Horse Slaughter Trends Across Borders – Google Trends Analysis


Magnifying GlassWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

As a result of their market domination, Google has become more of an institution than a search engine. Therefore, Google’s search data is incredibly indicative of public opinion and interests. Google Trends is an application that’s particularly useful as a timely, robust, and sensitive surveillance system. While it is useful to advertisers looking to create keywords to market their products, we can also use it to create charts that show how often horse slaughter issues and phrases are searched for over time by all Google users interested in acquiring more information on this subject.

An analysis of the term “horse slaughter” in Google Trends shows us how popular the search term is currently as well as in the recent past. I’ve compared the stats from 2004 to 2014 year-to-date for the United States (blue), Canada (gold), and the United Kingdom (red).  Initially I compared these countries to France, Japan, Switzerland, Mexico and China, expecting to see some tangible increase over time yet Google Trends yielded no measurable activity.

From the chart we can see that horse slaughter in the US was trending long before the United Kingdom or Canada, which began trending mid-2007 and 2008 respectively. The uptick in slaughter keyword trending activity in Canada began a few years after the launch of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition in 2004, and seems to be linked to that group’s 2008 publication of Black Beauty Betrayed, an Early Investigation at Natural Valley Farms, and the issue of Illegal Dumping of Horse Blood at Natural Valley Farms.

horse slaughter stats

Click on the graph for a link to the live data


Key points in the graph also register the heightened activity in the US and Canada due to:

  • House votes on horse slaughter in the US (2006)
  • Anti-horse slaughter bills advancing in Congress (2007)

There was a huge spike in late 2011 likely due to:

  • The US “ban” on domestic horse slaughter being lifted when Congress passed, when Obama signed into law a USDA spending bill that reinstated federal funding for inspection of horse meat intended for human consumption
  • Developing interest in Rick De Los Santos horse slaughter plant in New Mexico
  • Valley Meats first application for a grant of inspection with the USDA in December
  • The CHDC releasing footage and photos obtained by an anonymous source at Les Viandes de la Petite-Nation in St. Andre-Avellin Quebec (Pasture to Plate)

Also note the increased interest in horse slaughter search terms as a result of the horse meat adulteration scandal in the EU (January – March 2013)

Currently we see that horse slaughter as a keyword search appears to be tapering off in 2013 and 2014 YTD, perhaps due to the cessation of slaughter in the US, the subsiding interest in the horse meat adulteration in Great Britain, and the failure of the anti-slaughter bills in Canada.  At the present time,  interest in “horse slaughter” as a keyword appears to be in decline relative to the heightened activity from 2006 – early 2013.



About heatherclemenceau

Hopefully as I've grown older I've also grown wiser, but one thing I've definitely become cognizant of is the difference between making a living and making a life. Frequently outraged by some of life's cruelties, and respect diversity. But.....I don't suffer fools gladly, and occasionally, this does get me into some trouble! I have the distinction of being the world's worst golfer - no wait, I do believe that there is a gypsy in Moldavia who is a worse golfer than I. Nor am I much of a dancer - you won't see a booty-shakin' flygirl routine from me! I'm also not the kind of cook who can whip up a five-course meal on a radiator either! And I've never figured out how to get an orchid to bloom a second time. I love to discuss literature, science, philosophy, and sci-fi , or even why Seinfeld is funny on so many levels. Words move me. I'm very soft-hearted about most things, especially animals, but I have a stoicism about me that is sometimes interpreted incorrectly. I do have a definite edge and an often "retro-adolescent" sense of humour at times. I'm a big advocate of distributed computing projects to advance science. Check out if you want to find out more. I'm an eclectic plant-based eater, and as such, it's a personal practice of mine to seduce innocent meat-eaters into cruising the (salad) bars at every opportunity. You would be powerless to resist. I was recently surprised to find that a computer algorithm concluded that I write like Dan Brown, which is funny because I didn't think Dan Brown could actually write. Check out your own style - Oh, and I love impractical shoes and funky hats.

7 responses »

  1. Wondering…could it be that since lots more people are sharing what they find with lots more people there is less likely to be more people searching for what they want to know — or could it be that social media such as facebook and twitter have had a big impact on what people see so there is less of a need to search for it on google?

    • It’s possible – in 2006/2007 Facebook started to become popular and more horse groups sprang up on that platform. Since May 2012, Facebook lets users promote posts and there was a slowdown in organic search results around that time. I’m finding that even in the larger FB groups, there seem to be fewer posts related to slaughter. Or maybe that’s just my interpretation.

      But Google will always excel at something Facebook can’t do—give users relevant info instantly to share with friends. Because Facebook has no search engine, its users must leave the site to find shareable data or wait for their friends the share it with them.

  2. Twitter has an outstanding group of folks of all ages and from all over the World. They do what they say they will do. Google is not the ‘be all and end all’ of data from all sources. I do not have a Facebook account due to its commercialization, claiming rights to photographs and films posted on Users pages. My photographs and films are mine and if I want to share them with certain people I will.

    Twitter has campaigns to end Dog and Cat Slaughter in Asia, ending the Mexican Goring of horses by Bulls trained to charge the frightened horses and eviscerate them. Facebook allows pages such as ‘I Hate Dogs’ and things of that ilk. They take zero responsibility for allowing photos taken in chronological order of dogs and cats being starved and tortured to death. It is a foul site and I want nothing to do with it.

    We have the same people who are all animal haters and it is seemingly legitimized by the US Department of the Interior and the US Department of Agriculture. Horses are being shipped out of Delaware for a weeks long journey by Sea to RUSSIA! We have a statute that prevents this but nobody remembers what it is! I do, but who listens to me? I should just give up.

      • Oh Heather, I know you have fantastic research and analytic skills! I was just stating that Twitter is an excellent source of information. For example, in Mexico they have trained Bulls to Gore horses to death. The Eviscerated horses are left on the ground to die while their entrails are pulled out of their bodies. Since this happens in one area of the Country only, the President of Mexico sees no reason to stop it.

        I rescue horses, mostly off track Thoroughbreds, but I also rescue any breed besides. It seems the Thoroughbreds find me which is why I have rescued so many of them since 1995. I am truly ill when I see what happens to horses both domestic and Wild as well as the Wolves. I have had 2 Wolves in my life and both were dumped at the Dog Pound. They were amazing animals and posed no danger to my dog and cat. The Cat ruled the Roost and the dog bonded with the first Wolf and considered herself a Lupine. I fight as much as I can but am temporarily sidelined due to a back injury. I need to have the Discs Lazed off so I don’t feel the pain! I can still ride the scary Thoroughbreds because they trust me and I trust them.

        Your Blog is great and I never miss an issue! Thanks for the great information!

  3. I am almost continuously researching horse slaughter, and all it entails, in my attempt to be on top of the arguments. I rarely use google to find what I am looking for, though. The more immersed into a topic one becomes, the more resourceful one becomes without the use of Google perhaps? I have developed a list of resources for myself that I use, and those resources regularly lead me to others. Google does not even factor into my online work.

    • This is also only one keyword as well. How many people search under different, more specific keywords? I also have over 50 Google Alerts set up on various keywords, and there really isn’t a tool (that I’m aware of) that replaces this…

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