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Breaking investigation by Animal Equality uncovers horses beaten, slaughtered for meat in Spain

For the first time in over a decade, investigators with Animal Equality have captured images of horse slaughter in Spain. Here’s what they found…
June 15, 2024 Updated: July 8, 2024
ES horse investigation ES horse investigation

More than ten years after exposing the horse meat industry in Spain, Animal Equality and award-winning photojournalist Aitor Garmendia returned for another investigation. 

Between November 2023 and May 2024, investigators captured the following at a slaughterhouse in Asturias: 

  • A worker beating a horse with a stick, forcing them to walk.
  • Horses lined up behind a small stall, where they are slaughtered in front of each other.
  • A horse attempting to escape the slaughter area after witnessing the death of a companion.
  • Horses improperly stunned and conscious at the time of slaughter, with several bleeding to death, writhing in pain, or showing other signs of life.

We have been denouncing this industry for years and conducting investigations both in Spain and abroad. We can assure you that animal abuse is all too common. Consumers need to know the truth behind horse meat.

Javier Moreno, co-founder of Animal Equality

Despite its decreasing consumption of horse meat, Spain remains the largest horse meat producer in the European Union. Much of this is exported to Italy and France, where horse meat consumption is much more common.  

Exposing a deadly industry

Animal Equality’s global campaign against horse slaughter has resulted in almost 300,000 petition signatures. Over 130,000 petition signatures have been obtained in the U.S. alone. 

Although horse meat consumption is effectively banned in the United States, over 20,000 horses are still exported to Mexico and Canada for slaughter each year. To shed light on this issue, Animal Equality released a two-part investigation into Mexico’s horse meat industry in 2022.

In the first part of this investigation, investigators documented American horses held at a slaughterhouse in Zacatecas, Mexico. One horse was identified by his USDA sticker, with his origins confirmed by a veterinarian.

Many horses at this slaughterhouse had been transported from an auction in Bowie, Texas. After lives spent in breeding, horse riding, and other activities, these horses endured a grueling 17-hour journey in overcrowded trucks, leading to injuries and aggression.

During the second part of the investigation, Animal Equality filmed a slaughterhouse in Arriaga, Chiapas.

Investigators found gross violations of the Mexican Official Standard, which aims to reduce unnecessary suffering for animals. Animals were hung by chains and suffocated while conscious, beaten with sticks, and ineffectively stunned before slaughter. 

Horse killed by asphyxiation in a slaughterhouse in Mexico
Photo representative of an Animal Equality investigation in Arriaga, Chiapas

Animal Equality’s ongoing campaign continues to expose the horse meat industry, pushing for stronger protections and an end to its cruelty.

You can guarantee the protection of all animals

Animal Equality’s investigations have shown that horses, pigs, cows, chickens, sheep, and other animals suffer for the production of meat and other animal products. 

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