Horse slaughter is something every horse racing nation seems to have in common, yet not one of them — even Ireland where horses are as iconic as the shamrock — seem willing to take the steps necessary to end it.
This is a story from the New Zealand Herald News of a horse bred for racing but ended up on a dinner plate.
David Moore tells the story:
Filly 7/8 was born at Soliloquy as the 7th foal in 2008. She was sired by Russian Hero, out of broodmare mum Heatherton, and she looked fine as a baby. But as she matured, it became clear her legs were “bent”.
“So we kept her for more than two years to see if she would mature, if the legs would straighten,” he says. “And when it was clear she wouldn’t improve, we tried to get some trainers to take her. But the reality is that no one wants a racehorse like that, unfortunately.
“The feed and stable bills keep coming in and this becomes too expensive to support really . . . So we sold her directly from here to Clover.” He hadn’t realised Clover was exporting the meat for human consumption; he thought it was for pet food. He recalls, they were paid “about a couple of hundred bucks”.
The 3-year-old never raced, and so she was never named. Filly 7/8 was the horse with no name.
The article mentions that NZ horse meat is exported for Russian, Belgian, Dutch and Swiss dinner tables (laced with some tasty Bute no doubt — they did not mention that bit).
I am moved by the plight of “Filly 7/8”, and all the horses like her with no names and no history except as a notation in a breeder’s notebook and later a kill number in a slaughter man’s records.