Monday, January 26, 2009

Horse Slaughter - Another Piece of Journalism Loaded with Fallacies

Dear Editor,

I read the below article with a great deal of disappointment over the “journalism.” I had to pen a response, and I couldn’t hold it to 250 words. There was too much content to be dealt with.

In response to "Bear Market for Horse Sales:"

This article is full of fallacies that need to be corrected. First and foremost, there is no federal ban on horse slaughter in the US. There were two states with horse slaughter plants until recently, in Texas and Illinois. It was state legislation that closed those slaughterhouses, not federal.

Second, owning a horse has always been a luxury. Horses cost an average of $350 a month to keep – including food, farrier and veterinarian care. The poor economy has had an effect on horse owners. Hay is very expensive in many places. Families are losing their homes to job loss and foreclosure and the pets are often sacrificed as a result of it. If you check the local cat and dog shelters, you'll see they too are being inundated as a result of the economy. It's no different with horses.

The writer states "Previously, horse owners could sell their sick old animals for slaughter. Federal law now prohibits that." Again, simply not true. The horse slaughter industry is still very much alive and quite frankly, thriving in the US. Take a trip to the New Holland (Lancaster County, PA) Livestock auction. You see a large majority of horses being bought for slaughter there each and every Monday. The US Department of Agriculture reports that over 92% of the horses that go to slaughter are not old, sick, mean or untrainable. 92% are young and healthy, and could have a future. What a disturbing percentage. Yet, the "kill buyers" who buy at New Holland and livestock auctions like it have contracts in Canada and Mexico, and they want the beefiest, biggest, healthiest horses they can get to take to slaughter. It makes sense...who wants to eat meat from an old or sick animal? The kill buyers often get paid by the pound.

Over breeding is one of the biggest causes of the lucrative slaughter market. Second only to Paint horses (APHA) , The American Quarterhorse is the most killed breed of American horses. The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) has no ethical statement against over breeding and slaughter. Many breeders "cull" their less than satisfactory foals by sending them to the slaughter house. They get paid a couple of hundred bucks and the horse travels for thousands of miles and dies an inhumane death all in the name of breeding as many foals as possible in order to get a few good foals.

Gary Grovers of the USDA, admittedly owns 17 Belgians, and is probably a breeder as well. He says "But what if the horse can't stand and graze?” As an employee of the USDA, Mr. Grovers should know that if a horse cannot stand, it cannot be run through an auction house or transported for slaughter (horses must be able to bear weight on all four legs to be sold at auction). The humane thing to do at that point is to have the horse euthanized. It costs about $350 to have a horse humanely put to rest, and have the body removed. If you can afford to keep your horse for one month, you can also afford to have it humanely euthanized. It frightens me that this man is working for the USDA and asking this question....

The slaughter industry is thriving so thoroughly at this point that more American horses went to slaughter in 2008 than in previous years. Manny Phelps, well known kill-buyer in California, states that January will be a banner month for him. He is quite literally, making a killing. (See Jan 5th post:

Patty Demond is quoted in this article as saying This is the most expensive hobby I ever had." Yes, Patty, it is expensive. Horses are expensive. Yet many breeders continue to breed and take no responsibility for the lives they've created.

It's time to step and take responsibility for the horses. These are not animals raised to be food. They are animals we partner with, compete with, and love and enjoy just as we do our cats and dogs. If their time here on earth is coming to an end, we owe them a painless and fear-free death. Step up, America. Start taking responsibility.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Another "Stand-Up" Woman Saves Horses From Slaughter

Top Stories

Roxbury Has Its Own Horse Rescuer

Kate Thurlow of Roxbury with two friends. Photograph by Laurie Gaboardi
Kate Thurlow of Roxbury with two friends. Photograph by Laurie Gaboardi

Though it may have been the case for countless years, the proverbial glue factory no longer stands as the final destination for financially unviable horses.

That's not just because horse slaughterhouses were eliminated in this country two years ago. Plenty of American equines still meet their demise at the end of a blade, only now it is done over the Mexican or Canadian borders. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 2,000 horses have already been slaughtered there in 2009 alone.

The horses that are destroyed in the foreign plants are done so not for their sticky, gelatinous cartilage (which can be converted into glue-thus the phrase "glue factory"-or mixed into gelatin), but for the meat on their bones, which in countries such as France and Japan is a delicacy that sells for $20 per pound or more.

But horse activists across America still fight to see that horses, so many of which are young and healthy, don't find their way to the chopping block.

Kate Thurlow, a Roxbury resident who in the past five months has rescued five horses from becoming another person's dinner, is one such activist. In a New Milford stable she rents from a New York City family, Ms. Thurlow tends to six horses (she already owned one) on her own dime and her own time.

"I do what I can," said Ms. Thurlow. "But I can't do everything, as I'm limited on time, space and money." She only has five stalls in the stable she rents. Two of the horses are ponies, so they are small enough to share a stall.

Ms. Thurlow spends between 50 and 60 hours a week caring for the animals, and she shoulders the financial burden by selling antiques over the Internet. As Ms. Thurlow nuzzles up to Luna, a 4-year-old brown mare, she seems to love every minute of it.

What would be a grueling chore for many is a moral obligation, even a pleasure, for Ms. Thurlow. She's so dedicated to these animals that she even has a couch in the stable, just in case a horse gets sick and she has to stay the night to be near it.

"If I had more room, believe me, I'd have more horses," she said, lamenting the fact that she can't afford more stalls.

Ms. Thurlow, who is 25, has been working with horses in some capacity for the past two decades.
She obtained the rescued equines-Luna, Chuck, Mack, Ruger and Panser-through the organization Another Chance for Horses, which attends horse auctions in Pennsylvania to outbid buyers who would potentially sell the animals to a slaughterhouse.

Ms. Thurlow believes many people are under the misconception that destroyed horses are decrepit, diseased or dangerous creatures that need to be put out of their misery. But almost all of the horses she has rescued are still in the prime of their lives; Panser is only 2, and Luna is 4.
Christy Sheidy, the co-founder of Another Chance for Horses, said that USDA studies found that of all the horses slaughtered, 90 percent of them are in perfectly good shape.

"These slaughter plants try to make it sound like they take care of our unwanted horses," said Ms. Sheidy. "But they don't do evaluations on the personality or disposition of a horse, so how do they know if they are taking care of our dangerous horses?"

Ms. Sheidy has operated her organization, which saves as many as 1,000 equines annually, for the past 15 years. She speaks highly of Ms. Thurlow and the work that she does, because Ms. Thurlow is ultimately interested in rehabilitating horses and getting them to good homes.
But Ms. Sheidy has divorced herself from the grief that may haunt others in her line of work. Though she says horses have "always been a passion of mine," she is also concerned about the irresponsible nature of some horse owners and the negative impact it has on the economy.
As she explains it, the upkeep of a single horse will bring a lifetime of revenue circulating through the American market. But by selling the animal to a slaughter plant, it's a one-time payment that winds up in a foreigner's pocket.

Here's how it happens: A trainer buys a young horse for tens, maybe even hundreds, of thousands of dollars. If that investment doesn't pan out as hoped, meaning a horse can't race or show efficiently, then its owner may choose to put the horse up for auction, which is a considerable loss on the investment but cheaper than paying for upkeep.

The unwanted equines are auctioned off, every single Monday, for a nominal price. Luna, before she was saved, went for $250. Once the horses are secured, the buyer then sells them for double the auction sale price to the slaughterhouse. After the animals are shipped across the border, which the slaughterhouses pay for, they have their throats slit and are hung upside down to drain their blood. The meat is then flash-frozen and sent overseas.

"It's horrible," said Ms. Thurlow. "It is absolutely disgusting, and it turns my stomach just to think about it."

Indeed, it is a grisly death for these equines, unless activists outbid other buyers or work with the buyers to prevent the exportation of the animals. But many horse lovers hold out hope that all this will come to an end soon.

Just last week, congressmen John Conyers (D-MI) and Dan Burton (R-IN) introduced the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (HR503) to the U.S. House. If approved, this bill would prevent the deportation of animals to foreign slaughterhouses. This isn't the first introduction of a bill to prevent further horse cruelty. Perhaps HR503 will succeed where the others failed.
If not, Ms. Thurlow may have to find a way to afford more stables. The horse-rights activist can be contacted at

email this story

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pro-Horse Slaughter Propaganda Abounds As So Called Journalism

What happened to journalism in America? Is Pro-slaughter paying these "journalists" and "newpapers" to print this stuff? Does anyone do any research these days?

My response:

Dear Editor,

I am shocked by this poor example of journalism. The fallacies listed here are huge. People are reading this stuff and believe it’s been researched and that is it the truth.

I am a volunteer in horse rescue and I am well versed on the issue of horse slaughter.

Congress did not pass HR 503 last September. There is NO federal ban on horse slaughter. The House of Representatives did pass HR 503 in September of 2006 with the 109th Congressional session. However, the Senate adjourned without addressing the bill, and it died with the session. Another bill was introduced, HR 6598, in July of 2008, but did it not come to a vote and died with the 110th Congress. The good news is that today, Representative Conyers re-introduced the bill and hopefully the Senate and the House will address it during the 111th session.

So, as I noted, there is no federal ban on horse slaughter and it is still very much an option. Anyone, at any time, can visit a local livestock auction and sell their horses to meat buyers. The horses are trucked into Canada and Mexico, suffering intensively along the way and then are inhumanely killed for high end restaurants overseas. You’ll find kill buyers almost everywhere – New Holland in PA, Sugarcreek in OH, just to name two of the big auction houses.

I attend livestock auctions regularly, and the kill buyers are happy to cough up a couple of hundred bucks for horses they can take to slaughter. If you are conscienceless, this is the way to go.

Euthanasia is the humane alternative, and it is not prohibitively expense. It costs about $350 to have a horse euthanized and the body removed. This is about what it costs to keep a horse in food, farrier and vet care for one month. So, if you can afford to care for your horse for 30 days, you can afford to have him humanely euthanized.

This is screaming to be corrected: Congress passed H.R. 503, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, last September. Previously nearly 100,000 American horses were slaughtered annually for foreign palettes. You need to let your readers know that HR 503 was not passed. I’m shocked that this was not researched before the article was printed.

Additionally, not only are horses still going to slaughter, but more than 100,000 were slaughtered last year. I believe the total comes to about 120,000 for 2008, although the numbers are still rolling in.

There is a well known kill buyer in California named Manny Phelps who recently stated that January of 2009 will be a banner month. According to Phelps, more horses will be shipped to slaughter this month than ever before. He is quite literally, making a killing. And so are his many counterparts.

(See Jan 5th post:

You also quote someone saying this: "It's really a problem. There is no salvage value at the end of the line." Why should there be a “salvage value” on a horses life? Horses are not viewed as food source animals in the USA. 80% of American’s are opposed to horse slaughter. Most horse owners view their horses as members of the family and would never knowingly allow their horses to be slaughtered, especially for overseas human consumption.

There is no “salvage value” on cats and dogs. Perhaps we should start slaughtering them and supplying their meat to countries in Asia and the Pacific that enjoying dining on dogs and cats. It would sure solve the shelter problems that are also rampant with the poor economy.

Sound appalling? It certainly is. And it’s no different for the horses.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Against Horse Slaughter? Do You Breed? Lead By Example, Like the Stronachs of Adena Springs Farm

'We look after our own and wouldn't it be nice if everyone else did too"

This is what I am talking about! Responsible breeding and a retirement plan. If only more breeders would stand up and lead by example the way the Stronachs do!

Retirement plan

Finley By Bill Finley
Special to

Frank Stronach is known for being a demanding, profit-driven businessman, which doesn't exactly conjure images of compassion or warmth. But there's obviously a soft side to the owner, breeder and racetrack operator buried somewhere beneath the tough veneer. He is someone who cares about the animal and is determined to do the right thing by his horses once they are done racing. To be owned by Frank Stronach all but guarantees a horse a safe, happy and healthy retirement.

"Taking care of their retirees is a major priority for the Stronach family," said Mike Rogers, the business manager for Stronach's Adena Springs breeding operation. "This is something that is not financially beneficial to anyone. It is all about the love of the animal, caring for the animal and believing that you have a responsibility to them."

The Stronachs have always been interested in the welfare of their retirees, which includes hundreds of horses who have either been gelded or have not done well enough on the racetrack to become sires or broodmares. But, over the last 18 months, they have taken extraordinary strides to see that no Stronach-owned horse is neglected or sent to slaughter once their racing careers are over. The Stronachs have set up two facilities, one in Florida and another in Ontario, to care for and rehabilitate their retired horses.

Stronach races some of the most talented and best bred horses in the world, but not everyone of his horses is a success story. Those who have injuries that preclude them from racing or those who simply aren't cutting it on the racetrack won't be allowed to slip through the cracks or slide down a slippery slope that too often leads to the slaughterhouse.

Rather, they will be sent to one of the retirement farms, where they will be evaluated. If they are reasonably sound, they will eventually wind up at the farm in Aurora, Ontario, which is part of Stronach's Adena Springs North operation. There, Stacie Clark, a former jockey, retrains the horses so that they can be adopted as show or pleasure horses.

"We've had a retirement area at our Adena South operation for about four years," Rogers said. "What happened is that because of the sheer numbers we knew we had to take things to the next level. We can't just put all these horses in a paddock and let them hang out. We knew we had to do more, which is why we started the retirement and rehabilitation facility at Adena North and looked to adopt out these horses."

Those who are not suitable for adoption may remain in Florida, but they will be given a permanent home.

Since the fall of 2005, Clark, who is Rogers's wife, has found homes for 42 retirees. Stronach's wife, Frieda, is heavily involved with the retirement program and no one is given a Stronach horse without her going over and approving the adoption application. She makes sure that none of their horses fall into the wrong hands.

As is the case with most high-profile owners, some of the Stronach horses will end up in claiming races and wind up in someone else's stable. Once that happens, there is no guarantee that the horse will be given a proper retirement, but the Stronach family tries to keep tabs on as many of its former runners as possible. That's what happened with All Firmed Up. A stakes winner for Stronach, he was later claimed away and wound up running in mid-level claimers. After he was pulled and returned lame in a 1999 claimer for new connections, the Stronachs bought him back and retired him. For him, life is now good.

"He's never had a saddle on him since that last race," Clark said.

Some might argue that Stronach can afford to do this. But so can a lot of others in horse racing and few do. Horses who wind up in the slaughterhouses may come directly from some of the sport's lower-tier tracks but a lot of them once raced at places like Santa Anita, Saratoga and Belmont and were bred and/or owned at one time by some of the wealthiest and most prominent people in the sport. Why can't more feel the way Stronach does, that owners and breeders have a responsibility to care for the horses who ran their hearts out for them?

"I remember seeing an ad one time for a New York Racing Association adoption foundation and it said, 'We look after our own and wouldn't it be nice if everyone else did too,'" Clark said. "I think that's exactly it: it's good to set an example and it's important to remember that we're all in this industry because we love horses. To desert these horses when they no longer have any monetary value just isn't right."

Bill Finley is an award-winning racing writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, USA Today and Sports Illustrated. Contact Bill at

For more information on the Stronach's retirement plan, reference this link:

Great quotes:

"It is all about the love of the animal, caring for the animal and believing that you have a responsibility to them."

"it's good to set an example and it's important to remember that we're all in this industry because we love horses. To desert these horses when they no longer have any monetary value just isn't right."

Thank you Stronachs. You are a breath of fresh air!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

America's Horses Continue To Be Inhumanely Slaughtered - Can you Live With This?

A Different Kind of Murder (But Murder Nontheless)
-- by Steven Long

The victim stood trapped in a steel box as the assailant stood above repeatedly stabbing her in the back. He was aiming to sever the spinal cord but continued to miss. Finally, on the 13th thrust of the stiletto like knife she dropped to her knees and lay on the concrete floor, her spine destroyed, but her mind very much alive. A chain was wrapped around her numb legs and she was hoisted head down as she saw a sharp knife come toward her and felt the slice into her carotid artery.

Finally, mercifully, she lost consciousness as her four feet were chopped from her body.

This murder was unusual because it was documented by a news photographer from a Texas newspaper.

You see, she and a reporter had penetrated the bloody halls of a slaughterhouse in Juarez, Mexico. The story by San Antonio Express News reporter Lisa Sandburg has stunned the nation, and perhaps will finally persuade Congress to move to pass an act that will finally end this horror. The story broke simultaneously also in the Houston Chronicle.

The Mexican abattoir, and another in Canada, has been busy since equine slaughter was finally outlawed by the legislatures of Texas and Illinois, and the laws banning the killing of horses for human consumption were upheld in two federal appellate courts.

America has never had a hunger for horse meat, yet it is considered a pricey delicacy in parts of Europe and Japan.

Years ago, two foreign owned companies saw an opportunity and opened slaughterhouses in Fort Worth and Kaufman, Texas, and also in DeKalb, Illinois. For years, despite protests from local residents, the killing of horses took place in these locations to the tune of 100,000 per year until the two Texas plants were shut down late last year, and the Illinois kill was closed a couple of months back.

And make no mistake about it; the method of killing a horse in America was no less painful, cruel, and clumsy than in the foreign slaughterhouses. It was just mechanized. The U.S. plants used what is called a captive bolt gun. With this device, a rod was discharged with the idea of hitting the head sufficient enough to stun the animal who was about to meet its maker and be transformed from a living beautiful creature to red meat displayed in a foreign butcher shop.

But the captive bolt missed its mark as often as not and the horses endured unspeakable suffering until they were finally subdued by a lucky strike. As in Mexico, horses were hoisted by one leg into the air, their throat slashed, and they were dismembered - as they bled to death.

The killing of horses for their meat is big business. The industry would have you believe that only old, broken, frail, and useless horses go to slaughter. That is the big lie. Fat, healthy, horses are bought at auctions across the land not because they are useless and old, but because they are healthy and filled with meat. Most often, their owners take them to the auction hoping that the horse they have loved for years will go to another adoring home to be used for wholesome recreation.

Recently I was sent a chilling photograph. It showed the carcasses of horses inside a kill plant hoisted in the process line. Below, their hooves had just been severed. In the foreground was a hoof with a horseshoe on it.

That horse was never meant for slaughter. It had been cared for by a farrier in the past six weeks (the proscribed period for shoeing a horse). Its owner had paid the farrier at least $80 to trim and shoe the animal. The horse clearly had gone to auction, its owner hoping it would be sold into a good life as a work horse at worst, or as a pleasure horse which was more likely.

Instead, the highest bidder was the "killer buyer," a bottom feeder in the horse industry. From that point on, the horse knew nothing but misery. At auction's end, it was loaded on huge crowded trailer, taken to a feed lot likely hundreds of miles away, and then shipped on a cattle truck with ceilings built for low slung cattle. From there, the horse was again shipped hundreds of miles to the slaughter plant.

The cruelty which goes on 24/7 in this business is unspeakable.

Congress now has before it the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. It will not only outlaw slaughter from the federal level, it will also make illegal the transport of horses to slaughter, including transport to plants currently operating in Mexico and Canada.

Until that happens, horses will still be stabbed to death, be hoisted by their feet in the air, their throats slashed, and then be bled to death as their bodies are cut apart while still living. If this happened to humans it would make the horrors of Auschwitz look merciful.

copyright 2007 Steven Long - all rights reserved

this article is dated 2007 ...
in 2009 the transport & slaughter
of American horses are still
thriving industries in Mexico & Canada

Steven Long is an author, publisher & editor

ask / email President Elect Obama's transition team leaders
to regulate irresponsible over breeding, hold horse owners accountable & to stop the transport & slaughter of our American Horses,,

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

American Horses Slaughtered by Thousands in Mexico

Pro-horse-slaughter proponents tell us that all kinds of "unintended consequences" have come about as a result of folks like me that oppose the slaughter of America's horses. They tell us that now that "we've" ended slaughter, many horses are being neglected, abused and starved.

You'll find that a bit difficult to believe when you read this article. See, slaughter hasn't been banned. It was banned in Texas and Illinois, where the slaughter houses were, but there is no federal ban on horse slaughter or the transport of horses out of America for slaughter.

It's very easy to sell a horse at any local auction for a few cents on the pound. There are buyers all over the place, who have contracted with companies in Canada and Mexico to bring in slaughter horses.

Check out New Holland Live Stock Auction any Monday. You'll see several kill buyers and anything under $500 is probably going to become "what's for dinner" in some European or Asian restaurant.

Manny Phelps, noted kill buyer in California says that January will be a banner month for him and others like him A record number of horses will ship to their inhumane death this month.

Here is a text version off of Texas Cable News

Thousands of U.S. horses slaughtered in Mexico for food

10:56 PM CST on Friday, December 19, 2008

By Brad Woodard / 11 News

Steve Long is a noted author as well as editor of Texas Horse Talk magazine. You can say he knows horses.

Thousands of U.S. horses slaughtered in Mexico
December 19, 2008

“They are the essence of beauty, everything about them, the way they move, the way they talk to each other, their personalities, they’re just magnificent,” he said.

He says that horses are not only deeply woven into the fabric of Texas History, but they are also great icons of the American West.

Still, despite that honor, records show that nearly 50,000 U.S. horses have been transported to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico for slaughter and ultimately destined for the dinner tables in Europe and Japan.

“It’s an obscenity. It’s a horror. It’s something that makes me want to throw up,” said Long.

11 News photo

Records show that nearly 50,000 U.S. horses have been transported to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico for slaughter and ultimately destined for the dinner tables in Europe and Japan.

Believe it or not, Long isn’t talking about the slaughtering practices in Mexico, although he finds them disturbing.

Long is talking about the horse slaughter industry, that until recently, thrived here in Texas and the United States.

“This is the biggest animal rights scandal since the Michael Vick case. This is slaughtergate,” said Long.

In fact, records show that there are two Belgian owned horse slaughtering facilities in the state. He says one of the facilities, Dallas Crowe, is in Kaufman, Texas and that the other facility, Beltex, is located in Fort Worth.

In 2006, 11 News reported that employees at both facilities used captive bolt guns and air guns on the horses instead of knives. That technique involves driving a steel bolt into a the brain of a horse.

Both Texas facilities were forced to close last year. Officials say that the closure came after a federal appeals court upheld a 1949 state law banning horse slaughter for human consumption.

Despite that action the slaughter horse business continues.

Julie Caramante is an animal cruelty investigator for the organization called Animal’s Angels and she often works undercover.

She said that it took her three years to obtain photos that document violations of the transportation of horses taken to Beltex between January and November of 2005.

“I saw horses that were dead in trailers, with their legs ripped off, with their faces smashed in, eyeballs dangling, and these horses, some of them were still alive. They were just standing there,” said Caramante.

Many of the injuries reportedly occurred when the horses were transported on double-decker trailers designed to haul cattle.

The U.S. banned that type of action last year, but there’s a loophole, said Caramante. She says that the double-deckers can still be used to haul horses thousands of miles to feedlots, like the one in Morton, Texas. It’s owned by the Belgian company, Beltex.

“They feed them and get them fattened up. The ones that live go to El Paso and then off to the plant in Mexico,” said Caramante.

While it’s currently illegal to slaughter horses for human consumption in Texas, 11 News has found that at least two states are considering measures that would make it legal.

Those who support horse slaughter say they’d like to see it resume here in the U.S. because of laws that protect horses from cruelty. They say it is a well regulated industry that provided humane euthanasia.

“Such things are laughable. And it would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. U.S. humane laws have done nothing for the horse,” said Long.

E-mail 11 News reporter Brad Woodard

Stolen Horse International


The face of death

The face of death
#396, A kind, gentle Thoroughbred

All that is left

All that is left
I will never forget him...I promise. I am so sorry, #396...I don't even have a name for you...

Why would you take my life? Am I a food source animal?

Non-Smoking Page!!!

Non-Smoking Page