is glue made from horses

is glue made from horses

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Recently, when my granddaughter and I were enjoying the pasture with our horses, she said, “Why in the world would we murder horses to create glue?” I conducted some research since I was unsure of how to respond.

Some types of glues are made from horses. Horses are a great source of collagen, which is utilized to manufacture animal glues because of their size. Selling horses, however, with the aim of killing them for glue or any other commercial endeavor is prohibited.

If you’ve been around the horse industry, it is likely that you’ve heard talk about horses sent to glue factories. But is it true? Are horses slaughtered and used as glue?

glue, l’illustration européenne, 1870, no. 41, p. 328, by loki11

Horses glue

For thousands of years, horse glue has been in use. There are historical records that show it was utilized by Egyptians, who would boil animal hides, hooves, and connective tissue to make a bonding agent. They mostly utilized adhesive for royal furniture and papyrus scrolls.

In more recent times, horses have been used to make glue for musical instruments and other items. Horses are often used as glue because of their size and abundance of connective tissue.

You may use this tissue to create an extremely powerful adhesive. Horses that were too old or too sick to work were often “sent to the glue factory,” so using them for glue is a way to make use of a product that would otherwise go to waste. Today, synthetic adhesives are used much more often than animal glue.

How are horses made into glue?

When I was standing next to one of our horses, I realized just how massive these animals are. I began to wonder how humans had used them as glue throughout history after coming to this conclusion.

Animals must undergo a process of chemical breakdown and moisture extraction in order to produce adhesives. The main body parts used to make glue from a horse are the hide, bones, muscles, tendons, and hoofs.

To make adhesives from a horse:

  • Collection Commercial glue producers assemble animal parts from butcheries, farms, meatpacking facilities, and tanneries;
  • Wash The recovered body parts are cleaned, the dirt is taken off, and everything is soaked to make the fragments pliable.
  • Soak : Next, the hides and other parts are put in a series of water baths with more and more lime in them. The addition of lime makes the substance swell and degrade.
  • Rinse Rinse all of the material with water and mild acids to remove the lime;
  • Color: Add a color additive to the mix.
  • Drying : Water is extracted to harden the glue.

You may use the following method to create adhesives from hoofs or bones:

Hooves are constructed of a softer inner substance and a rigid outer shell. This inner material, known as cartilage, is full of collagen, which is what gives glue its adhesive properties.

Horse hooves must first be cooked in water in order to remove the collagen. Collagen can now be isolated from the rest of the hoof thanks to the breakdown of the connective tissue. Here is how it works:

  • Collect the hooves, and wash;
  • Break them into small chunks;
  • Boil them in water until liquefied;
  • Add acid to thicken into a gel;
  • Cool and allow to harden;
  • The hoof glue should be heated until it reaches the desired consistency before being applied with a brush.
Picture of a horse standing still in a pasture.

What kind of glue is made from horses?

I was thinking about the several kinds of glue created from horses while I used a glue gun to adhere some decorative items to a shadow box.

Animal glue   is dissolvable in water, and it is slow binding, applied hot, and commonly put in place with a brush. A hard block of certain animal glue is preserved.

Water-soluble adhesives, such as animal glues, are useful on items that may need to be separated at some point. For simple separation, the bonding agent may be treated with steam or alcohol.

To prepare the adhesives, break them into chips and mix them with hot water until melted. Once the chips have melted, boil them for the specified amount of time.

The adhesive may be applied in layers by brush or spatula, and it doesn’t provide waterproof protection. You may purchase cover adhesive for use on musical instruments. here .

Animal parts have been used in the production of adhesives for thousands of years. In excess of 10,000 years ago, the first bows used glue made from hoofs. The earliest writings referencing liquid animal glue are 2000 years old.

Animal glue was a necessary component of building for thousands of years. furniture . In the 1700s, the Dutch opened the first commercial animal glue factory in Holland.

Until a synthetic alternative was found in the 20th century, animal adhesives were still being used to assemble furniture.

Even now, certain specialized applications, like piano repairs, still employ horse glue. bookbinding , antique restoration, and medical procedures . A paste made from a horse’s hoofs is used today in cabinetry and exceptional woodworking projects.


Adhesives have been around since 4000 B.C.

Since the prehistoric era, adhesives have existed. Pottery repaired When examining a burial site from 4000 B.C., investigators discovered glue made from tree sap.

Egyptians used animal glue in tombs.

Animal-based adhesives were originally used by the Egyptians about 1500 B.C. The casket of King Tut was constructed with animal glue. Casein adhesives were also created by the Egyptians using milk.

Early literature described the use of adhesives to Egyptian Pharaohs’ tomb furniture . And besides its use on tomb furniture, our ancestors used it on bowstrings , fastening cloth to wood, making the fabric rigid, and  creating lacquers  to protect valuable furniture and other objects.

Romans used animal adhesives in art.

From roughly 1 to 500 A.D., the Romans improved animal adhesives. They discovered how to make adhesives out of milk, bone, hide, and blood. These adhesives were used in wood veneering and the arts.

However, between 500 and 1500 A.D., few people outside of Europe utilized animal glue. In Holland, the first factory for making glue was established in 1690. The firm used animal skins to produce its adhesives.

The first adhesives patent was granted in England in the mid-1700s. Early 1900s plastic advancements sparked a rebirth of resin adhesives . With the new synthetic resins, animal glue use dropped drastically.

Picture of a sorrel horse with a flaxen mane.

Are Horses Killed to Make Glue?

When I first got into the horseracing industry, some owners sold their former racehorses at auctions. I made the decision to research whether or not these horses were being transported to glue factories.

You don’t murder horses to create glue. It’s against U.S. law to sell horses to be commercially slaughtered for any purpose. In 2007 a federal law was passed banning horse slaughter in the U.S. The last three horse slaughterhouses closed their doors the same year.

The 2007 prohibition has been extended over time and is still in force today. The most recent renewal had the bipartisan support of Congress and was part of President Trump’s infrastructure bill.

Before the passing of the ban, the horse slaughterhouse business was thriving. Although eating horse meat is not encouraged in the United States, although it is popular in Europe and Asia.

The ban has supporters in the animal protection community, but they also don’t believe the law goes far enough. They want to prevent horses from being transported to slaughterhouses outside of the nation.

Transporting horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter is a lucrative industry. They are known as “kill buyers.” They only acquire horses at auctions with the intention of selling them to slaughterhouses.

The Humane Society of the United States says that over 100,000 horses are purchased at auctions solely for the intention of being transported to slaughterhouses outside the United States.

The Safeguard American Food Exports Act  if implemented in 2019, horse slaughterhouse sales would halt. The measure proposes to end the transport of any equine abroad to be slaughtered for human consumption, and it would also ensure that slaughter plants in the U.S. remain closed.

However, there are many who oppose the measure and have a compelling case. The American Veterinary Medical Association is concerned about what will happen to horses no longer wanted if horse owners cannot sell them for meat..

Equine neglect cases are increasing, hay prices have increased, and horse rescues are now at capacity. Proponents believe a swift death at a slaughterhouse is preferable to a horse being abused or starving to death.

To read more about horse abuse, read our article here , and if you are interested in rescuing a retired racehorse, check out our article. The materials in both papers may be used to promote better care of horses.

Picture of white horses in a field.

What products are made from horses?

Knowing that horses may be used to produce glue piqued my interest in finding out whether additional items were derived from horses.

Paintbrushes, jewelry, and violin bowstrings are all made from horse hair. These products are made using the animal’s long tail, mane hair, and humane collection methods.

  • Violin bowstrings : Horsehair from the tail of a horse is used to make strings on a violin’s bows. Compared to synthetic materials, horsehair produces a better sound. Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber Violin Bow is a violin bow made of horsehair that Amazon sells.
  • Jewelry Some bracelets and necklaces are crafted from a horse’s mane or tail hair.
  • Paintbrushes: Horsehair brushes are preferred by certain artists over synthetic ones. They believe horsehair paintbrushes have superior qualities, such as holding paint better and applying smoother.

Is Elmer’s glue made from horses?

So my granddaughter and I discussed horse glue pretty thoroughly, but she still had a question about Elmer’s glue. She was curious whether horses were used to make the glue. So I showed her the answer to that straight from Elmer’s Company. They are commonly questioned the following:

“Elmer’s does not employ horses, other animals, or animal products in the manufacture of glue. Our items are created from synthetic materials rather than using horse, cow, or other animal products in their production. Although there are various components required to manufacture glue, polymers are often included in most recipes.

Is Gorilla Glue made from horses or gorillas?

Gorilla glue has a humorous name and a gorilla image on the label. Does this imply that the glue is created from a horse, a gorilla, or any other kind of animal? I made the decision that I needed to know the answer before my granddaughter did.

Horses, gorillas, or any other animal are not used in the production of Gorilla Glue. Gorilla Glue is a polyurethane-based polyurethane glue that was used primarily outside the U.S. in the woodworking industry.

It was discovered in 1994 and introduced to the US as Gorilla Glue. At first, they solely marketed their goods to furniture manufacturers. In 1999, it became accessible to the general public.

A YouTube movie about the evolution of adhesives is provided below.


What part of the horse is used for glue?

The main elements of the horse’s body utilized to manufacture glue are the skins, bones, muscles, tendons, and hoofs.

Do horses still go to the glue factory?

When did we stop using horses for glue?

Prior to the early 20th century, glue was often made using horses. However, horses are rarely used for this purpose today because there are synthetic options available that are cheaper and more effective.

chestnut.filly scaled

I adore animals. I’ve spent the most of my life with animals in general, but horses in particular, and I want to share what I’ve learned with others. I have bought, sold, and broke racehorse yearlings. I’ve had some successful horses that I’ve grown, and I’ve also had others that weren’t successful as racehorses, so we trained them in other sports.

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