Abattoir horses

Ale

Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2012
7,812
6,243
113
#1
Yesterday at uni we had a talk from the Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent.

I wasn't aware that horses were fed to big cats in captivity, I had always assumed that it was cow ribs/bones you could see in enclosures.

They have a pride of lions there and they are fed a whole horse carcass once a week to make it as realistic to their natural eating. We got to see a video of this and although it was a little shocking, I can see from the lions point of view how it is beneficial.

I have heard all the horror stories about abattoirs and just wondered if there are good abattoirs out there? Are the horses ever treated well, do they get travelled compassionately? Do they meet their end quickly and painlessly? Or is it always like the horror stories?

Happy to just hear any thoughts and opinions on the topic, I was just a little shocked to see a sanctuary sources it meat in this way.
 

Jessey

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
19,230
9,618
113
37
Suffolk, UK
#2
I would be happier to donate my horses body to the benefit of other animals than to have them cremated because I think the circle of life has to happen, but I've never been in the position to choose anything other than injection for putting mine down and honestly I'm not sure I could be there for a bolt gun. I have no idea about abattoirs now days, they never used to have a good reputation.
 

Jane&Ziggy

Learning together!
Apr 30, 2010
16,771
4,674
113
58
Surrey Hills
#3
Well, if I had to have one of mine PTS I would be delighted if their bodies could feed other animals: TBH I would feel the same about my own body but I acknowledge that that's unusual and probably wouldn't get approval!

Of course I would prefer that all animals killed for food (ours or animals') had courteous treatment and a death free from pain and fear. I suspect, alas, that few do.
 
Likes: Jessey

Trewsers

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
49,694
9,657
113
49
On an island
#4
How interesting. I too think there is a circle of life and it would be better for an animal to die and be upcycled ? (Not sure ifthat is the right term) than be burnt for no real purpose. A long time ago I did meet a person who has worked at a local slaughterhouse and this person told me that he treated the animals coming in just as kindly and respectfully as he could. I can't remember the exact turn of phrase he used but I got the impression he was one of the better people who worked there and made sure things were done fairly. There are lots of bad stories and sadly a lot are true as you cannot argue with under cover footage.
 

Trewsers

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
49,694
9,657
113
49
On an island
#5
Well, if I had to have one of mine PTS I would be delighted if their bodies could feed other animals: TBH I would feel the same about my own body but I acknowledge that that's unusual and probably wouldn't get approval!

Of course I would prefer that all animals killed for food (ours or animals') had courteous treatment and a death free from pain and fear. I suspect, alas, that few do.
I would like to donate my body to medical science if they want it.
 

Ale

Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2012
7,812
6,243
113
#6
I agree with the whole circle of life idea. I don't think there is anything wrong with feeding horses to big cats as such although watching a lion eat a horse is very different from watching it eat a zebra or a gazelle. It's natural, but not quite if that makes sense.

I wouldn't do it with Ale, I think burial and cremation is also a way of continuing the circle of life, those nutrients end up back in the soil and promote new life.

My tutor did say she would like to donate herself so you are not alone @Jane&Ziggy !

I think I was just more curious to the fact that they use an abattoir and how the horses are dealt with prior to their death. What sort of treatment they receive given they are being fed to cats in a zoo where cat welfare is extremely high.

Really interesting to hear all your opinions though, it was just a topic that got me curious.
 

Trewsers

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
49,694
9,657
113
49
On an island
#7
I agree with the whole circle of life idea. I don't think there is anything wrong with feeding horses to big cats as such although watching a lion eat a horse is very different from watching it eat a zebra or a gazelle. It's natural, but not quite if that makes sense.

I wouldn't do it with Ale, I think burial and cremation is also a way of continuing the circle of life, those nutrients end up back in the soil and promote new life.

My tutor did say she would like to donate herself so you are not alone @Jane&Ziggy !

I think I was just more curious to the fact that they use an abattoir and how the horses are dealt with prior to their death. What sort of treatment they receive given they are being fed to cats in a zoo where cat welfare is extremely high.

Really interesting to hear all your opinions though, it was just a topic that got me curious.
Yes so true about even after cremation. Matter can't be destroyed can it? So as you say, it becomes a soil ingredient.
 
Likes: Ale

Ale

Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2012
7,812
6,243
113
#8
I would like to donate my body to medical science if they want it.
I would like to go to one of those places where they let you decompose in an awkward manner to help with murder timescales, I mean how would they know how long the human body takes to decompose without them. When I'm dead I mean, don't think I'd like to visit somewhere like that
 

Ale

Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2012
7,812
6,243
113
#9
Yes so true about even after cremation. Matter can't be destroyed can it? So as you say, it becomes a soil ingredient.
It's why forest fires are sometimes beneficial I believe, they turn dead wood into organic material that is absorbed into the soil and leads to new life. However only when very controlled not like the tragic wild ones that break out
 
Likes: Trewsers

chunky monkey

Well-Known Member
May 2, 2007
3,269
1,175
113
...la la land
#11
I have heard all the horror stories about abattoirs and just wondered if there are good abattoirs out there?
I was talking to someone recently who said that one abbatoir has had to install cameras inside and outside the premises. So everything is now monitored from the time of offloading to the end. The recordings all have to be kept for an alloted timeframe. The powers that be can requested to see the footage from any given time/day. This slowly being rolled out in many abbatoirs apparently. So hopefully it will stop any mistreatment.
 

chunky monkey

Well-Known Member
May 2, 2007
3,269
1,175
113
...la la land
#12
Not abbatoir but thinking about animals and carcass disposal.
Obviously im dealing with farm animals and you get deadstock. I usually take my deadstock to the local hunt. I know not all get fed to the hounds and they dispose of any excess by alternative means. Maybe even the zoos. Its not my favourite trip but it's always interesting seeing what other carcasses they have. Some of the horses carcasses are probably fed to the hounds. Its not a pleasant thought thinking it might be your dead horse that's fed. To be honest I'm not sure what proportion is fed to hounds if at all these days with the rules and regulations.
 
Likes: Ale

Skib

Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2003
7,304
1,130
113
London
#13
Horses that hunted were traditionally fed to the hounds, I think. And fallen stock as chunky monkey says.I am stupidly quite excited that captive lions get whole horse carcasses to grapple with. Didnt even know there were still big cats at your local place Ale. My dad used to take me there just after the war.
 

Ale

Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2012
7,812
6,243
113
#14
Horses that hunted were traditionally fed to the hounds, I think. And fallen stock as chunky monkey says.I am stupidly quite excited that captive lions get whole horse carcasses to grapple with. Didnt even know there were still big cats at your local place Ale. My dad used to take me there just after the war.
There are only tigers there now I think and I'm not too sure what they are fed on. This was the Big Cat Sanctuary out in Kent. I mean the video is beautiful really as they are kept as a pride and are clearly very happy lions.
 

diplomaticandtactful

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2003
10,360
160
63
#15
if your horse is pts at home by injection you can only bury or cremate it. Mine are buried in their field as they have all been pts at home or at vet hospital. The old fashioned smaller abattoirs were better for horses, they were shot in a stable and then processed, completely different from the industrial abbatoirs in Canada and mexico and Europe where they are processing much more horses and they are treated like cattle, i.e. they are in races and can't escape and are stunned in a line which is stressful for them. There aren't many in the UK that process horses, I know people who used to take their old horse by box to the slaughter house and it was done there and then. The Dartmoor hill ponies are the main horses going into zoos as tbs go for human consumption and generally go abroad.
 

Ale

Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2012
7,812
6,243
113
#17
if your horse is pts at home by injection you can only bury or cremate it. Mine are buried in their field as they have all been pts at home or at vet hospital. The old fashioned smaller abattoirs were better for horses, they were shot in a stable and then processed, completely different from the industrial abbatoirs in Canada and mexico and Europe where they are processing much more horses and they are treated like cattle, i.e. they are in races and can't escape and are stunned in a line which is stressful for them. There aren't many in the UK that process horses, I know people who used to take their old horse by box to the slaughter house and it was done there and then. The Dartmoor hill ponies are the main horses going into zoos as tbs go for human consumption and generally go abroad.
Interesting to learn more, thank-you. Sad to hear it's Dartmoor ponies, I always assumed the majority of the foals were sold off to make riding horses. They have a wonderful life at least
 

diplomaticandtactful

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2003
10,360
160
63
#18
Interesting to learn more, thank-you. Sad to hear it's Dartmoor ponies, I always assumed the majority of the foals were sold off to make riding horses. They have a wonderful life at least
there is quite a lot of controversy over the Dartmoor hill ponies in that some people are trying to develop a meat market for them to have some value to the owners and others are completely opposed to this and want numbers reduced and more effort to add value to the ponies by handling them and passporting them. there are some fillies for sale that were taken out of a meat lot and are passported, haltered and had some handling and are for rehoming at £100 each rather than the £10 or so they go for at the sales where they are thrown away. I am not sure if that's how they end up their short life on the moors is that wonderful if wild ponies are going to be sent for slaughter and terrified in transport.
 

diplomaticandtactful

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2003
10,360
160
63
#20
I must say it's the transporting as much as the killing of the animals that upsets me. I wish they could be killed quickly on the farm.
I must say it's the transporting as much as the killing of the animals that upsets me. I wish they could be killed quickly on the farm.
a local beef farmer who produces organic grass fed meat from pedigree cattle has built his own abattoir on the farm so that the steers never leave the farm, they are born there, grow up and are killed there. it used to be at cattle markets the abattoir was next door and the cattle going for slaughter went through the ring and straight away to the abattoir and it was local i.e. they were not having to transport them to big industrial plants set up for the supermarkets. It was much less traumatic for them. they say that the wild ponies are not exported live to Europe but I just don't believe it.