More than 90% of BEEF readers reject the U.S. ban on horse slaughter and believe it is bad for both horses and horse owners. That was the overwhelming result of an email survey sent to 20,000 BEEF subscribers last Friday that posed the question: "As a beef producer, do you favor the U.S. ban on horse slaughter?"

Of 1,443 total responses (a 7.2% response rate), 90.5% disapproved of the ban, while just 4.9% favored the ban. Another 4.7% indicated they "didn't know."

Those results contrast sharply with a weeklong online poll conducted Nov. 4-11 on beefmagazine.com. That poll posed the same question but was open to any visitor to the website and allowed voters to vote multiple times. Proponents of the horse-slaughter ban made much of the results of that unscientific online poll, which drew more than 2,100 total responses, and indicated 55% of respondents favoring the ban. Proponents claimed it was proof that U.S. beef producers favored the ban on horse slaughter.

"These latest survey results, which indicate 90% of BEEF readers reject the ban, make it pretty obvious where the sentiments of bona fide beef producers lie on the slaughter ban issue," says Scott Grau, BEEF research director. "It also indicates that the results of the earlier online poll were stacked to a large extent by activists trying to elevate their claim to the media of widespread support among livestock producers for the ban on horse slaughter."

Here are the results of the two surveys:

Survey of BEEF readers (emailed Nov. 11) – 1,443 total responses:
As a beef producer, do you favor the U.S. ban on horse slaughter?

  • Yes, it's inhumane and people shouldn't be eating horses – 4.9%
  • No, the ban is bad for both horses and horse owners – 90.5%
  • Don't know – 4.7%

Online survey at beefmagazine.com (Nov. 4-11) – 2,100 total responses:
As a beef producer, do you favor the U.S. ban on horse slaughter?

  • Yes, it's inhumane and people shouldn't be eating horses – 55%
  • No, the ban is bad for both horses and horse owners – 44%
  • Don't know – 0%