Deaths of rescued slaughter bound horses a painful reminder not much has changed

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HORSE SLAUGHTER (by Vivian Grant Farrell) — 2017 has been a tough year for many reasons. The toughest for me personally has been the deaths of two beloved horses.

Fourteen years ago, when Texans for Horses became the Fund for Horses I rescued four slaughter bound Quarter horses from a Texas feedlot. They had no papers. No one could or would tell us where they were from or how they had gotten in this hellish place.

Many of the horses in the feedlot had given up. They would not eat or drink, just crowded together for comfort staring vacantly ahead.

There were some however who still showed signs of hope crammed around the fence with terrified eyes beseeching someone anyone to help them. I picked four. It was all I could afford to transport home and care for. I named them after Texas cities — Houston, Austin, Amarillo and Sweetwater.

Turning my back on the others and walking away from them knowing the horrific sufferings and deaths they were about to face haunts me to this day. And for what? So human beings can dine on their dead flesh.

I can feel the awful pain and anguish of that moment just as keenly now as I did that day, and I still hate that I did not find a way to help every pleading one of them.

Two of the four horses I rescued, the mares Houston and Sweetwater, passed away a few years ago. Austin died in February of this year and Amarillo died last month in November. Both geldings, they had made friends in that grisly pasture 14 years ago, ending up spending the rest of their lives together.

Their deaths seem to signal an end for me but of what I am not certain. At first I thought that it might be hope. Very little to nothing has changed. Slaughter continues to thrive on the horses it brutally preys on.

I wish I could say with the passing of those horses that I rescued that day and escaped slaughter, that slaughter had finally been outlawed and no longer threatened any horse.

God knows we have worked as smartly and diligently as we know how to ban horse slaughter as have many, many others. However, it still exists to satisfy the human appetite for horse flesh, and making the people who supply it for them very wealthy.

My Christmas wish this year is that you will do any or all of the following to bring an end to horse slaughter in honour of horses past, present and future.

Continue to work or take up the cause to bring an end to horse slaughter. It does not matter how or where or what. Please take every action you know and hear to bring it to an end.

Support those who rescue horses from slaughter. Adopt a rescued horse yourself or sponsor one. Pledge or make a monthly donation, any amount. Find your local horse rescue and ask them what is on their Wish List — many have one — and gift them something on their list, either individually or with family and friends. Deliver it to the rescue and meet and greet the horses you are benefiting. It will make you feel like a million dollars. I promise.

Make a pledge in your heart right now that this time next year horses will no longer be slaughtered where you live and take action inn support of that pledge every opportunity you get.

We can do this. You can be sure that Houston, Austin, Amarillo and Sweetwater, and all horses like them, will be cheering you on.

Featured Image: AdobeStock_128452626.jpeg. Not for profit use.

New York State lawmakers interested in tracking retired racehorses

Thoroughbred racehorse. Unattributed image.
Thoroughbred racehorse. Unattributed image.

HORSE RACING (via the Blood-Horse online). By Tom Precious, October 26, 2017.

An effort to mandate the tracking of retired racehorses in New York has now picked up support in both houses of the state Legislature.

Sen. Joseph Addabbo, a Queens Democrat who represents Aqueduct Racetrack, recently introduced a measure to create a seven-member Commission on Retired Racehorses to monitor the whereabouts and treatment of retired Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds. The new Senate bill by Addabbo, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee, is the same as one introduced in the Assembly earlier this year by Gary Pretlow, a Westchester County Democrat who chairs that chamber’s racing committee.

“Horses have played a significant role in the history and culture of the United States,” a bill memo accompanying the legislation states, noting that racehorses in New York have generated billions of dollars in economic activity in the state.

“Despite what they may have contributed, many horses at a young age (that) are no longer profitable or affordable for the owner, wind up in international slaughterhouses to be inhumanely slaughtered for consumption abroad where horse meat is a major delicacy,” the bill memo adds.

The bill puts reporting requirements on horse owners, requiring reports to be filed with the state within 72 hours of any ownership change of a retired racehorse, along with contact information about owners and other recordkeeping rules. The death of a former racehorse must also be reported to a state registry within 72 hours. Each violation of the measure’s provisions can be assessed a fine up to $500–if violators are a resident of New York State.

Using Jockey Club data, the NYSGC spent nearly two years compiling the whereabouts of every New York-bred Thoroughbred that raced between 2010 and 2012. Of 3,894 horses that raced in that period, the commission was able to locate 1,871 horses. Of those, 356 were deceased, three sold at auction and 1,512 were retired in some form, such as 604 retired as broodmares or 155 adopted.

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Pictures of horses in killpen sought

Horses held in a pen awaiting export for slaughter. Photo by Kathy Milani for HSUS

HORSE SLAUGHTER — We are looking for 2 or 3 stills of horses in kill pens or similar situations linked to the slaughter pipeline — nothing too graphic — for a horse slaughter documentary maker.

The images need to be as large as possible, and clear and sharp, preferably taken by a professional photographer.

Contact us a info@horsefund.org. Thank you.

Featured Image: Kathy Milani, HSUS.

Horse Slaughter: Food for Thought Chart

Horses before the auction at Shipshewana. These were racing, riding, and show horses. But the slaughterhouse buyers were there to bid on the least expensive horses. Source: Animal Angels.

HOUSTON, TX (by Horse Fund Staff) — This artwork illustrates the horse slaughter process. Familiar and the unfamiliar alike may find this useful without it being too graphic. For actual images of horse slaughter see the Horse Fund website. Caution. Graphic content. Not for the feint of heart.


Illustrated Chart of the Horse Slaughter Process.
Click to enlarge.

Why can we not rid the world of the gross cruelty and betrayal of horse slaughter? Because there are those among us who want to eat horse meat.

Featured Image: Horses before the auction at Shipshewana. These were racing, riding, and show horses. But the slaughterhouse buyers were there to bid on the least expensive horses. Source: Animal Angels.