FOIA Request Uncovers Unprecedented Evidence Horse Slaughter is Inhumane

Horse facing slaughter

Documents never before made public reveal the USDA was aware of extreme cruelty during horse slaughter at facilities in the U.S. The documents dispute claims horse slaughter in the U.S. was in any sense humane and instead reveal a brutal, terrifying ordeal that should be permanently banned.

Ithaca, New York  – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released a 906-page document revealing for the first time the alarming cruelty that takes place during horse slaughter in the U.S. The documents included almost nine hundred photographs. Information was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request submitted 3 years ago by equine cruelty investigator Julie Caramante. Animals Angels assisted Caramante in obtaining the documents, and they are now working with Animal Law Coalition to assess and disseminate the information.

"I’ve been an equine cruelty investigator for a number of years," said Caramante, "and I’ve witnessed many incidents of animal cruelty but nothing could prepare me for these images."

The photographs document significant injuries to horses at the slaughter house. Injuries included conscious dismemberment, open fractures, blinding, and battered faces. It appears some horses were left to bleed out. Other injuries indicated long term abuse and neglect.

"The pain and terror these horses had endured is criminal," said Caramante.

In July, well before release of the documents, Dr. Nicholas Dodman of the Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee describing horse slaughter as, " a brutal and predatory business that promotes cruelty and neglect," concluding that as a veterinarian a "rapid end to this wholly brutal and un-American trade" is warranted."

Horse slaughter in the U.S. ended in 2007 after the three remaining plants in Texas and Illinois were closed by state lawmakers and the courts. There is a federal bill pending in Congress that would prevent horse slaughter from resuming in states without laws prohibiting it.

Those in favor of horse slaughter have insisted horse slaughter should resume because they claim U.S. humane laws protect horses from cruelty, unlike Mexico and Canada where American horses are now sent to be slaughtered for human consumption in France, Belgium and some other countries.

Former Rep. Charlie Stenholm who is now a lobbyist for the horse slaughter plants, has called horse slaughter a safe, convenient way to dispose of horses. He has called it a "well-regulated industry" practicing "humane euthanasia". Stenholm has told the House Judiciary Committee horses are personal property and owners should be able to decide what to do with their property without government intervention.

Sonja Meadows, executive director of Animals’ Angels, said, "We now know [from these new documents that being on U.S. soil does not make horse slaughter humane or better. That this could go on even with the presence of USDA inspectors makes absolutely clear that horse slaughter is not euthanasia and definitely not a humane end."

Meadows is hopeful that the shocking evidence of the cruelty of horse slaughter in the USDA document will compel the new Congress to act swiftly to pass a federal ban on the transport and slaughter of American horses. "In 2006 the House voted by a wide margin, 263-146, to ban horse slaughter. But the session ended before the Senate could vote," she said. "Now, this new evidence removes any doubt. We must act quickly. We cannot allow horse slaughter to continue any longer."

Documents and photographs released by the USDA can be found atÂ

The pending federal bill that would ban horse slaughter and how you can help pass it!

5 thoughts on “FOIA Request Uncovers Unprecedented Evidence Horse Slaughter is Inhumane”

  1. The photos in the FOIA records are devastating to say the least. The slaughter of horses is not a humane ending. The proof is right there in the photographs. Horses continue to be brutally transported and slaughtered in Canada and Mexico. It is unbelievable that this barbaric act continues even though Americans have spoken and want it stopped. The voice of the people must be heard. Horse slaughter and the transport across our borders for that purpose must be banned.

    Charlie Stenholm is a paid lobbyist and has stood in the way of banning this barbaric treatment of horses along with his buddies in congress Goodlatte, King, Craig, Salazar and a few other lousy politicians that only care about company interest. Working solely for the slaughter houses and not for the American people which they are paid to do.

    This is America Charlie Stenholm and 70% of Americans want this stopped. You should be ashamed of yourself endorsing the most brutal act against an animal imaginable. Ashamed all of you!!!
    Lucille Matte

  2. Please don’t allow the palm greasing in DC to continue anymore at the expense of our horses. DC, you are outnumbered. A large majority of Americans want this stopped and will vote their hearts. Your propaganda and myths about unwanted horses doesn’t work anymore and has been proven to be false.
    People have wised up to the tall tales and will get this ended once and for all.

    Humane? I hope to God that some of these reps don’t have pets of their own.

    Create your millions manipulating someone else, the horse lovers are too smart. The proof is in these photos and these babies eyes. How can you let this continue? Only the truly depraved would consider this ‘humane’
    I am glad the truth is coming out in the public for the world to see finally.


  3. I never knew that our “American Icons”, our precious horses, were slaughtered until I become involved with a wonderful group of people called the “Fans of Barbaro”…we became united thru the beautiful bay colt and 2006 Kentucky Derby winner “Barbaro”. I have been campaigning with everyone else to end this cruel and inhuman treatment of our precious horses. We were successful in closing down the 3 slaughterhouses in the USA but the horses are being transported (very inhumanely) to Canada and worst Mexico where they are mistreated and slaughtered way too horribly that I cannot describe it without getting sick.

    I pray that with the new congress that will be coming in, that this horrible and barbaric practice will be history once and for all.

    I live in New Mexico, and just knowing that these precious horses are being transorted thru my state to Mexico has me constantly fighting harder to get the Federal Ban passed and the borders closed up.

    America is the “Land of Opporutnity”…..what opportunity are given to our precious horses, who helped to settle our country and fight in thru many, many wars? The opportunity to die a horrible and barbaric death….they don’t deserve this. The Fans of Barbaro along with many, many other animal advocates are the voices for those that cannot speak for themselves. We will win this war for them….they are not livestock, they are the”American Icons” of our country.

  4. Please write to your state senators, representative, governor, etc, tell the horse slaughter plants are not acceptable.
    These are the people that make the laws, and we are the people they are supposed to represent.

  5. I sent my Senators, representative the FOIA reports on the horses being slaughtered, also sent the video.
    I want them to know why I want this stopped.

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