Warning: Graphic Content Ahead
THE HORSE SLAUGHTER PROCESS ILLUSTRATED
Images from Inside Domestic and Foreign Horse Slaughter Plants
HIGHLY GRAPHIC BEYOND THIS POINT
USA (4 images)
CAPTIVE BOLT GUN. A pressurized gun which is held up to the horse’s forehead and shoots a 4-inch piece of metal about the size of a roll of quarters into the brain. Horses don’t like things near their heads, so when a worker reaches over the railing with a bolt gun, they often swing their heads around, causing the gun to fire in the wrong place. Workers sometimes need to shoot three or four times before the horse stops moving.
KILL CHUTE. The stunned horse is dumped in the kill chute from which he can be hoisted and strung up by a back leg.
BLEEDING OUT. The horse is drained of all his blood caught in a bucket to be disposed of. Horses have often been seen partially conscious during bleeding out if they were not “stunned” properly.
The horse’s head and legs are cut from his body in preparation for the butchering process.
The above photographs, as you can probably tell, are vintage images from the Humane Farming Association (HFA). Horse slaughter is no longer taking place on US soil.
Below, the horse’s carcass has been skinned before the lower parts of his legs were removed. Much of his neck is also remaining.
Below, the butcher at his work, cutting the horse’s carcass into steaks and chops etc.
THE NETHERLANDS (7 images)
The following images are from “I Followed Horse Meat from the Slaughterhouse to the Butcher Shop“, by Vice.com. Based in The Netherlands, the horse meat produced here goes mostly to France and Belgium.
The process begins with a bolt that’s fired into the horse’s head. The bolt is supposed to destroy brain activity, which is marked by the 600 pounds that suddenly crash onto the concrete floor.
Then, the horse is pulled and hung by a back leg. One of the butchers cuts the carotid artery to bleed the horse out, catching his warm blood in a big black tub, which will be later picked up by a company that specializes in animal waste.
Once drained of his blood, abattoir workers remove the horse’s head and legs. Small incisions are made into his skin so it can be slowly, but artfully, removed. “Nothing goes to waste,” a worker explains. “The skin is sold for a few euros and they make expensive shoes out of it. I own a pair myself. They cost me 300 euros, but they are incredibly comfortable.”
The legs are used by aspiring farriers. The parts not fit for human consumption end up in animal feed. All of the organs are also used.
Once the head, intestines, and legs are removed, another butcher starts sawing the carcass in half.
Now that’s done, the carcasses are ready for the cooler.
From cooler to the local butchers.