For Immediate Release

Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, Inc.



Skip Trimble - (214) 855-2960

Chris Heyde (703) 836-4300

Diana Pikulski - (802) 496-3282

Leslie McCammish - (859) 255-1555


Survey Shows Texans Strongly Oppose Horse Slaughter


Austin, TX (May 9, 2003) – An opinion poll conducted this week reveals that an overwhelming majority of Texas voters (72%) are opposed to the slaughtering of horses for human consumption. Texas is home to the two remaining horse slaughter houses in the United States.  Both are foreign owned, and the meat is shipped to Europe and Asia where it is considered a delicacy.


The survey was conducted May 4-6, 2003 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research for Blue Horse Charities, a corporation organized by Fasig-Tipton Co., Inc., the country's oldest Thoroughbred auction house, which conducts several sales each year at Lone Star Park and the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, the largest equine rescue in the country.  The survey was commissioned to determine public sentiment on the issue, in light of pending legislation to overturn existing Texas law which outlaws the slaughter of horses for human consumption.  Earlier this year a Texas State Representative introduced a measure to decriminalize this activity – so long as the horsemeat is consumed elsewhere.


In response to the question, “Do you favor or oppose changing state law to legalize the slaughter of horses and foreign export of horsemeat for human consumption?” 77% of those polled said they opposed.  “The horse holds a unique place in the lives of Americans, so we weren’t surprised to learn that 77% of Texans oppose the legislation pending in the state legislature,” said John Hettinger, a major shareholder of Fasig-Tipton Co., Inc.


The survey also revealed that horse slaughter is an unknown industry to most Texans, with 89% of those questioned stating they were previously unaware of the practice.  Even fewer realize the cruelty involved throughout the entire process, from livestock auction to slaughter.  Because horses are not raised for human consumption in the US, slaughterhouses and their middlemen known as “killer buyers” have to travel throughout the entire US from auction to auction to fill their quotas, often buying from owners who are unaware that their animals will be killed and their flesh served in European restaurants.


Diana Pikulski, Executive Director of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation says “There are ample, quality sanctuaries across the United States that can take in horses in need of homes.  We have 4 major farms at correctional facilities where inmates and juvenile offenders derive emotional as well as educational benefits while helping care for the horses.  Additionally we have 7 other satellite farms around the country.”


Not all legislation on this issue is bad.  A federal bill, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (HR 857), was recently introduced by Representative John Sweeney (R-NY).  This humane bill will not only ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption, but also the export of live horses for slaughter abroad.