Horse slaughter and horse meat production worldwide — Introduction

March 2020

By JANE ALLIN

MARCH AGAINST HORSE SLAUGHTER — According to the most recent data (2018) from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), horse meat production spans the globe and is a multi-million-dollar business in terms of imports and exports across borders.[1]

The data taken from the FAO statistical database, in general, have been supplied by governments via national publications and FAO questionnaires (paper or electronic). To provide more comprehensive coverage of this data collection, official data have sometimes been supplemented with data from unofficial sources as well as information supplied by other national or international agencies.[2]

Where horse slaughter and horse meat production are concerned the data relate to horses slaughtered within national boundaries, irrespective of their origin. Moreover, all data shown relate to total meat production from both commercial and farm slaughter.[3]

Despite the availability of wide-ranging information on horse slaughter and horse meat production around the world, there are some discrepancies with the data, presumably due to estimates based on prior years, calculated data, as well as imputation data. Imputation data refers to replacing missing data with substituted values using an appropriate imputation methodology.

With respect to horse slaughter and meat production the FAO fails to recognize that since fiscal year 2006, Congress has annually prohibited the use of federal funds to inspect horses destined for food, effectively prohibiting domestic slaughter in the U.S. As a result, the slaughter market has shifted to Canada and Mexico.

According to the FAO, 29,275 tonnes of horse meat, from 114,314 slaughtered horses, were produced in the U.S. in 2018. This of course is inexplicable as horse slaughter (for human consumption) has been effectively shut down since 2007. However, Bravo Packing Inc. in Penns Grove, New Jersey (not to be confused with Bravo! pet food) was, and still is, according to some sources, slaughtering horses to be sold to zoos to feed big cats and other carnivores.

Bravo Packing has a disreputable history of shocking animal abuse; you can read more about Bravo Packing here.

In 2012, Governor Christie signed a state law banning horse slaughter for human consumption in the Garden State however Bravo opted to exploit the unfortunate loophole in the ban which fails to include the slaughter of horses in order to feed animals rather than humans.

Since horse slaughter and horse meat production unrelated to human consumption in the US likely represents a very small total relative to other countries that slaughter horses for meat, these figures have been left out of the data used to create the charts and tables that follow.

As a final point, the FAO data does not differentiate between horse meat production intended for human consumption, from that which may be destined for pet food products or to feed exotic zoo animals. Nonetheless these data give an overview of the magnitude of horse slaughter and horse meat production on a global basis.

__________
[1] http://www.fao.org/faostat
[2] http://fenixservices.fao.org/faostat/static/documents/QL/QL_methodology_e.pdf
[3] http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/QL


All Reports

Horse slaughter and horse meat production worldwide — Introduction »

Horse slaughter and horse meat production — A global perspective »

Top 10 countries ranked by horses slaughtered and horse meat production — 2018 »

Top 10 importers and exporters of horse meat worldwide »

Canada’s Horse Slaughter Plants and U.S. Ports of Entry »


© Fund for Horses. All Rights Reserved.

Horse slaughter and horse meat production — A global perspective

March 2020

By JANE ALLIN

MARCH AGAINST HORSE SLAUGHTER — A total of 77 countries slaughter horses for their meat. These can be divided into 5 major regions (this data is based on the most recent available FAO numbers published in 2018):

• Africa – 13 countries
• Americas – 15 countries (statistics do not include the US)*
• Asia – 12 countries
• Europe – 33 countries
• Oceania – 4 countries

(*) In 2007, horse slaughter plants in the US were shuttered and remain this way today. Slaughter of US horses has shifted to Mexico and Canada.


Latest stats show a staggering 1.75 billion lbs of horse meat was produced in 2018 from approximately 5 million horses around the globe.


Table 1 shows the global production share of horse meat and horses slaughtered by region with accompanying pie charts indicating the percentage each region contributes to the global total.

Note that 1 tonne equals 2,205 pounds which equates to a total of approximately   1,746,019,229 pounds of horse meat produced around the globe in 2018 from approximately 5 million horses — a staggering 1.75 billion pounds of horse meat.

All of the information that follows is available at: http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/QL

Table 1 — Horse Meat Produced and Number of Horses Slaughtered Worldwide by Region — 2018

Figure 1. Horses slaughtered worldwide by region (% of total)

Figure 2. Horse meat produced worldwide by region (% of total)

Five years later how have things changed?

The last time we looked at these numbers was 2017 when the most recent data available was from 2013. Currently the most recent metrics are from 2018. To demonstrate how things evolved over the 5-year interval, a comparison of data between 2013 and 2018 was evaluated using:

• The % of the total of the horses slaughtered worldwide by region to indicate the regions that represent the highest and lowest number of slaughtered horses.

• The % of the total of horse meat produced worldwide by region to indicate the regions that represent the highest and lowest tonnage of horse meat production.

• The change in thenumber of horses slaughtered worldwide by region to indicate which regions increased or decreased horse slaughter.

• The change in the horse meat produced worldwide by region to indicate which regions increased or decreased horse meat production.

Table 2. Horses slaughtered worldwide by region (% of total): 2018 vs 2013

In 2013 Asia and the Americas accounted for ~79% of all horses slaughtered compared to ~85% in 2018, an increase of ~6% over the 5-year interval.

Figure 3. Horses slaughtered worldwide by region (% of total): 2018 vs 2013

Table 3. Horse meat produced worldwide by region (% of total): 2018 vs 2013

In 2013 Asia and the Americas accounted for ~77% of all horse meat production compared to ~81% in 2018, an increase of ~4% over the 5-year interval.

Figure 4. Horse meat produced worldwide by region (% of total): 2018 vs 2013

Changes by region for number of horses slaughtered and horse meat produced over 5 years are shown in Table 4 and Table 5 respectively.

Table 4 – Change in number of horses slaughtered worldwide by region (head): 2018 vs 2013

Table 5 – Change in horse meat production worldwide by region (tonnes): 2018 vs 2013

Figure 5.  Change (%) in horses slaughtered and horse meat production by region: 2013 to 2018 

Both horse meat production and the number of horses slaughtered in Asia and the Americas increased significantly over a period of 5 years. By contrast, there were significant decreases for both metrics in Europe and Oceania, and little to no change in Africa. Overall both the number of horses slaughtered and horse meat produced globally increased between 2013 and 2018.

SUMMARY

1. Global horse meat production in 2018 was a staggering 1.75 billion pounds taken from the carcasses of approximately 5 million slaughtered horses worldwide.

2. In 2018, Asia was by far the global leader in the number of horses slaughtered (~58% of the total) and horse meat produced (~53% of the total).

3. The Americas are a distant second with approximately half of both horses slaughtered (~27% of the total) and horse meat produced (~27% of the total) compared to Asia.

4. Together, Asia and the Americas were responsible for about 86% of the horses slaughtered and 81% of horse meat produced globally in 2018.

5. From 2013 to 2018, Asia and the Americas significantly increased both the number of horses slaughtered and horse meat produced.

6. The number of horses slaughtered in Asia increased by ~371,000 head (14.5%) and horse meat produced by ~75,700 tonnes (~170,325,000‬ lb), an increase of ~22% over the five-year period from 2013 to 2018.

7. Similarly, although to an even greater extent percentage wise, the number of horses slaughtered in the Americas increased by ~236,650 head (~21%) and horse meat produced by ~42,500 tonnes (~ 93,712,500‬ lb), an increase of ~24%, over the five-year period from 2013 to 2018.

8. By contrast, the number of horses slaughtered and horse meat produced in Europe and Oceania decreased. Most notably, the number of horses slaughtered in Europe decreased by ~24% or ~168,500 head and horse meat production decreased ~25% or ~37,400 tonnes (82,467,000 lb.). Oceania also had a significant decrease in both metrics with a reduction of ~17% in the number of horses slaughtered and 13% in horse meat production.

9. Africa’s numbers remained relatively stable over the five-year interval.

10. Globally both the number of horses slaughtered (9%) and horse meat produced (~11%) increased over the 5-year period due to the large increase in both Asia and the Americas despite reductions elsewhere.


All Reports

Horse slaughter and horse meat production worldwide — Introduction »

Horse slaughter and horse meat production — A global perspective »

Top 10 countries ranked by horses slaughtered and horse meat production — 2018 »

Top 10 importers and exporters of horse meat worldwide »

Canada’s Horse Slaughter Plants and U.S. Ports of Entry »


© Fund for Horses. All Rights Reserved.

Horse Slaughter Legislative Timeline

Detailed history of State and Federal attempts to ban the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption. Linked by year. It all began in California in 1998 . . .

YEARSSESSION OF CONGRESS
1998  2002 Includes 107th U.S. Congress
2003 — 2004 Includes 108th U.S. Congress
2005 — 2006 Includes 109th U.S. Congress
2007 — 2008Includes 110th U.S. Congress
2009 — 2010 Includes 111th U.S. Congress
2011 — 2012 Includes 112th U.S. Congress
2013 — 2014 Includes 113th U.S. Congress
2015 — 2016Includes 114th U.S. Congress
2017 — 2018Includes 115th U.S. Congress
2019 — 2020Includes 116th U.S. Congress
Compiled by Vivian Grant and Jane Allin

Last updated January 10, 2020

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History of Our Organization

It Started in Texas

Founded by Vivian Grant (later Farrell), the Fund for Horses has its roots in a grassroots citizen advocacy group called Texans for Horses, formed on the early part of 2001 whose mission was to shut down the State’s two foreign owned horse slaughter plants.

Success in Texas caught national attention and began to attract horse lovers and activists across the country.

The Fund for Horses

The group incorporated as a not for profit 501(c)(4) horse protection organization in October, 2003 as the Fund for Horses, setting up headquarters in Houston, Texas, and in recent years are also referred to as The Horse Fund.

Int’l Fund for Horses

As the group’s influence and reputation began to grow — extending beyond the United States — the Fund for Horses filed to do business as the Int’l Fund for Horses in June, 2004, operating chiefly out of Brussels.

In 2007, the Int’l Fund for Horses received accreditation as a Member League of the OIPA, Organisation Internationale pour la Protection des Animaux (International League for the Protection of Animals).

A Shift in Focus

During the past 12 years, the main focus of the Fund for Horses has shifted from predominantly lobbying U.S. State and Federal governments for new and stronger horse protection laws, to employing citizen action and social media campaigns as a means of confronting and eradicating the cruelty, suffering and death of horses.

The Fund for Horses therefore decided to dissolve as a 501(c)(4) not for profit charitable organization, and reorganize as a 501(c)(3) not for profit charitable organization, to be headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Fund for Horses also continues to work as the Int’l Fund for Horses.


THF 2019 Logo. ©The Horse Fund.

See also Our Mission and Philosophy » Message from Our President »

Message from Vivian

Vivian's headshot.

Hello, and welcome to the Fund for Horses and Int’l Fund for Horses.  I am Vivian Grant Farrell, founding President. Here is a bit about myself.

Horses have influenced my entire life. I cannot remember a time when horses have not been a part of it.

My dad and uncle took me to my first horse race when I was about 9 months old at Haydock Park in Liverpool, England where I was born. My father took me around all day sitting on his shoulders. He said I was enraptured and never a moment’s trouble.

But my experience with horses goes back further than that. It goes back to the day I was brought home from the hospital a couple of days after I was born. 

My dad carried me from the car — not into the house — but straight to the barn where the horses were. The horses were very curious about what was wrapped up in that little blanket.

Then he took me around to each horse in turn to let them gently blow their breath on me through their nostrils. My father said he prayed that I would have in some part the same spirit as these amazing creatures.

Growing up, we always had horses around. They are a lot of work to take care of so it’s all hands on deck. I began helping out with the horses mornings and evenings, mucking out as soon as I was able to handle a fork and barrow, changing their water, turning them out and bringing them in.

I took up riding at a very early age of course. Nothing could have been more natural. I never rode with tack until my early teens.

It was all Thoroughbreds when I was in England, and not until we moved to America that I met Quarter Horses. What a jolly breed they are. If they understand what you want and are even remotely capable of doing it, they will try.

Later when I married and lived in Texas, we boarded all sorts of horses and this was when I had my first experience with gaited horses, having the most wonderful Missouri Foxtrotter.

After I was widowed I left America and returned to England settling in the north. I had been a keen photographer since my teens and quite talented at it. I made good locally, and eventually was able to put my two great loves together — horses and photography — and developed a career beginning with local racecourses no further south than York.

My career blossomed, and I eventually moved south, relocating to racing HQ — Newmarket, Suffolk. I spent many happy years photographing some of the world’s most beautiful and talented horses on the flat and over the jumps in the UK and Europe. I was even lucky enough once to draw the coveted position at The Chair for the Aintree Grand National (I usually got the water jump!).

Years later saw my return to America with my second husband who was employed by a famous East coast Thoroughbred breeder and owner.

I began to witness things done to horses that greatly disturbed me and had not seen go on anywhere else I had worked or lived. I began to ask questions, to speak up. It is no exaggeration to say that this made me wildly unpopular to the point I was warned off on more than one occasion.

My husband felt very much the same way and ready to quit and return to the UK because he couldn’t handle it either.  However, I could not follow him because I had too many animals who had to be quarantined. The cost was prohibitive, and I couldn’t bear to give even one of them up.

So I stayed behind, and back to my old stomping ground in Texas I went, with all my animals in tow.  

Once settled there, I was shocked to learn that horses were being slaughtered in Texas for human consumption. I was stunned, angered and knew that I had to do something about it. That is how and when my advocacy for horses began — with that issue with an informal group called Texans for Horses. That was 2001 and I am still going strong today, working to end horse abuse at here and abroad.

Join Us

If you love horses and want to help I invite you to get involved with us.

It doesn’t have to be anything big — although we would naturally love it if you are inspired to do big things. But this is what I have found over many years:

When a group of people get together and take the same steps at the same time towards good, big things — what some might even call miraculous things — begin to happen.

Our horses need as many of us as possible to be that group of people, however and whenever we can. No act of compassion is ever too small or goes unrewarded.

Contact us here to find out more.

Thank you for stopping by and visiting with us.

For the Love of Horses,

Vivian's signature.

10 December 2019


THF 2019 Logo. ©The Horse Fund.

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