Zoo critters prefer their horse meat

protest against horse slaughter

This article mentions that the horse meat is the same grade as horse meat eaten by humans. No where does the article mention bute and other drugs commonly given to horses is often found in human grade horse meat. Many people do not know that bute (Phenylbutazone) was originally an arthritis medication given to humans. It was quickly discovered that even the very smallest amount of bute could cause life threatening liver damage. It is now also listed as a carcinogen in humans. Dr. Ann Marini has done studies on animals and bute. “Studies performed in laboratory animals have shown that phenylbutazone has carcinogenic properties. Based upon these studies, phenylbutazone is just as dangerous to animals as it is to humans,”. Feeding zoo animals this tainted meat is a terrible decision. The destruction of horses as well as putting zoo animals at risk makes this a no-brainer when deciding NOT to use horses as food. ~ HfH

From: Albuquerque Journal
By: Charles D. Brunt

protest against horse slaughter

Sue Carter, left, and Donna DiBanco protesting against horse slaughter

The lions, tigers and bears at the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo couldn’t have cared less about last year’s vociferous debate over whether horse slaughter should be resumed in the United States.

They were content just wolfing down their daily rations of imported horse meat – roughly 38,000 pounds of it per year.

Last year’s planned opening of a horse slaughter plant near Roswell outraged a large contingent – nationwide and in New Mexico – who argued that horse slaughter is inhumane and should not be allowed in the United States.

That controversy didn’t affect Albuquerque’s zoo, or its practice of feeding horse meat to many of its residents.

Zoo animals, it turns out, can be notoriously finicky eaters, said Ralph Zimmerman, the zoo’s head veterinarian. But the majority of the zoo’s large carnivores prefer horse meat over beef or pork, both of which would cost considerably more without offering the nutritional benefits of their equine counterpart.

Zimmerman said horse meat is “nutritionally very sound.” It’s higher in amino acids, B-6 and B-12 vitamins, and iron than beef and many other sources of protein.

“And it’s low in fat so it’s easier to balance an animal’s diet,” he said.

In fact, horse meat is so lean that zoos or their suppliers add taurine and extra vitamins to ensure it meets each animal’s dietary needs.

Zoo director Rick Janser said horse meat has been a daily staple of the zoo’s large carnivores – as well as smaller ones like Tasmanian Devils, various rodents and even birds of prey – for at least 30 years

4 Comments
  • Robynne Catheron

    Sad, isn’t it? I read somewhere that some zoos have discontinued feeding horse meat because so many animals had been getting sick from it. I wish I knew which zoos they were.
    There is a meat packer and renderer in New Jersey who at one time was despicably cruel and heartless when slaughtering the horses he bought to render as zoo meat. That man died several years ago, and his father took over. According to several investigations and word from local horse rescues (who have no choice but to use his rendering services), he is nothing like his son; he is as humane as possible and kills the horse with one expertly placed gunshot. This company has long-standing contracts with Six Flags, several zoos, and other exotic animal keepers for his horsemeat.

    I hate the thought of it, and so do thousands of other horse loving advocates, but it’s not illegal.

    September 20, 2014
  • Daryl

    How come no one knew this before NOw ? Zoo animals eating horse meat for 30 years did they get it legal or do they buy and kill on the Q T? Really sad that they do not care about the drugs that horses are fed in the horse meat. Drugs that are not good fro human or for other animals.

    September 20, 2014
  • Pamela W

    Another reason to despise zoos.

    September 20, 2014
  • Daniel Cordero

    «“And it’s low in fat so it’s easier to balance an animal’s diet,” he said.»

    Ha! What a penchant for the so-called “diet”… May be if the lions, tigers of whatever they have there had any sort of exercise instead of spending their lifes going from large cage A to sheltered cage B then they wouldn’t need to balance their diet, like if they were overweight nacho-addicted coach potatoes.

    Really guys, it doesn’t matter what you eat, be it caggabe or BBQ sandwiches, if you don’t do anything but sitting on a cage watching people pass by you will inevitably get fat.

    Seriously, zoos were the creation of the 19th century’s industrial trimphalism; a mere form of enterntaiment for city-dwellers to waste their free time watching caged beasts from all over the world and awe themselves at their own might.

    Such institutions are totally outmodded; they would be better off preserving these animals’ home environments than having them caged for life. Feeding these animals horsemeat is thus absurd, it is a solution to a non-existent, man-created problem.

    September 20, 2014