Finding accurate statistics and data on this subject is very difficult, it is a subject that lives in shroud of secrecy as no one wants to admit it really happens. Most of the difficulty can be put down to the Australian horse industry not being sufficiently regulated. Horses are classed as stock animals yet horses do not have to be registered and tracked unlike other stock animals and consequently it is very difficult to follow the life of a horse from birth to death unlike other stock animals such as cows, pigs or sheep. Once a horse finds itself at an abattoir or knackery its past simply no-longer exists!
Before however we all point figures and vent our anger at the knackeries and abattoirs for the deaths of thousands of horses each year we must remember that they are simply providing a service, they are fulfilling a need that we have created. Can you imagine what would happen if all the horses that pass through the kill pens couldn’t be disposed of? They would probably suffer horribly due to substandard care they were force to endure because they simple no longer have a “use” or “purpose” to us anymore. Contrary to popular belief it is not just the “bad apples” that end up at the kackeries.
So why do we need the knackeries, doggers, abbattoirs or what ever we choose to call them, simply put it is because Australia has an enormous horse population problem. Horses are not bred to be consumed unlike other stock animals, they are bred for our entertainment. Whether it is to replenish the racing industry stocks, or we think a foal is a really cute idea, we may even believe we can make some money out of selling the progeny of our horses, it really doesn’t matter, the reason is irrelevant; it is our action of allowing it that is adding to an already over burdened population. So let’s not kid ourselves that the doggers are the bad guys, we actually need them to clean up our insane addiction to breeding and the passing on of horses that no longer serve our needs.
So do you really need to breed? At EAQ we ask one thing, if you are feeling the urge to breed any horse no matter how amazing you believe that horse is going to be, unless you can honestly answer with hand on heart that you can guarantee that horse a secure and well loved life, then don’t do it. Take a trip out to any one of the large horse sales (get in touch, we can advise you on when & where) and see first hand the results of our unregulated horse breeding industry.
Below are some rather sobering statistics illustrating just how many of our horses are “processed” each year. Sadly not one of these beautiful souls was ever bred with the intention of it being consumed it has simply proved to be a useful solution to a great problem that we have all helped create.
The facts: Australian horse slaughter is a multi-million dollar industry, composed of the following:
?Two abattoirs. The meat is exported for human consumption in a number of countries, including Russia, France, Italy, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Singapore and Japan.
?Thirty three knackeries that slaughter somewhere in the range of 22,000 – 32,000 horses a year for pet food, meat meal, tallow, hair, hides and other products. Some of these are sold domestically and some are exported.
?One butcher in WA was granted a special license in July 2010 to sell horse meat for human consumption within Australia by the Western Australian state Minister for Agriculture and Food, Terry Redman of the National Party. The butcher has stated in the media that he slaughters 20 horses a year, and is currently selling the meat to other states and territories of Australia.