The Truth About Horses and Glue – Facts & History

Last Updated on February 24, 2022 by Allison Price

As a child, I was taught that glue is made from horses. This belief didn’t change once I had my first horse and began learning about horses. Everyone I called “cowboys” spoke of sending bad horses to either the glue factory, or the Alpo factory. After that, I saw white glue in a different light. It was not until many years later that I discovered the truth about note glue’s origins from horses.

History of Glue

Glue was first made from animal collagen, which is found in tissue, skin, and bone. In fact, glue was made from animal collagen for a long time. Animal glue was even found in ancient Egyptian burial graves!

Native Americans made glue from the hides and hooves animals. It was common for ranchers to send horses they didn’t want to glue factories in early America.

This market has been eliminated for the most part as new synthetic glue materials have become available. There are, however, some exceptions that I will mention.

Is your school glue made from horses?

White school glue does not come from horses. Although it used milk as an ingredient in its original formulation, traditional school glue is all synthetic.

Elmer’s Glue’s website clearly states that the product is 100% synthetic (man-made). This should also be true for all white glues.

Most man-made chemicals can be made in a laboratory, which makes them cheaper. Extracting collagen from dead animals takes a long time and is more expensive.

It is also better for the public relations team of glue companies. You don’t want children to think that your glues are made from dead horses when you have millions of them using them.

Are Horses Responsible for Glue?

or is the answer. There is still a market for animal-based glues. These glues are widely used in many industries, but they are most often used in the furniture industry. Other than furniture, animal glues are also used in bookbinding and glass making.

It is possible for some glue to be made from horses, but it is more likely that glues made from animal-based glues are made of cattle. Each year, more cattle are processed in America than horses.

The Truth About Horses and Glue

There are no currently operating horse slaughterhouses in the United States. American horses can be transported to Mexico or Canada to be killed.

There is a possibility that the glue you use is animal-based, such as hide glue or hoof glue. Regular household glue such as glue sticks, glue sticks, and most craft glues can be used.

Why were horses used for glue?

All types of glue made from animal parts use the collagen found in horses. Collagen is the connective tissue of the body. Collagen can be extracted by boiling skin, hooves and bones. Even blood can be used to make glue.

This video is a great explanation of why glue was used on animals in the past, and why it’s not as common today. It’s very fascinating!

What about other animals that can be used for glue?

Any type of animal can be used to make animal-based glue. Despite being the most popular choice, cows are the most commonly used. However, some glues can also be made from rabbit or fish.


Synthetic glues should be used for most glues that people use in their daily lives. This is particularly true for glues used in primary schools. Can glue be made from horses? You can, but it is not likely to be very often.

It is much more practical to make glue from synthetic compounds these days. It’s easier for glue factories making animal-based glues to use cattle than horses.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!