Cross-posted from the Lexington Herald-Leader at Kentucky.com
Written by JANET PATTON
For Carol Brown, breeding Thoroughbreds was more about the hope than the money.
“I thought these horses had an option to have a great job, then they’d have a nice life as broodmares,” Brown said.
She never thought about the “after” — about what happens when horses don’t end up with happy retirements in rolling green pastures.
No horse plants in the United States
The slaughter of horses is legal in the United States, but plants have been shut down since 2007, after funding for inspections of the slaughterhouses was cut from the USDA budget.
Kentucky Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Hopkinsville, has pushed for passage of legislation to ban horse slaughter and the transport of horses for slaughter.
Since the closure of the plants in Texas and Illinois, horse shipments to Mexico and Canada have ballooned.
In 2009, more than 52,000 U.S. horses were sent to Canada and more than 46,000 were sent to Mexico for slaughter, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
“I was in some sort of dream world. I truly was,” Brown said. “I’m not there anymore.”
Brown and her husband, Don, have bred horses on a small scale (they have about two dozen) for a few years on their pocket farm in Lexington, selling yearlings at Keeneland when the market was good.
In January, someone suggested some of their mares might be good candidates for retraining as riding horses. Carol Brown thought that sounded like a nice idea.
When she was contacted by Jessica Lewis, owner of HorseCampUSA in Frankfort, Brown offered to give Lewis four horses — three Thoroughbred mares and a Morgan pony.
HorseCampUSA’s Web site, http://www.horsecampusa.com, billed it as the place “where horses and happiness go hand-in-hand.”
“I thought they were going to a riding camp for kids,” Brown said.
Lewis said she and her husband, Rick, both told Brown they planned to sell the horses. Brown said she told the Lewises she would take them back if they didn’t work out as riding horses.
“I suppose that was a misunderstanding between the two of us,” Jessica Lewis says now. “We don’t keep any of our horses forever. They’re all for sale.”
The Lewises picked up the horses Jan. 24. The trained pony, Ben, sold quickly to a Nicholasville schoolteacher. One Thoroughbred mare was eventually returned to Carol Brown.
But two of the mares, Royal Glowing and Toolern Vale, had a much darker journey.
About Feb. 1, Lewis said, she sold the horses to a woman, whom she would not identify, who said they would be used as broodmares.
But days later, the mares turned up at Sugarcreek Livestock Auction in Sugarcreek, Ohio, where they were purchased by a “killer buyer” to be shipped to a Canadian slaughterhouse. Read full story >>
Leroy Baker and Sugarcreek Auction are discussed in the latter part of the article quote from above.
Baker says he is haunted by horse activists and that the charges against him which he has been fined for by the USDA have been trumped up.
Horse activists do haunt the killpens at Sugarcreek. It is a notorious dumping ground for Thoroughbred racehorses. Racehorse lovers frequent the auction to rescue as many as they can, and is how they uncovered the diabolical way these horses are treated.
When contacted by the Int’l Fund for Horses asking why Baker has not paid his fine, they told us, “We are not a collection agency.”
See related articles at Tuesday’s Horse here >>