Killing horses

Q: At a horsemanship training center there are some horses which need to be gotten rid of, either due to old age or defects that prevent them from being fit for training. These horses are usually shot dead. Is this permissible or not?

A: It is permissible to eat the meat of horses according to the most preferable view held by Imam Ahmad, his disciples, and other scholars who agreed with them. It is narrated in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) on the authority of Jabir ibn `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with them both) who said: Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) prohibited eating the meat of domestic asses on the battle of Khaybar and permitted eating the meat of horses. It is also narrated in the Two Sahih on the authority of Asma' that she said: "While we were in Madinah, we slaughtered a horse and ate it during the lifetime of Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him). According to another narration related by Al-Daraqutny: A horse was about to die, so we slaughtered it and ate it. It was authentically reported that it is permissible to eat the meat of horses. Therefore, it is not permissible to shoot them unless they cannot be controlled at the time they are slaughtered. If there exists no excuse that prevents slaughter, the horses will have to be slaughtered according to the proper Islamic manner of slaughtering which involves laying the animal down easily and slaughtering it in a gentle manner. If the meat of the slaughtered horse (Part No. 26; Page No. 189) proves to be healthy, it can be offered as food for Muslims. If people refuse to eat it, it can be fed to lions and other wild animals. However, if the meat proves to be unhealthy, it should be discarded in a safe manner.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.