thousands of US Horses Slaughtered in Mexico for Food. Hundreds of articles and videos have appeared in US newspapers, online and on television over the years, but still today American horses are being slaughtered in Canada and Mexico for human consumption overseas.