Market for slaughter horses plunging in wake of Burger-gate


Equine Welfare Alliance – April 5, 2013 – Vicki Tobin – John Holland

EWA (Chicago) – USDA data for the first quarter of 2013 indicates a precipitous drop in the number of horses going from the US to Mexico for slaughter. The flow of horses south had been increasing steadily for over two years but dropped 62% between the first full week of 2013 and the end of the first quarter


Since the closing of the US based horse slaughter plants in 2007, US horses have been going to slaughter in Canada and Mexico for consumption in the European Union (EU) and Russia. Beginning in late January of this year horse meat began to be detected masquerading as beef in countless products across Europe and much of the world. The resulting scandal was dubbed “Burger-gate” for the fact that horse meat was first detected in Burger King “all beef patties” in England.

“We have been watching these numbers closely,” explains EWA president John Holland, “because we knew they would tell us how much of the meat from our horses was being sold as beef. The answer is apparently a great deal of it.”

The EU scandal also explained another mystery. The available data indicated that the consumption of horse meat in EU countries was flat to down over the past decade, but the export of US horses kept climbing.

The sales of processed beef products have dropped in the EU in the wake of the comingling scandal, but the consumers of horse meat in the EU were unlikely to change their buying patterns since they were intentionally consuming it all along. Therefore, Holland reasons, “Any drop in horse meat sales is most likely attributable to its no longer being sold as beef.”

The current trend does not bode well for fledgling companies trying to bring slaughter back to the US since they will be competing with multinational conglomerates in what appears to be a rapidly shrinking market.

Data on the export of horses to Canada for slaughter will not be available for 60 days, but reports in the Canadian media indicate an even more severe drop in the number of US horses being slaughtered in Canada.

The export of horses to Canadian slaughter had already been on the decline in 2012 when it dropped by 7.5%, but this was more than offset by a 61% increase in horses going to Mexico. The reason for this shift to Mexico is thought by some to be attributable to the fact that Mexico does not test for phenylbutazone contamination, an issue that has plagued Canadian slaughter plants.

The Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) is a dues-free 501c4, umbrella organization with over 280 member organizations and over 1,000 individual members worldwide in 18 countries. The organization focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids.

AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • Ranching Cowgirl

    Stand up !
    BUTE YOUR HORSES!!!!!!!!!

    April 5, 2013
  • Debbie Tracy

    What a mess!?! They all asked for it!! I for one am glad not that I want anyone to get sick but glad this has happened and is exposed!! And the U.S. wants to add to this with plants here what are they thinking?? Makes a lot of since? We need to stop all of this NOW for god sake!!!

    April 5, 2013
  • Arlene

    bute everyone of them !!!!!

    April 5, 2013
    • Valerie Wehmueller

      Love it! “Bute everyone of them!!!!” That could be one way to stop this madness, but that still would mean horses, somewhere, will continue being sent to slaughter, forced to endure a horrid death, only to be tested after the fact, then having died for nothing, except man’s greed & insanity! Unless, all horses have to be tested before being bought & slaughtered for consumption. Like test them on site, & make the idiotic buyers wait for results, before sentencing these creatures to this end.

      April 10, 2013
      • Arlene

        Dear Valerie it may not be perfect , but if you bute them tag them job done !!!!!!!!!! How many will it save THOUSANDS !!!!!!!! Bute them alll !!!!!!!!! Dont forget the wormer !!!!!!!

        April 11, 2013
  • V. Fisher

    Agree! Bute all around! We have to thank all those scummy b*stards who passed off horse meat as beef for helping to stop the slaughter, although I’d also like to bury them where no one would find them!

    April 5, 2013

    Did not take a Nuclear Scientist to predict this…only someone with a bit of market sense… Obviously something missing in Ok politics. Tired of STUPID POLITICIANS on so many levels. Hope we can afford to have someone check on horses standing in Killer Buyers Pens.. those SOB’s will let them starve to death because there is no market for the meat..

    April 5, 2013
  • Sue Wallis Lies

    All my horses have had Bute at one time or the other. My senior horse especially since she is a bit arthritic in her hocks. Keep it up!!!

    April 5, 2013
  • jean robertson

    Terrific news. Its hard to believe that the government and the slaughter house owners could be so dishonest and uncaring as to ship contaminated horsemeat to families in Europe and Japan. Anything for profit and then they expect us to trust them. It should be a criminal offence to sell horsemeat for human consumption when it is not safe enough to put in dogfood.

    April 5, 2013
  • Barbara Griffith

    I was hoping something like this would happen sooner or later. The Swiss has stopped importing horse meat from Canada, aka US horses. Not only because they found Bute in it but the cruelty seen on the videos. I also believe the younger generation in the EU is not eating horse meat like their grandparents and great grandparents did after WW2. With the internet a lot of the people in Europe are seeing for themselves the cruelty that goes into the slaughter of horses. A business can’t survive if its customers refuse to buy its products, that’s a well known fact. Eventually all of the horse slaughter plants in both countries will go under because of the ban on US horse meat. Without the thousands of imported US horses the plants will be forced to shut their gates.

    April 5, 2013
    • Arlene


      April 6, 2013
      • Valerie Wehmueller

        Amen to that!!

        April 10, 2013
  • sherriey

    ROFL! i hope this keeps going….the more exposed the less horses will be slaughtered and the more slaughter houses will be going out of business! i too am glad this has finally come to lite….excuse me for awhile…i have to go out and give some bute to my senior mares….their arthritis is bothering them.

    April 5, 2013
  • And think of this … the worst has yet to come since Canada imports all that processed horsemeat right back home again as manafactured goods. Scary isn’t it to think what Canadians, most of whom loathe horse slaughter, are consuming unknowingly. The CFIA are keeping mum since there is an 80 billion dollar Canadian industry at stake (horse slaughter in Canada). Silly Canadians thinking that only the Europeans are eating toxic horse meat. We should be so lucky.

    April 5, 2013
  • Jo-Anne Ward

    Great Canadian TV, CP24 Headlines…the latest
    Fri. April 5th, 2013


    Hmmn,whats wrong now? CFIA Canadian Food Inspection Agency-Can’t Find Inspector Anywhere
    SShhh-be quiet- toxic horsemeat hidden!

    April 5, 2013
  • Sue Kaakee

    bute your horses and scream it from the roof tops! the real issue here is STOPPING the overbreeding so there won’t be horses sent to slaughter!!
    all are wanting to shut down the slaughter houses….what about starving neglected animals suffering in the fields. Please get up on your roof and scream GELD YOUR STALLIONS and DON’T BREED YOUR MARES….ADOPT DON”T SHOP!!!

    April 6, 2013
    • Arlene

      AQHA is a good place to stop Overbreeding !!!!!!

      April 6, 2013
  • Shirley Hazen

    I hate the thought of even one horse being slaughtered we are now vegans and even that is being tainted by our Presidents signature.Seeds to grow veggies are being contaminated.Glad my family grows garden from our own seeds .

    April 6, 2013
  • Lin Month

    See you later. I’m heading over to the killer pens with some buted carrots.

    April 6, 2013
  • AutumnSmoke

    Keep posting info on the toxicity/hazards in US horsemeat,know what’s there:

    April 7, 2013