“Every time I see a horse at an auction or a feedlot, I picture my own horse, my first horse, in their position,” DiFelice wrote. “I imagine him being unloaded at the slaughterhouse, afraid and wondering where I am. Why haven't I come to get him yet? He would call out for me I'm sure, and he would call to his new friends. All along being handled by people who are rough and unkind. In his last moments, all alone, feeling only terror. The thought of this makes me sick to my stomach, but this is the reality of thousands of horses every single day.”
According to the Humane Society of the United States, horses are typically shipped across borders without food, water or rest for more than 24 hours at a time. Due to overcrowding within transport trailers, many are seriously injured or killed in transit.
Skittish by nature, especially when placed in an unfamiliar environment, horses are often not stunned properly before slaughter — meaning some may remain conscious throughout the process.
The last remaining U.S. horse slaughterhouses — two in Texas and one in Illinois — were closed in 2007. The year before shutting down, these facilities killed and processed more than 104,000 horses for human consumption, shipping the meat overseas to countries like China, Japan, Germany and Switzerland where horse meat is considered a delicacy.