According to the Federal Government Department of Agriculture around 40,000 horses are slaughtered for human consumption each year. Up until now, horse meat for human consumption was destined for overseas markets such as Japan and Europe. One slaughter house alone confirmed verbally that they process an average of 700 horses per week (48 weeks per year) which is 33,600 horses. The second slaughter house for human consumption in Australia would not comment but is approximately the same size. This does not include horses killed for pet food. There are NO definitive statistics available, only these estimates so the numbers could be far greater.
There are 2 abattoirs in Australia licensed to kill and export horse meat for human consumption along with 33 licensed knackery’s and we have estimated that well over 100,000 horses are slaughtered each year.
Horses are killed for human consumption in the same way cattle are, however, the horses skull is structured differently with the brain situated further back in the head. So when a Captive bolt hits a horse is it not killed immediately. The horse is then strung up and bled while its heart is still pumping. This process has been proven to cause extreme pain to the animal and in the USA it violated the Humane Slaughter Act and horse slaughter was banned over there. The RSPCA have a policy in regards to humane killing which states “An animal must be either killed instantly or instantaneously rendered insensible to pain until death supervenes” however, the captive bolt does not kill instantly or instantaneously and causes the horse extreme pain before death. We have been informed by the Western Australia Government that they will not take into consideration the USA study because it was not conducted on Australian soil even though the process is exactly the same.
The RSPCA have another policy which states “Handling of animals prior to killing must also be humane and as stress-free as possible” however, these animals are subject to long sometime interstate transporting to one of the two licensed abattoirs in Australia who kill horses for human consumption without rest, food or water, not to mention the state of the horses in sale yards, the transportation issues and treatment in knackery’s of horses killed for pet food (but this is a different issue). In Western Australia there is no licensed abattoir for slaughtering horses for human consumption and no details have been confirmed on where these animals are being killed, however we have been informed that they are being killed in a knackery licensed to slaughter for pet food but we have been unable to confirm this.
Horse slaughter, a video: WARNING GRAPHIC. If you support Horse Meat, you support the brutal deaths of tens of thousands of Australian Horses every year. We are unable to post footage of Australian knackeries at this stage. However the image below demonstrates the same reality of this slaughter in Australia.