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Are horse parts used to make glue? Exploring the past and present

Maybe you’re familiar with the old adage “sending retired horses to the glue factory”, if you are, you might be curious about the relationship between horses and glue. Glue is a common household item that we use for purposes like repairing broken objects to crafting projects. But have you ever thought about the origins of glue and whether horse parts are used to produce it? In this article, we will delve into the history of glue-making and explore whether animal-based glues, particularly those derived from horses, are still being used today.

Historical use of horse parts in glue production

There is no doubt that a lot of barbaric practices were the norm. Due to ignorance and lack of resources in the past, horse parts were indeed utilised in the manufacturing of glue. Animal-based glues have been in use for centuries due to their adhesive properties and availability. Horse parts like hooves, bones and hides were common raw materials used in the production processes.

Part of the process involved extracting collagen by boiling these horse parts. Collagen is a type of protein found abundantly in animal tissues. It originates from the Greek word kola, which means glue. The collagen was then processed further to create gelatin, which served as a key ingredient in making glue. This traditional method was widely practised until alternative sources were developed.

Modern advances and alternatives

Technological advancements and the rapid change in societal attitudes towards animal welfare have contributed immensely to the production of glue as well. The use of horse parts for glue production has significantly diminished over time, replacing it with cheaper and safe options. Today’s commercial glues are predominantly synthetic or plant-based, reducing reliance on animal-derived materials.

Synthetic adhesives offer numerous advantages as opposed to animal-based glues. Some of such advantages include improved performance characteristics and increased versatility across different applications. Overtime, these alternatives have gained popularity in the global market due to their consistent quality, longer shelf life, and reduced environmental impact compared to traditional animal-based glues. A win-win situation!

Current use of animal-based glues

While horse-derived glues are no longer commonplace in most industries today, it is worth noting that some specialized sectors still utilize animal-based adhesives. Art restoration experts may occasionally opt for traditional methods when working on antique pieces or delicate artworks where historical accuracy is paramount.

Additionally, certain traditional crafts and woodworking practices may still employ animal-based glues for their unique properties. However, it is important to highlight that the majority of commercially available glues in mainstream markets as assured by the companies are now derived from non-animal sources.

Using eco-friendly glue as an alternative

With the numerous campaigns for environmental protection, companies are now compelled to adhere to the rules of providing sustainable solutions to everyday problems without causing any negative impact to our ecosystem. This is applicable to glue production as well, that is why glue companies now opt for eco-friendly production processes.

Apart from synthetic glue, some companies now produce biodegradable glues that are designed to naturally break down over time. These glues are made from natural materials derived from renewable resources. As such, when disposed of, it decays without causing any harm to the environment.


In conclusion, the use of horse parts in glue production was prevalent in the past but has significantly diminished over time. Modern advances have led to the development of synthetic and plant-based alternatives that offer improved performance and especially reduced environmental impact. While animal-based glues may still find niche applications in specialised industries every now and then, they are no longer widely used or encouraged in mainstream commercial products. As consumer preferences continue to evolve towards more sustainable and cruelty-free options, it is likely that the reliance on animal-derived materials for glue production will continue to decline for the greater good.


Emmanuella Koughna

Born with an innate gift of storytelling, Koughna Emmanuella has engraved her name on the minds of her audience by seamlessly blending profound insights with captivating prose. Over the course of four years, each of her work has been a testament of mastery of language and an ability to plumb the depths of human emotion, weaving intricate tapestries that resonate with readers across the globe. In her free time, she volunteers with animal shelters in her locality where they cater to homeless pets and other animals who need care. She also enjoys traveling, reading, and karaoke.

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