Cross-posted from PeTA.org blog, 20th July 2021.
From October 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 — 947 horses were killed in South Korea. But the Korea Racing Authority (KRA) doesn’t want anyone to know the identities of these horses.
The KRA is still scrambling to do damage control after PETA’s undercover “K-Cruelty” investigation exposed the cruel beatings and gruesome slaughter of former racehorses in South Korea.
This investigation resulted in criminal convictions for a Korean livestock cooperative on the island of Jeju and several of its employees for slaughtering horses in full view of other horses—a violation of Korea’s Animal Protection Act. The heartbreaking footage also generated massive media coverage and prompted public outrage in Korea and internationally.
“All horse slaughter records have been removed from the KRA database, including the slaughter details of stallion Private Vow.” —PETA
PETA exposed that Private Vow, who ran in the 2006 Kentucky Derby, was killed at the Jeju Livestock Cooperative in July 2020. This prompted the Stronach Group—one of the largest global racetrack owners and breeding companies—to issue a policy prohibiting the export of its horses to Korea for racing or breeding. Details about the date of Private Vow’s slaughter originally appeared in public records, but now, that data field has been deleted and is blank.
“The KRA has wiped its databases clean, but the KRA’s hands are still dirty and covered with blood. This is a shameful attempt to bury the evidence instead of stopping the killing.”
—Kathy Guillermo, Senior Vice President of PETA
Previously released quarterly slaughter verification spreadsheets—through which horse owners would be able confirm the accuracy of the identification numbers of the horses they sent to slaughter—are no longer available on KRA webpages. Before October 2020, these spreadsheets could be used to identify the individual horses who were slaughtered, and this resulted in a public outcry when PETA exposed the corresponding horse names and photos.
According to PETA, 400 or more thoroughbreds from the U.S. are sold to South Korea each year.
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The story of Private Vow leading to his slaughter in Korea
Private Vow (April 19, 2003 – July 22, 2020) was a thoroughbred race horse. As a foal of 2003, he was a possible contender for the Triple Crown in 2006.
The Bloodhorse reported at the end of 2008:
“As a juvenile, Private Vow won the 2005 Futurity Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park and Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs. The following year, his third-place finish in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) stamped his ticket to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), where he finished off the board.”
“Private Vow won two Grade 2 stakes races as a two-year-old in 2005, but fared poorly in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile that year.“
“Private Vow, who raced for Mike McCarty and was trained by Steve Asmussen, is out of the winning Deputy Minister mare Smooth as Silk. He retired with $491,312 in earnings and won four of 12 career starts.”
“Private Vow has been acquired by Jay and Terry Adcock’s Red River Farms near Coushatta, La. The 5-year-old son of Broken Vow will stand for a fee of $2,000 in 2009.”
then . . .
“He was sold to Kim Kyung Mina in South Korea in 2014 to stand starting with the 2015 breeding season.”
“In December 2020 it was learned through public record searches that Private Vow was killed at a slaughterhouse in South Korea on July 22, 2020,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
The end. Well, not quite.
The Los Angeles Times revealed even more later that year, on December 16, 2020:
“Private Vow, a 17-year-old who finished 15th in the Kentucky Derby, was killed on July 22 this year, likely to be used for either pet food or rendered into another byproduct.”
“In addition, two 4-year-old horses who Private Vow sired — Normal Classic and Private Man — were also killed in a slaughterhouse this year and two of his 3-year-old fillies — Private Castle and Up Quibit — were killed last year, according to information obtained by PETA from multiple Korean databases.”
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Unconscionable. This is horse racing.
“Two groups want to ban sale of racehorses to South Korean interests,” by John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times (16 December 2020)
“The Stronach Group joins in urging the racing industry to ban racehorse sales to South Korea after PETA exposé,” PeTA News Release (16 December 2020)
“Korea Racing Authority responds to equine welfare critiques, restricting imports due to COVID uncertainty.” paulickreport.com (21 December 2020)
Featured Image. Destined for slaughter. Photo of Thoroughbred Cape Magic—who raced and was injured at a KRA racetrack in Busan, South Korea’s second most populous city—taken just three days before PETA filmed him at the slaughterhouse in Jeju.
Tuesday’s Horse © Fund for Horses