PETA's Investigation Inside Japanese Horse Slaughterhouse

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Every year, hundreds of Thoroughbreds from the U.S. are sold to stables in Japan, where 90% of all horses end up in slaughterhouses. In most Japanese slaughterhouses, horses meet a frightening death. They are killed, are cut apart, and end up as food for dogs and humans.

During a PETA undercover investigation inside Japan’s largest horse slaughterhouse, in Kumamoto, we captured video footage of a Thoroughbred’s last minutes. The horse is sprayed with water before slaughter—frightened and uncertain about what is happening. He panics, and at one point, he slips out of his halter and escapes inside the slaughterhouse, only to be caught—and killed—minutes later.

As many as 20,000 horses were slaughtered in Japan in 2008, partly because of overbreeding of Thoroughbreds in the U.S., where racehorses are exploited as disposable commodities. Tens of thousands of foals are produced each year for the greedy racing industry, but there is no plan for what to do with them when their racing days are over.

Even horse racing stars can end up in a slaughterhouse. Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand was sold to a Japanese breeder, and a few years later, when he wasn’t wanted anymore, he was sold to slaughter. During our investigation in Japan, PETA also discovered that Derby and Preakness winners Charismatic and War Emblem were at breeding farms in Japan.

We also learned that Private Vow, a Kentucky Derby runner, had been slaughtered in South Korea in 2020.

Please help protect horses. Use the form below to urge your legislators to cosponsor the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, which, if passed, would prohibit the knowing sale or transport of equines or equine parts in interstate or foreign commerce for purposes of human consumption. If passed, this legislation would effectively end the slaughter of American horses for food—both here and abroad.

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