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INVESTIGATION: Inside South Korea’s Largest Horse Slaughterhouse

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs stated: 'Unlike other livestock raised mostly for eating, horses can meet multiple purposes. Horse meat is good and we will work on ways of encouraging people to eat it in the future'.

PETA: ‘South Korea, where horse-meat restaurants abound, hopes to become a major player in international horse racing—Koreans bet more than US$8 billion annually on races… While aggressively breeding and bringing in new blood to improve South Korean racing, the Korea Racing Authority (KRA) discards those horses who get injured or don’t succeed. A KRA official stated in 2018 that of the 1,600 horses “retired” from the racing industry each year, only 50 (or about 3 percent) are deemed suitable for other equestrian uses. Where do all the rest go? Horse flesh is sold at restaurants and grocery stores, and horse fat or “oil” is used in beauty products.

PETA traveled to Jeju, South Korea, to expose the fate of these American horses and their offspring. PETA eyewitness investigators captured footage of horses at the largest horse slaughterhouse in South Korea on nine dates between April 2018 and February 2019 and were able to identify 22 Thoroughbred racehorses. One was born in the U.S., 19 had American fathers, and 11 had American mothers. They ranged from almost 2 years old to 13 years old when they were slaughtered, with a median age of 4. Here they are, minutes before being killed..

Some of the horses arriving at the slaughterhouse appeared to have come straight off the racetrack; one of them, Cape Magic, arrived on a Monday morning with a huge bandage on his leg. Records showed that he had raced on Friday in Busan—and he was killed less than 72 hours after finishing out of the money… Owned by a family that also operates a horsemeat restaurant, the farm confined dozens of dirty, unkempt horses to small manure-filled pens and stalls. The stench of feces predominated. One thin horse looked gravely ill—she had an ulcerated eye, hair loss, and sores…

At the slaughterhouse, PETA’s investigators were shocked to see workers beating the horses with sticks to get them to turn around and step out of the trucks and through the doorway. The horses huddled together, clearly panicked, as the men whacked them, including in the face… Inside the slaughterhouse, workers prodded horses up chutes and into a kill box designed for cattle. An official with the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency told The Korea Observer, “We knock out horses with the same hammer that we use for cows. Things may get a little messy if they do not pass out at the first blow”…

Part of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA), the KRA tries to gain respect for South Korea as a serious racing nation while also supporting horse-meat consumption. KRA’s chair stated in 2012, “Unlike other livestock raised mostly for eating, horses can meet multiple purposes.… [H]orse meat is good and we will work on ways of encouraging people to eat it in the future.” MAFRA’s recent five-year plan for bolstering the horse industry included promoting “horse meat, cosmetics and other commercial products”.’   SOURCE…

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