In All Likelihood, Most Spent Racehorses Are Slaughtered

According to the Equine Welfare Alliance, last year 146,548 American horses were slaughtered in foreign abattoirs. A “Wild for Life Foundation” study (2002-2010) found that on average 19% of the slaughterbound are Thoroughbreds. Even if we were to use a lower percentage (the racing industry, of course, claims 19% is too high) – say, 13% – the number of Thoroughbreds who departed via slaughter last year practically matches the Jockey Club’s estimated “foal crop” (20,300).

And this is no aberration:

2013: 152,814 American horses slaughtered; 13% = 19,865; “foal crop” 21,275

2012: 176,223 American horses slaughtered; 13% = 22,908; “foal crop” 21,725

2011: 133,241 American horses slaughtered; 13% = 17,321; “foal crop” 22,610

Think of Racing as a revolving door – room must constantly be made for the incoming batch. And since the industry is clearly not expanding, at the very least it’s a one-to-one trade-off – each arrival comes with an exit. All of which leads to this likely conclusion: The great majority of spent Thoroughbreds are being slaughtered. (The same can probably be said for Quarterhorse and Standardbred racehorses.)

To remind:

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  1. Thank you Patrick

    The pro racing supporters should ALL go and look at these videos and see how over 20,000 race horses are brutally murdered every year.

  2. It is incomprehensible how those who defend and support racing can be in denial re. slaughter when the numbers are there to be seen.
    A few are “saved” but those numbers pale in comparison to the numbers slaughtered year after year.
    Slaughter is part and parcel of racing. Racing uses and abuses the horse and when the horse is no longer “useful” to the game he faces the ultimate betrayal, a horrific death in the slaughterhouse.

  3. Yes Rose – the “ultimate betrayal” finished with you so off to slaughter. A despicable, unacceptable and unforgiveable act.

  4. Just noticed that Dortmund and Firing Line are not contenders in the final race of the much sought after Triple Crown, the Belmont, scheduled for 6 June.
    It appears that Firing Line likely did some damage jumping out of the gates in the Preakness. Dortmund and his colic history? well, one can only think that that terrible race in shocking conditions flattened him well and truly and likely the others. THREE YEAR OLDS – it just makes me sick to the stomach that they do this wretched Triple Crown… to prove what?
    One thing it does prove is how to ruin young horses over a period of several weeks. It would be interesting to monitor all these 3 year olds who competed in the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont.

    Re: American Pharoah’s owner and former owner of Nehro


      DORTMUND was suffering from colic symptoms and should NEVER have been raced in the Belmont.

      They raced him anyway and that weakened him further. That race could have killed him.

  5. On the Subject of HORSE SLAUGHTER #1

    This group is trying to stop it in Canada and the jst announced the following

    Announcing: The Launch Of The Canadian Veterinary Equine Welfare Council Website

    In January the CHDC announced the creation of The Canadian Veterinary Equine Welfare Council. Today, we proudly present the website to support this initiative – the site/blog has been completed, is live, and ready for the world to view! The site will be a tool that will help us fulfill our mission to tackle misinformation about horse slaughter while promoting humane alternatives to this inhumane industry.

    Now, we move onto the next stage in the development of the CVEWC – building a national group of veterinarians and other animal health professionals who are committed to the promotion of humane treatment of horses and to educate others about options for those horse owners who can no longer care for (or must end the lives of) their animals. Veterinarians by definition are animal advocates, who strive to relieve suffering in any animal. Collectively, the CVEWC will work to establish a greater presence amongst the veterinary community, animal care-givers, the general public, and government, to publicize our stance that Canada’s horse slaughter industry must end.

    This week we head to the printers, courtesy of those generous individuals who donated to cover the costs of this national reach-out. In the meantime, supportive veterinarians and vet-techs are invited to join and be a part of the growing chorus of veterinary professionals who are opposed to the mistreatment of horses through transport and slaughter itself.

    The views of individual veterinarians should be more respected than any body that represents them. Here’s what 3 veterinarians have to say about the formation of the CVEWC and horse slaughter in Canada:


    The views of individual veterinarians should be more respected than any body that represents them. Here’s what 3 veterinarians have to say about the formation of the CVEWC and horse slaughter in Canada:

    Dr. Judith Samson-French (BSc, DVM, MSc)

    “All animals should be treated with respect and dignity, especially while in our service, and when needed and appropriate offered a humane death.

    The current horse slaughter industry in Canada massively fails to provide the necessary regulations and oversight to fulfill the above. As such and as a veterinarian who has worked on the kill floor, I vehemently oppose the current practice of horse slaughtering in Canada and endorse the efforts of The Canadian Veterinary Equine Welfare Council to engage everyone in an informed dialogue on this issue.”

    Dr. Debi Zimmermann (BSc, DVM)

    “As part of their mandate, veterinarians are entrusted with the prevention and relief of animal suffering and, the promotion of public health. It is incumbent upon veterinarians therefore, to take a stand on horse slaughter on two fronts; firstly to denounce this inherently cruel and brutal method as a humane option to deal with unwanted horses, and secondly, to protect human health from the prohibited and dangerous drugs that invariably end up in the tissues of many slaughtered horses destined for meat consumption.

    I congratulate The Canadian Veterinary Equine Welfare Council for taking on this important issue and for providing a platform through which veterinarians can actively protect the welfare of Canadian horses.”

    Dr. Nicholas Dodman (BVMS, DVA, DACVA, DACVB)

    “I’m very pleased to learn that Canada is about to have its first equine welfare council of veterinarians. For years, I’ve been closely involved with U.S. based Veterinarians for Equine Welfare. We were established to bring like-minded veterinarians and animal health professionals together in a supportive group – people who are guided by their principles to ensure that the welfare of their patients is above all else.”

  7. More ugly truths about the racing industry and how it treats its horses – from the Paulick Report (link provided below). The information and quotes below, from a racing owner;

    -“The anti-slaughter policies, they’re worthless.”

    – “slaughterhouses work with facilities belonging to middle men who often are stationed within an easy drive of racetracks (…one operates within 30 minutes of Churchill Downs). [there was an] undercover investigation of a kill pen in Louisiana that was used as an outlet for moving horses on to slaughter in Mexico. [there were] deplorable conditions and horses with their racing plates still on, some of whom still had sweat marks from racing saddles removed after competing at a Louisiana racetrack.”

    – “[there seems to be] trainers [that] use these middle men specifically so they won’t face house rule sanctions from racetracks…the practice is most common in Louisiana, and at Charles Town in West Virginia, Los Alamitos in California and Penn National in Pennsylvania.”

    SHUT IT DOWN. This completely unnecessary gambling and entertainment industry needs to be SHUT DOWN!

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