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Are Horses Killed to Make Glue? Here’s What You Need to Know!

Dean Eby

May 25, 2021

There is an old myth that horses are used to make glue, especially when they get old. However, while this may have been true at one point or another, it is not the case today. Historically, glue was made from collagen, which is found in joints, hooves, and bones. This has been going on for thousands of years – since glue was invented.

Today, glue is still made out of animal-based ingredients, though synthetics are available as well. There are many different sources of glue today. In this article, we’ll look at the ways glue is made in modern times, which typically doesn’t involve horses in most cases!

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Is Glue Still Made from Animal-Based Ingredients?

cow hooves_aodaodaodaod_Shutterstock
Image Credit: aodaodaodaod, Shutterstock

No, not typically. It can be. There is no law against it. Most of the time, when animal ingredients are used, it is cow hooves. These hooves are usually sourced from cows that are slaughtered for food. The hooves obviously aren’t eaten, so they are used to make glue instead. Hooves contain quite a bit of collagen, so you can make a decent amount of glue.

Fish and various hides can also be used. Again, it’s the waste parts that are typically utilized. Hides aren’t eaten, so some slaughterhouses will sell them to make glue.

Horses are rarely used. They aren’t slaughtered particularly often since eating horse meat is illegal. That isn’t to say that horses are never used since they can be. However, this will be much rarer, as the ingredients will likely be unnecessarily expensive.

What are Glues Usually Made From?

glue_Piqsels
:Image Credit: Piqsels

Typically, most glues today are chemical-based. Elmer’s glues, as well as most white glues, are made completely from chemical components, not animals. Brands will usually list what they use in their glues on their website. So, if you’re particularly against the use of animal parts, you can check before making your purchase.

These chemical products include petroleum, natural gas, and raw materials. The exact formulas are usually not given, as they are proprietary to the company.

This may be better or worse, depending on how you look at it. On the one hand, the cow is dead anyway, so making glue out of the hooves is simply using all of the animal’s body. There are no animals that are particularly killed to make glue. They’re killed mostly for their meat. No horses are killed for making glue, especially. That would be far more expensive than using chemical replacements.

The chemical components don’t use any dead animal parts, of course. However, they can be environmentally damaging. It depends mostly on the chemicals used, but most companies do not give out this information to the public. Plus, this glue is typically lower-quality than options that are made of animal parts. Therefore, higher-quality glues contain animal parts, while lower-quality options are made from chemicals almost exclusively.

Where is Animal-Derived Glue Used?

glue_PRILL_Shutterstock
Image Credit: PRILL, Shutterstock

You find animal-derived glue most commonly in certain industries. This is because the qualities of actual collagen are hard to reproduce and especially important in certain situations. The most common industries that use animal-derived glue are glass art, woodworking, pipe organs, and bookbinding. If you purchase glue for one of these purposes, it probably comes from an animal.

Hoof glue is particularly used for wooden surfaces. It has very specific properties that make it very useable on wood. For instance, this sort of glue won’t leave a stain on wood when used. This is important for art projects that involve cabinetry and wooden furniture.

Where is Animal-Derived Glue Made?

Usually, these sorts of glues are made in Europe. France is one of the major producers. There are several factories in Canada as well.

There are extremely few factories in the United States that use dead animals to make glue.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Dean Eby

An avid outdoorsman, Dean spends much of his time adventuring through the diverse terrain of the southwest United States with his closest companion, his dog, Gohan.  He gains experience on a full-time journey of exploration. For Dean, few passions lie closer to his heart than learning.  An apt researcher and reader, he loves to investigate interesting topics such as history, economics, relationships, pets, politics, and more.