Does Glue Come From Horses? Interesting Facts

I agree, the title of this article screams, ‘So, I’ve reached that side of the internet again.’ Yet, you would be amazed that horses being turned into commercial glue isn’t a myth but a fact. What’s more important is that it still takes place to this very day.

Are Horses Killed to Make Glue?

If you think that this is a primitive and archaic method of making glue, well, you’re completely right. The oldest discovered manmade glue dates back 8,000 years, which is right towards the end of the Stone Age. It wasn’t just horses that met this faith, but cattle, pigs, rabbits, and others. Although to be fair, horses were prevalent since people used the other animals for more immediate and more important needs, like food.

But what makes horses so special? The answer is collagen, although this is not a unique characteristic, only appliable to horses. All living beings have various levels of collagen, which is a protein with certain elastic characteristics. Collagen is present in various body organs, primarily in joints, muscles, and tendons.

But, coming back to the initial question – Are horses killed to make glue? The answer is both yes and no. Glue factories sometimes kill horses in perfect shape since horse meat wasn’t meant for human consumption. This practice changed over time to the point where only sick, injured, or dying horses would go to glue factories.

In other situations, the horse would be used in many different ways after death. The horse’s meat, for instance, was used to feed bloodhounds or big cats in zoos. Only the hide, bones, and hooves were used for glue since those contained higher collagen levels.

How is Glue Made From Horses?

The most common glue coming from horses or other animals is hide glue. The animal’s hide undergoes a specific preparation process to extract the collagen via several simple steps. These include:

  • Washing and cleaning – The hide and other soft body parts will be washed and cleaned to remove all dirt. The washed-up parts will then go through a soaking process to soften them. This process involves placing the horse parts in lime baths since lime will cause the matter to swell and break down easier.
  • Rinsing and coloring – The lime is removed from the material with water after the soaking process is complete. Colors will then be added to the composition as necessary.

When it comes to harder body parts like hooves and bones, the process is a bit different. The steps involved are:

  • Collecting the hooves, bones, and joints necessary and wash them thoroughly to remove the dirt
  • Break the body parts into smaller chunks
  • Boil them until all the gelatin is extracted
  • Add acid to thicken the composition

You can save the resulting mix for as long as you need it in solid form. You can easily use just a bit by cutting a piece and heating it to turn liquid. You can then use a brush to apply it to your desired area and save the rest for later; it is a smooth and straightforward process that everyone can follow.

What Glue is Made From Horses?

The 20th century has brought about significant changes in the glue’s composition, resilience, and expiration date. Modern glue is artificial and no longer contains any animal parts. That’s partly because artificial glue is better, has a longer shelf life, and is easier to keep and use.

So, no, Elmer’s glue doesn’t contain horses or any other animals. There are, however, some glue manufacturers that will still rely on animal-based glues. They will only use dying or dead animals for their products, but, as a general rule, dying horses will end up in a slaughterhouse to feed zoo carnivores, among other uses.

How Much Glue Does One Horse Make?

Since we’re talking about times long gone, there is a lot of debate on the issue. You will find answers like “it takes three horses to get a tablespoon of glue,” which is obviously bogus. Horses are generally large, muscular animals with massive tendons and joints. They contain a lot of collagen and will, subsequently, produce significant amounts of glue.

If you would’ve needed three horses for a tablespoon-worth of glue, the entire industry wouldn’t have appeared in the first place. The good news is that horses are no longer necessary for the glue industry or any animal for that matter.

Are Horses Still Used Today to Make Glue?

No, they are not. Synthetic glue has overtaken the glue business, being more reliable, easy to use, easier to preserve, and with a longer expiration date. There was a time when animals were essential for the industry since farmers had no synthetic substitute to rely on.

Despite not contributing to the glue business anymore, horses are still useful post-mortem even today. Their meat now feeds zoo animals, bloodhounds and is even accepted in numerous restaurants across the globe. It is our way of respecting the animal that has served us every day while it was alive; nothing should go to waste.

Is Elmer’s Glue Made of Horses?

No, Elmer’s glue doesn’t contain any horse products, nor do any relevant glue companies today. They now rely on high-end polymers to create their products, which are more reliable than any animal-based products.

You can purchase Elmer’s glue with peace of mind, knowing that no horse had to die for it. In fact, you will have to do some serious digging to find out glue companies that still rely on animal by-products.

Is Jello Made Out of Horses?

Imagine thinking that a widespread commercial desert is made out of animal hides and body parts, boiled to extract the necessary collagen to turn into gelatin. It sounds actually outrageous. Yet, it’s true.

The main ingredient in Jell-O consists of animal hide and bone, coming primarily from cows, pigs, and cattle. Horses are included as well. The manufacturers will boil the necessary body parts to extract the collagen, process it, and mix it with sweeteners, colorants, and other necessary ingredients.

The result is a flappy and delicious desert whose main ingredient is dead animal body parts. Enjoy!


The entire glue manufacturing industry comes with a, let’s say, colored history behind it. Whatever the situation may have been several centuries ago, there’s no need to worry anymore. Horses and other animals are no longer used to make glue.

They are, however, used to make desserts and other products that you have no idea contain animal parts, so we still have that, I guess.

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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