Helping lead the way in the Fight to End Commercial Horse Slaughter


Please take a minute and use your voice to help horses escape the abuse & terror of commercial horse slaughter:

ASPCA Action Alert

HSUS Anti-slaughter Toolkit

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I am Karin Hauenstein and I have ridden from Lompoc to Los Angeles on 3 horses, a Thoroughbred, a Quarter Horse and an American Mustang on my mission to End Commercial Horse Slaughter. Please join me to abolish this cruel, unnecessary, poisonous industry by contacting your U.S. Federal Legislative Representatives and making comments against commercial horse slaughter online TODAY! The animal that we built the World on thanks you!



There is a reason why good hunters, for centuries, do not eat bad kills. For consumption purposes, any head-shot made prior to accurate shot on vital organs is considered bad practice, producing high levels of adrenaline and cortisol tainting the flesh. Ironically, this is the same reason why, in the years before the advent of commercial methods, both the Jewish and Muslim religious practiced only the most humane form of slaughtering animals for human consumption, and those animals have never included the horse (or any equine.) Subsequently, Kosher and Halal methods cannot be performed humanely by machines in commercial settings.

The levels of Adrenaline and Cortisol produced by the equine species are far higher than those produced in any other animal. It is proven and generally known that adrenaline and cortisol consumption by humans causes Colorectal (as well as other forms of) Cancer, especially if the tainted meat (i.e. low-quality, processed or fast-food beef) is eaten regularly with a diet void of green leafy vegetables. It is beyond comprehension why the few real proponents of Commercial Horse Slaughter believe they can continue to pull the wool over the eyes of consumers and the public with regard to widespread ineffective kill methods and promote an industry in clear violation of the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958.

Regardless of the way any large animal is fed and raised prior to being killed for human consumption, the one very significant act that most affects quality of harvested meat is the kill-method used. In commercial settings, this is the head-shot (with a shotgun for horses) or captive-bolt “stunning” (for both horses and cattle.) When any horse or other equine is traumatized with a shot to the head, their very strong and extremely efficient autonomic endocrine system delivers all the adrenaline and cortisol available within the animal throughout the flesh. This is evidenced often by the very visible pulsing of the horse’s body post-shot.

Riders who are experienced with the American Thoroughbred horse, historically one of the most slaughtered breeds in North America, know intimately of what I am describing. These horses are bred specifically for increased adrenaline production and performance. When you are mounted on a Thoroughbred whose autonomic endocrine system is triggered by fear due to what they see or hear, you can suddenly and with extreme force be flying through the air on an animal weighing in excess of 1200 pounds, as if you were a fly mounted on a gazelle.

It is no secret that the Cattlemen’s Associations, and all of the professional associations affected by their prolific and extremely substantial lobby, support Commercial Horse Slaughter and may even view it as their next “new” meat market. Since facts about adrenaline and cortisol production in cattle are such a threatening subject to the Cattlemen’s Associations, they have been aggressively suppressing the risk to consumers as “dark cutting” is responsible for their largest financial losses each year.

We find this very significant question unanswered by all authorities still today: Why is there no monitoring or testing mandated by law to protect consumers that applies to commercially slaughtered horse meat, as there is for commercially slaughtered beef? I believe the truthful answer is: because none of the meat would ever pass minimal standards and be scientifically determined “safe for human consumption.”

The Commercial Horse Slaughter Industry has always been rogue, operating with little regulation in North America and primarily for sale in foreign markets at delicacy prices. Not only is commercial slaughter the worst possible end-of-life experience for horses, who are subjected to torturous treatment and conditions along the entire slaughter pipeline, but the meat itself is toxic. When profitability for a few is the only reason supporting the suffering of large numbers of exploited animals and exposed humans, it is time for justice, reason and legal protections to make a stand.

We are only a few verifiable chain-of-custody toxicology reports and a published study (on samples from Canada) away from the legal precedence needed to put all Commercial Horse Slaughter facilities where they belong: out-of-business for good.


Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM and former Head Slaughter Inspector/Trainer for the USDA endorses the above statement and also the following, from his testimony to U.S. Congress in 2008:



******************************Urgency Appeal****************************

The U.S. House and Senate will be approving the Federal Agriculture Appropriations for next fiscal year sometime soon. They will be considering removing the Moran Amendment, which currently protects horses from slaughter on U.S. soil from the language included in the appropriations bill. The members of the House and Senate need to be reminded that the USDA should not be approving any horse meat for human consumption when it violates the regulations placed upon slaughtered meats for safety and quality. They need to be reminded that the fact still remains: There is no possible way to slaughter an equine humanely in a commercial environment. The pulsing of the animal post-shot is physical/visual proof of bad kills which place consumers at risk.



Impact: Inconceivable actually, but the SUFFERING of the equines and the ADRENALINE/CORTISOL NOT CONSUMED by people has serious beneficial results for the health of so many living beings.

What we need and what you get: We seek to start a foundation that will protect and maintain rescued horses, providing them as individual therapy animals for abused and neglected children to receive counseling on. We will be locating in urban centers across the Nation.

Other ways you can help: Become an anti-horse slaughter advocate! CALL YOUR SENATORS and REPRESENTATIVES IN THE HOUSE. Inform your family and friends in other states and encourage them to call, asking the legislators to SUPPORT THE SAFE ACT! (S 541/HR 1094)

LET’S LIGHT UP THE PHONE LINES IN WASHINGTON D.C. (202)224-3121 We can accomplish this together NOW! and then use any donations to help horses, children and the rest of us increase quality of life in the U.S. through providing desperately needed, effective services to abused and neglected children.

Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM & former Chief USDA Inspector, told Congress in 2008: “The captive bolt used to slaughter horses is simply not effective. These animals regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck, they are fully aware they are being vivisected.”



The USDA is required by law to cull “dark cutting” beef and this prevents the distribution of high levels of adrenaline and cortisol in commercially slaughtered meat which contains serious health risks to consumers. Why is the USDA FSIS not required to test commercially slaughtered horse meat? Not only does it contain levels of adrenaline and cortisol far higher than found in beef, but there are substances/medications found in most horses which are prohibited for use in food animals. Bovines and equines are completely different species, especially when considering the commercial slaughter process and product.

You cannot restrain the head of a horse to correctly apply the pneumatic captive-bolt gun apparatus to their forehead. The gun has a pressure-release trigger and use of it on horses requires multiple shots to render them senseless. Some skulls from slaughtered horses recovered at rendering plants have 4 or 5, and sometimes up to 20 or more, holes in them. The specific fact that equines commonly have to be struck multiple times with the captive-bolt, or shotgun, is what makes commercial horse slaughter in the U.S. a clear violation of the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958.

Horses cannot be slaughtered humanely in commercial settings because of the nature of their extremely sensitive fight/flight responses, their keen herd mentality and their physiological responses. There is no way to disguise the horse’s imminent death in an unfamiliar commercial environment. Horses have a sense of smell more sensitive than dogs’. They hear, smell, see, feel and taste death. They do not trust the strange handlers and often FIGHT FOR THEIR LIVES!

The proponents and profiteers of this issue are great at spreading misinformation and sensationalism, they are great at marketing and spin, they are great at trying to hide the facts of this issue. Aside from them being able to build a fully contained facility where nobody but them sees in or hears in, we will not rest until they are COMPLETELY TRANSPARENT! (The board of directors and financial records of their sham nonprofits also.)

The public needs to be informed and this “industry” needs to be exposed for what it truly is: a few people making A LOT of money off A LOT of suffering by A LOT of animals.





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CLICK HERE to view the Column One, Los Angeles Times article featuring me.


24 thoughts on “Home

  1. Karin is an amazing woman. She is doing what so many of us would like to do. She is getting the word out the best way she knows how, by taking along her three Horse companions on her long ride, to raise awareness about what is now taking place in the Horse World. Transportation for up to 1,200 miles to slaughter with no stops for food or water, to Kill pens on the Mexican border. Those Horses who have died either during or at the journeys end, are thrown in ditches and left to rot. This is verified by observers and videos are available to the public. Many are sick and crippled and are down and being trampled by other Horses who, so closely packed in, have no room to move. Horses were never meant to end up as meat on someones’ dinner table but were always meant to work for humans in many different ways, and also to bring love and companionship to their owners.The journey down the slaughter pipeline is snowballing and has to be stopped before all are Horses are gone. Please support anti slaughter bills coming up for approval and write and call your Senators and Congessmen to get their support to get these bills passed before it is too late. Our Horses and Burros are depending on you. Please, don’t let them down…

    • Horse slaughter is NOT humane euthanasia!

      With the captive-bolt, which was developed for use on cattle, stunning is ineffective over 40% of the time when applied to domestic, trained horses (the ones full of prohibited drugs and medications.) This is due to the fact that horses’ heads cannot be restrained as cattle are and accuracy is very difficult. Horses will routinely break their own necks if restrained. The captive-bolt is ineffective at stunning wild, untrained or under-trained horses nearly 100% of the time. Everyone who knows horses and has any experience at all with wild horses knows that it is near impossible to get anywhere near their poll which is a very vulnerable area to every horse. To get near a wild horse’s poll with a captive-bolt apparatus and have an accurate shot is technically, practically and virtually impossible. This is the reason why we find so much carcass evidence documentation of severe abuse to slaughtered horses. The captive-bolt process itself is so ineffective that many horses are shot multiple times or vivisected while conscious. This is a definite violation of the Humane Slaughter Act which mandates slaughtered animals to be rendered “senseless with one (1) shot.”

      In addition to having multiple USDA and environmental violations for inhumane treatment of cattle and illegal waste disposal, this De Los Santos of Valley Meats knows nothing about commercial horse slaughter. He was duped into retooling his facility with inadequate tools to perform the slaughter of horses humanely, since this is impossible. The USDA is inspecting his facility just as they do for cattle, they are not taking into account the ineffective stunning of horses with this device. Valley Meats is not qualified nor are they able to slaughter horses humanely because this is impossible to do in a commercial environment with machines. So many are ignorant of the facts, including the press and so many uninformed members of the public.

  2. Horse Welfare Organizations are denouncing the actions of THESE three legislators:
    These three legislators stripped away the language from the “Agriculture Appropriations Bill” that had prevented equine slaughter for human consumption in America, thereby legalizing the practice.
    President Obama then signed the bill into law on Nov. 18th 2011

    tel: (202) 224-5721
    fax: (202) 224-8149

    tel: (202) 225-5831
    fax: (202) 226-2269

    tel: (202) 224-5653
    fax: (202) 224-9787

    President Barack Obama
    tel: (202) 456-1111
    fax: (202) 456-2461

  3. i believe that the public, to a large degree is unaware of the horse slaughter and all the abuses that accompany this from “kill buyer” to slaughter house in mexico and canada. your willingness to forgo the comfort of “home” to work for recognizable change in our treatment of our american equines, thanks is not enough but that’s all i got at the moment.

  4. I can’t imagine the horror of having to see trailers full of horses on the way to slaughter. It’s sickening enough seeing chicken trucks, but we do eat chickens in this country; we sure as hell don’t eat horses. Horses are companion animals, not main dishes.

    • I sure wish I lived closer to Arizona ’cause I would suerly help you guys out and take a mama and a baby off your hands. I would possibly even take 2 of each. But I’m all the way over here in NC. If you can think of a way that I can help you out, let me know and I will try to somehow. Good Luck and my Prayers are with you and everyone that is helping take care of these little ones and their mamma’s God Bless!Tracie S.

  5. Horse slaughter should have been banned years ago! Americans don’t eat horses and we should not be shipping them abroad to satisfy a market that Americans don’t support. The long transport trips that they are forced to go on are brutal. They are beaten and prodded once they are at slaughter houses and videos show from the ASPCA how horse slaughter is very cruel because they have to continually prod the animals and horses have to suffer repeated blows to the head. Horses have been mankind’s great ally and companions, they deserve a better end than to be served for dinner!

  6. Thank you so much for this post. I have signed petitions and called my representatives; posted articles on the OAC blog and done whatever I could to see to it that the Senate joins the House in making sure this bill is passed.Yes, the composting is a very viable option and far preferable to the inhumane slaughter that goes on in the rendering plants. Bear in mind that many of the horses are not old, sick or decrepit. Some are pets that have been stolen and left families bereft. Others are young wild horses that could be adopted out.All attention that is brought to this pending bill is appreciated.Mardee

    • Commercial Horse Slaughter for human consumption is very, very different than rendering. Humane chemical euthanasia is the correct and recommended way to kill a horse, as it is literally painless and costs less than one month’s feed and board for the horse. A horse’s carcass can be rendered after chemical euthanasia, but the meat cannot be harvested for human consumption. No market, save for an illegal one, would ever accept horse meat for human consumption that has large amounts of lethal chemicals present in the end product. Likewise, the issue of large amounts of adrenaline and cortisol, known to cause Cancer when consumed by humans, is why these naturally occurring hormones and steroids are heavily regulated by law in every country that certifies beef for human consumption. This issue in commercially slaughtered horse meat should be equally important to the consumer—and authorizing agencies who are responsible for the safety of all approved foods.

  7. No, I am not a vegetarian and I have eaten horse meat ahotlugh I love horses. The issue is much more complicated, including overproduction of poorly bred horses to begin with and a disorganized market which prevents many decent horses from leaving the racetrack and getting into the hands of people who can retrain them for other sports or for pleasure riding. I have only posted the link with no commentary because I wanted to see what others think about this bill.

    • “Overproduction of poorly bred horses” is what happens when men breed horses specifically for human consumption. When they sell “horse meat” in a French, European or Asian market it is simply marked “horse” or “cheval.” It is not distinguished by the breed, age or any other factors.

      There is not a “disorganized” market for horses in the U.S. The market for horses, mules and burros has existed in this country for hundreds of years, and in the world for thousands. Remember your history—or rather mine… Horses are the one animal responsible for the settlement and development of the most powerful country in the world, and all others. Every Revolution, including the Industrial one was started and accomplished on horseback.

      These animals were provided to man as an essential tool by God Himself. The issue of the adrenaline and cortisol levels that are present in the harvested meat of (severely) improperly slaughtered equines is complicated. It is complicated most by people’s misunderstanding or ignorance of slaughter in general, particularly the captive bolt head-shot method used in bovine and equine slaughter.

      The horse is a tool, not a commodity.

  8. Thank you for appreciating and recognizing horses as the gift as God intended them. While I found it interesting to understand more about hunters and their intent for a “good kill,” I am so horrified that any human with a conscience could allow their horse to fall into the hands of commercial horse slaughter… “Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM & former Chief USDA Inspector, told Congress in 2008: “The captive bolt used to slaughter horses is simply not effective. These animals regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck, they are fully aware they are being vivisected.” That is a BAD KILL and such a savage act to allow on the horses we love!

  9. I just don’t get the notion of “breeding” horses all over the world on one hand and then going in the wild and slaughtering the ones that are already there???
    The world is too fat and sick with greed and ‘want’s”
    Its time to stop, breathe and re acess what life is really all about!
    Humans have to learn to live with nature and not the other way around.
    Besides we are throwing out 50 PERCENT !!!!!! of all food on this planet each year ( that includes meat)-
    Isn’t it time for change?

  10. Horse slaughter must be banned in this new year. Tax paying public do not want our tax dollars used to inspect foreign-owned horse slaughter facilities. Horses are icons and also our friends buddies and companions. The American public loves horses always has and always will. Stop the killing of our American Icons for humane consumption for foreign countries it is just wrong! Americans do not eat horses!

  11. I cannot agree there is any demand for horse slaughter and consumption in America no matter what it is: cruel and inhumane to the horses or self-poisoning to humans. We shoot these horses up with different vaccinations and anti-inflammatory medications multiple times per year. With everything horses have done for us, they do not deserve this treatment at the end of their lives. America was built on the backs of horses before we ever had other equipment. I think the government needs to focus on tighter regulations on breeding and racing if they want to control overpopulation. It’s a big game of greed and the ones suffering are living breathing creatures. Only a few people benefit financially for all that suffering of so many horses.

  12. I am interested to learn more about commercial slaughter here. Can I ask you, what were the humane kill-methods used by Muslim and Jewish religions? I always thought stunning was more humane, but of course, I’ve always known about the cortisol and adrenaline levels in all meats as well. Also, did the Moran Amendment get changed? I wasn’t sure about the date on your blog? Is it legal for commercial slaughter in U.S. now? Not only does this cause great suffering and torture for our horses, but it can cause health problems in humans.

    • Both the Kosher and Halal methods of slaughter are essentially the same, when performed BY HAND and CORRECTLY. Although to see that happen today is a rarity. Because of demand, men have manipulated these methods into commercial facilities which does NOT maintain the same method or ritual at all. It is a travesty and an abashment of both religions to maintain this slaughter in commercial facilities. Some of the worst humane violations ever documented have happened in “Kosher” facilities. Basically, both methods are not at all humane in commercial settings.

      Stunning does not work with horses, at all. It can be ineffective with cattle as well. Basically, I do not trust the men who handle cattle or horses to be slaughtered, ever, at all. They have no conscience to kill the animal in the first place and the only reason why they try to perform their task “correctly” is because of their profit margins, but they hide the bad meat into processed foods anyway… I am not convinced that a majority of kill box operators are proficient and performing their job per the USDA’s “humane” standards either.

      There is a very, very thin line between correct and incorrect when it comes to slaughtering animals for healthful human consumption. Unfortunately, that thin line does not even exist in commercial settings.

      All slaughter of equines and bovines is inhumane in commercial settings, producing adrenaline and cortisol in the flesh which is managed and distributed by the profiteers in toxic levels to the population. The natural hormones and steroids in the meat, caused by stress, abuse and torture during the commercial slaughter and kill process, IS the “red meat” connection cited as causing Cancer at alarming rates in the population. The reason why so few are raising alarms to this is because of heavy suppression by one of the largest industries in the world and also Cancer, unlike bacteria, kills slowly. Cancer kills so slowly, developing over time so that the cause is often not ever documented or identified.

      Studies are needed, documentation and distribution of research is needed, but money rules the world and the people who have it control these avenues, do not want these facts coming to light.

      We don’t know the disposition of the Moran amendment in the budget process yet because they have not voted on the final Ag budget, they tabled it for the new administration and electorate. We have to reintroduce the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act because it died with the end of the last electorate.

      Only some states have made commercial horse slaughter illegal. According to the Federal Government, horse slaughter is legal. It’s the certification of the meat product by the USDA for sale that keeps it from happening. The USDA has to be funded by the electorate to do their jobs each year. But the USDA should not ever be certifying horse meat for human consumption because it does not meet the standards set by law for beef. They treat horses like cattle until it comes to the end product itself and then there are just no standards that exist for horse meat because it is not consumed in the U.S.

      Unfortunately, for the horses and eventually the people who eat them, this issue is a complicated one which has been spun and misinformed by many to the public over many, many years.

  13. I am trying to follow what is going on but still am not totally clear where we are at in terms of making it illegal…and how we can stop the exporting of horse for slaughter to Canada and Mexico. I do sign petitions when I find them, but it’s pretty unclear if it’s making a difference or not. I also make phone calls and write letters. Can you update us all with the details?
    Thank you for all the good work you do for the horses. I will continue to follow your post and do what I must to fight for the rights of our horses, wild and domestic.

    • Hi Barbara! Right now, we need to focus on calling our Federal Representatives and encouraging them to pass the SAFE Act. This legislation will make commercial horse slaughter illegal in the U.S. and prohibit the transport of U.S. horses out of the country for slaughter.

      The Congressional Switchboard number is (202)224-3121 they can connect you with your Senators and Representatives.

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