Is your horse a vegetarian?

21st December 2012
Beryl Shuttleworth
6 Responses

There is a question on Wikipedia: “Are horses meat eaters or are they vegetarian?”I’m no genius, but this sounds to me like a really stupid question. Meat? Horses are traditionally grass eaters. And grass is not an animal. Therefore horses are vegetarians. Right?

Seriously, although this sounds like THE most obvious statement ever spoken, a lot of people are feeding their horses meat products. For example, most of the Chondroitin sold in South Africa is derived from beef, sharks or shellfish. Yes, animals. Similar story for Glucoseamine. Protein supplements often use blood meal and meat scraps. Hoof supplements often contain gelatine, itself derived from animals’ hooves. And the supplements that contain omega oils usually use fish oil.

Clearly, the manufacturers of these supplements think that this is a harmless practice. Or they justify themselves by saying that the amount of meat product used is small. In comparison, say, to the amount of grass that a horse eats.

Personally, I think it is wrong. Horses are designed to eat plants. This is what they digest best. This is what they utilise most efficiently. We know a lot about the equine digestive system. But we know very, very far from everything. It is probably fair to say that what we know is a fraction of what there is to know.

Bottom line: we don’t know how the long term ingestion of animal products can affect a horse.

I have taken the decision to use only vegetarian raw materials. Even if they cost more.

I am very interested in your views on this. Please feel free to comment below.

6 Responses

  1. As mammals, horses drink milk when young. Not sure I understand the complaint about yoghurt. But their systems, like humans, are designed for milk as children. Then their systems adapt to plants. Humans like to eat baby food their entire lives. Not sure about other mammal species.

    1. I don’t think horses should eat meat derived products, you don’t see horses out in the wild chasing down birds rats or other animals to eat… if it happens that as mentioned by someone else opportunistically who knows what the situation of those you tube horses were. My boys are south african grass eaters and they would stay that way if l can help it. Might solve colic problems if people pay close attention to everything they add to feed their horses…

  2. I totally agree. Was shocked to buy a feed balancer containing animal protein. A friend also suggested and swore blind to the benefits of feeding yoghurt to horses….why i asked as there are products designed for horses and would you as a vegetarian like to be forced to eat meat? Feeding meat in any form to a horse is a definate no i would think and many things like eggs belong in the past with other boere remedies.

  3. The digestive system of a horse is designed for a diet of plants. Having said that ,i don`t think that the quantities of animal products are enough to cause a problem. I know that Super CodlIvine is a very popular product esp in the UK and that is pure fish. When I was a kid a friend owned a pony that had been in the circus and she loved the odd hamburger. Paddy, having once been starving will eat anything. I haven`t tried meat -as a vegan myself why would I, but at a show he stole a toasted cheese and tomato from a friend.
    For me the important thing is that if you are going to feed chondroitin make sure that it is not sourced from sharks.-eg Mobiflex is shark friendly.. I don`t think that it is morally worse to kill a shark than a bovine but ,unfortunately, they are being killed in vast quantities anyway and the harvesting of the cartilage is a buy product.

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