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Updated by Rosalie Galvez on Dec 10, 2020
Headline for Are Dead Horses Used To Make Glue?
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Are Dead Horses Used To Make Glue?

Aside from the facts, there are many people that think that a lot of horses are killed every year just to make glue from their bodies. It comes off as a really cruel act, but there is more to the story than just one random statement.


Do We Kill Horses to Make Glue?

The simples answer to the question is yes. Horses contain a large proportion of collagen inside their bodies which is a key ingredient in the production of gelatin- an animal-based glue. It is a perfect glue that is sticky when it is wet and becomes hard when it is completely dried up.


Why Do We Kill Horses for Glue?

When we talk about history, there were times when horses were sent to glue factories when they died. The reason was the amount of collagen present in their bodies which can be turned into gelatin.

As far as the benefits of this type of glue are concerned, it certainly trumps the artificially-made glue in qualities.

Here is the rundown of the qualities of animal-based glue over synthetic one:

• The surfaces can be detached without any residual glue on them.

• A new layer can be applied to the older one easily.

• Corrections can be made by heating the glue and readjusting the surfaces.

• The joint does not bend over time due to rigidity.

As can be seen from above, there are some great advantages that make animal glue a superior material with solid adhesion when compared to its competitors. That is the reason you won’t find such qualities in synthetic glues when you are working with them.

There is a simple experiment that people commonly do where they glue two surfaces to check how difficult it could be to put them back together again once they have torn apart. Again, the reason is the special qualities of this glue which allows us to stick two pieces together without cutting any corners for shape.


Do We Actively Kill Horses to Harvest Glue?

There are some cases where factories kill a perfectly healthy horse just to harvest the glue, but they are very few and sporadic and do not pose threat to the existence of horses as a species. It means there is no immediate danger of horses becoming extinct.

But in general practice, people only use sick and dead animals to harvest material from them. So, there is no need to worry about your horse being taken away and turned into glue. It just doesn’t work that way.

In reality, it is an excellent way to utilize all the useful material inside a dead animal for the benefit of mankind. This allows the animal to serve a higher purpose, even after it cannot live a healthy life.

Maybe, that was the reason the old saying goes: “The horse is taken to the glue fabric”. It was just an expression to say that the animal is no longer alive. Funnily, it wasn’t a thing for much of a concern among people, not too long ago, and part of dead animals used to serve different purposes after they were dead.

They would eat meat and come up with brilliant ideas to convert the bones, teeth, hooves, etc., into useful things, with glue being one of the finished products.


Which Animals Are Mostly Used to Produce Glue?

There are many animals that are used to harvest glue when they die. Some of the most commonly used animals for glue production are as follows:

• Fish

• Horses

• Rabbits

• Cattle

Pro Tip: You can feel collagen on your finger the next time you are treating yourself with a tender piece of chicken. When your fingers stick together, it is because of the collagen present during the cooking process.

In the industry, the major portion of finer glue production owes it to the hooves from horses and cattle, but there is so much glue that is manufactured using fishes and rabbits. Fish glue is a decade old product now and is widely used in glass, ceramics, wood, paper, leather, metals, etc.

The Greek word for collagen is “?????” which literally means glue. These proteins can bond with other materials to make them stick together.


Do We Still Use Horses to Make Glue?

Today, we do not kill as many horses to make glue as we used to, but there are still many factories in the world that use animals on daily basis to manufacture glue.

Canada houses many factories that use dead animals to produce sticky materials that are used in the production of glue.

As we have discussed above, there are many qualities that animal-produced glue has over artificially made glue. That is the primary reason why industries use dead animals, mainly horses, for their production purposes.


Uses of Horse Glue

After discussing the qualities of horse glue, now is the time to discuss the application today.

On a considerable scale, horse glue is used in:

• Repairing broken antiques and retain their original condition.

• Glass Art.

• Woodworking.

• Pipe Organ Assembly.

• Bookbinding.

As you can read from the above list, these uses are highly-specific. The major glue production is artificially-produced to cover other areas. So, there are not a lot of animals killed these days to make glue from their bodies.

To bind wooden surfaces together, hoof glue is usually used which is made from hooves of cattle and horses. It has certain novel qualities that make the task easier and cleaner. You can bind two wooden pieces together using hoof glue without leaving marks. This is significant for those who indulge in finer woodwork like cabinetry, furniture, and other artistic endeavors.

For the better part of its production, horse glue is produced in France and several other European countries. You will also find some manufacturing plants in Canada that use dead animals to produce glue.

In the course of history, the man did not know any other way of producing glue. So, when our ancestors wanted to glue two pieces together, they used collagen from dead animals to do so.

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