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Is Dog Food Made From Horse Meat? Facts & Myths Explained

Is Dog Food Made From Horse Meat? Facts & Myths Explained

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Many horse lovers also happen to be dog lovers as well. As a dog owner, you probably heard the rumor that certain dog food contains horse meat.

This may cause a moral dilemma as you want your dog to eat a healthy diet but don’t want any horses to be killed for meat in the process.

In an age where ingredient transparency is paramount, understanding the truth behind this claim is crucial for every responsible pet parent.

This guide meticulously dives into the composition of dog food, exploring industry practices, the history of ingredients sourcing, and the reality behind the inclusion (or exclusion) of horse meat.

Is Dog Food Made From Horse Meat?

Reputable dog food made in America does not contain any horse meat. While horse meat once was a primary ingredient in dog food, it is no longer used as an ingredient.

According to the Equine Protection Network, pet food companies in the United States can not use horse meat to make dog food. While horse meat is not used for dog food in America by reputable companies, the same can not be said for other countries.

Is Horse Meat Legal in Dog Food in Other Countries?

Horse meat is legal in dog food in some countries, including Canada, the European Union, and Mexico. However, there are some countries where horse meat is illegal for human consumption, such as the United Kingdom and Australia.

The History of Horse Meat in Dog Food

Horse meat was once the primary ingredient in dog food. During the 1920s, slaughterhouses opened up pet food companies in order to use up horse meat. Horse meat remained a major ingredient of dog food throughout the 1940s.

Horses were slaughtered in America for meat up until 2007 when Congress banned horse slaughter for human consumption. Meat from slaughtered horses was primarily shipped off to Asian and European countries.

While slaughtering horses is no longer legal in America for human consumption, kill buyers will buy horses at auctions and ship them off to Canada or Mexico to be slaughtered.

The ban had since lapsed in 2011, however, no money has been allocated for the funding of USDA inspections. In 2021, a ban on horse slaughter passed the House of Representatives as part of the transportation and infrastructure package. However, the progress of the bill has since stalled despite support.

While slaughtering horses is illegal for human consumption in America, there are still places in the country that slaughter horses for animal consumption. Bravo Packaging in New Jersey slaughters horses for exotic animal food, such as tigers, and cows for dog food.

Bravo Packaging has faced backlash for its inhumane treatment of animals. The company has also faced legal issues for unsanitary conditions as well.

As of today, pet food companies in America have replaced horse meat with other animals. According to Marion Nestle, pet food companies in the United States don’t use horse meat partially out of fear it would discourage customers from buying their product.

While the Association of Animal Feed Control Officials does not explicitly forbid the use of horse meat in pet food, no reputable dog food company uses horse meat in its products.

Evanger’s Pet Food Lawsuit

In 2017, Evanger’s Pet Food issued a recall after their product “Hunk of Beef” canned dog food was discovered to contain horse meat and the drug pentobarbital. Pentobarbital is commonly used for euthanizing animals.

Four dogs became sick because of the contaminated food, with one dog dying as a result. Evanger’s declared a $20 million lawsuit against Bailey Farms LLC, claiming the company sold them beef that was contaminated with horse meat that contained traces of pentobarbital.

The meat Evanger’s Pet Food purchased was labeled as “inedible hand-boned beef” and was not supposed to contain any horse meat.

Since the incident, Evanger’s has ceased all business with Bailey Farms LLC. Evanger’s has charged Bailey Farms LLC with a breach of contract for selling them horse meat while claiming it to be beef.

Most Common Ingredients in Dog Food

Today, the most common ingredients used in dog food include chicken, beef, turkey, lamb, and salmon. Some brands of dog food will also use venison and bison as well.

In addition to meat, dog food also often contains many other ingredients including vegetables and grains.

Other common ingredients found in dog food include grain, rice bran, corn, soybean meal, sweet potato, and beet pulp. Dog food will contain fats, oils, sodium, chloride, vitamins, and minerals for a balanced diet.

If you are unsure which food is right for your dog it is best to consult with a veterinarian. Not all dog foods are created equally so it is important to choose a quality brand that offers the nutrition your dog needs.

It is always a good idea to read the label of your dog’s food so you know what your dog is consuming.