Horse Slaughter Images

Warning: Graphic Content Ahead


Illustrated Chart of the Horse Slaughter Process.
Illustrated Chart of the Horse Slaughter Process.

Images from Inside Domestic and Foreign Horse Slaughter Plants


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.

Captive Bolt.

KILL CHUTE. The stunned horse is dumped in the kill chute from which he can be hoisted and strung up by a back leg.

Kill chute.

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.

Bled Out.


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 following images are from “I Followed Horse Meat from the Slaughterhouse to the Butcher Shop“, by 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.



THF 2019 Logo. ©The Horse Fund.

Horse slaughter is criminal again in Texas

New Orleans, Louisiana (Jan. 20, 2007) — Horse slaughter is criminal again in the Lone Star State.

A three-judge appellate panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Louisiana, ruled unanimously yesterday that horse slaughter plants operating in Texas will face criminal charges if they slaughter horses for human consumption.

The ruling overturned the decision handed down in 2005 by Texas Federal Judge Terry Means in favor of foreign-owned Beltex of Fort Worth, and Dallas Crown, Inc. of Kaufman, who in 2002 filed for injunctive relief from a state law dating back to 1949 prohibiting the slaughter of horses for human consumption, stating that the state law interfered with federal trade regulations.

The two Texas horse slaughter plants have two options. They can either call for a hearing or apply for an appeal with the Supreme Court. It is highly unlikely they would have any success.

Elimination of horse slaughter in Texas leaves one horse meat plant in operation, Cavel International in DeKalb, Illinois.

According to USDA records, more than 100,000 horses were slaughtered in 2006 for their meat in the Texas and Illinois plants.

“Closing the horse slaughter plants in Texas will save 50,000 to 60,000 equines from a brutal and terrifying death this year alone,” states Vivian Farrell, President of Houston-based Int’l Fund for Horses.

“This ruling, however, does not ban horse slaughter in the states where it is not illegal, nor does it prohibit the trade of our horses across U.S. borders where horses are routinely slaughtered for the foreign meat market,” adds Farrell. “A federal mandate against horse slaughter is imperative to bring it to a full end for US horses.”

Federal legislation banning horse slaughter and export for slaughter was introduced simultaneously in the House and Senate on January 17, 2007. The bill numbers are H.R. 503 and S. 311, respectively.

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(800 x 600; click to enlarge)

Horses awaiting slaughter, Dallas Crown holding pen, Kaufman, Texas.
Horses awaiting slaughter, Dallas Crown holding pen, Kaufman, Texas.
Offal from slaughter horses, Dallas Crown, Kaufman, Texas.
Offal from slaughter horses, Dallas Crown, Kaufman, Texas.

THF 2019 Logo. ©The Horse Fund.