slaughter foals

The catchword “Schlachtfohlen” is closely related to the Noriker breed.
The topic is emotional and polarizing, but we would like to dedicate ourselves to it.
Because it comes up again and again and therefore we have decided to make our personal opinion public. Of course, not everyone has to share this opinion.

Slaughter Foals

The catchword “Schlachtfohlen” is closely related to the Noriker breed. The topic is emotional and polarizing, but we would like to dedicate ourselves to it. Because it comes up again and again and therefore we have decided to make our personal opinion public. Of course, not everyone has to share this opinion.

Horse the farm animal

Noriker belong to a threatened domestic animal race like e.g. also wool pigs. This means that there are only a few animals of this breed globally and certainly has to do with the limited breeding area in Austria. Nevertheless, many Noriker, especially colts, are slaughtered every year. The same happens with Haflingers, Freibergers but also with warmbloods and other horses. Because horses are regarded as farm animals, even if the thought is terrible for many horse lovers. Why are animals eaten? First of all, you have to check yourself: do I eat beef, pork or chicken? Why do I do that? Because it tastes good to me? Because I don’t know anything else? The same goes for people who have always had a normal intake of horse meat. Because of their sex, almost all farm animals require only a small number of male representatives for breeding and the rest is slaughtered accordingly. This is also the main reason for the slaughter of Noriker foals. In comparison with other breeds not so many Noriks are bred. For the fewest breeders on site it is “profitable” to raise foals, to train them, to provide them with everything they need to sell them as an adult horse only for a low price. This is reinforced by the “Slaughter horse image”. This is how Noriker foals become livestock and slaughtered.

EU subsidies

There are many voices that attribute the overproduction of foals to EU subsidies. This subsidises the reproduction of endangered breeds. It is of course meaningless if these are then killed. However, this subsidy does not even cover the costs for a breeding jump, let alone the further care of the mare and the foal. This payment may not be really effective, but certainly not the reason why people breed Noricians. Rather, in Austria this is part of the culture to have Noriker and his offspring in the stable. In addition there are these subsidies also for other animal species. According to this logic there should then also be an “overproduction” of wool pigs, Rhineland German cold-blooded animals etc..

“Slaughter Foal Markets”

In Austria, but also in Bavaria and other places, horse auctions usually take place in autumn, which are now generally called slaughter foal markets. However, the term is misleading and implies for outsiders that only animals for slaughter are auctioned on these markets. But that is not really the purpose of the market. Rather, it is intended for breeders or for people who want to buy a horse. Due to the above-mentioned manageable demand and the livestock situation, it is indeed the case that many horses are bought up by the slaughter dealer. However, this happens every day with other farm animals, for which there is a much smaller lobby. It should be condemned that some of the foals sold are too young.


Also for us, who really love the Noriker horses and appreciate the advantages of this breed, it is hard to bear the thought that many correct and wonderful horses are condemned to death. But what to do about it? Rescue at any cost? Yes and no. We would also like to achieve that less Noriker end up with the butcher, but with people who like us also enjoy this horse breed as a partner. However, we are of the opinion that this cannot be achieved by starting rescue operations without any plan and continuing to support the scheme with the emotional drone “otherwise butchers”.
Many dubious salesmen already discovered that one can obtain better prices with this pressure means. Serious breeders are aware of the value of the animal and do not threaten slaughter or possibly give ultimatums of a few days.

It’s perfectly ok to charge an amount above the usual slaughter price for a Noriker foal, but you can’t argue with slaughter. In addition, reducing the Noriker to “Battle Horse” is not really a suitable way to market this breed and support breeding. In addition there are people who fall into blind actionism due to compassion and continue to drive the spiral of slaughter threats. We are therefore in a real Dilemma.

Animal protection campaigns have saved the lives of many great foals and made the Noriker better known beyond the Austrian borders. There are now also happy Noriker owners in Germany and neighbouring countries who automatically advertise the breed with their horses. Great people who have embarked on an adventure with a breed unknown to them, which they have usually not regretted. This is a good basis to stimulate demand.

However, it also favors that dubious multipliers smell the fast money and business with the slaughter foals. This, in turn, is a negative development for the breed. Noriker horses are much more than just battle horses.

We are of the opinion: Rescue yes, but with brains. An understanding of the local people and their culture in relation to horses is the basis. To support reputable breeders who breed with brains, give them an incentive to raise, train or keep the animals longer is sustainable animal protection work. If it can be achieved that breeders recognize the potential of the breed for sport and leisure beyond the breeding and markets and are willing to breed for this and at the same time learn that threats cannot make the big killing in the long run, we have saved Noriker the most.

Serious Noriker breeders

Over the last years and our work we have got to know serious breeders and Noriker people whom we can recommend to you if you are looking for a Noriker:

Norikerzucht Ketzerlehen: small but fine Noriker breed in the Salzburger Land with the focus on chestnut.

Elmaugut: Noriker breeding at the foot of the Hochkönig in the most beautiful holiday area. Here, too, the focus is on the chestnut colouring.

Norikerzucht Kubny: Noriker breeding and mediation in Remtschwiel, Baden-Württemberg. Competent advice with heart. Fokus on Tiger and Pinto colouring.

Postgut Tweng: Noriker breed of the family Klary with a great hotel in the middle of the holiday area Obertauern. Here the focus is on blue roan.

Norikerzucht Katzensteiner: small Noriker breed with a lot of heart and mind.