On July 11th 2011, Deputy Broad was entered in what would be his last race at Mountaineer Park. He did not run well. 48 hours later, he had been handed off by his trainer, Danny Bird, and soon found himself in the hands of a kill buyer by the name of Fred Bauer. Deputy was never run through an auction ring. There was no chance for a rescue or a private individual to save him. On July 18th 2011, Deputy Broad arrived at a horse slaughter facility in Richelieu, Canada as part of load sent there by Bauer. Deputy was processed on July 19th, 2011. Stable to Table in 7 Days…
Danny Bird had told people who asked about the horse that the animal was nasty and didn’t deserve a home. This is the exact opposite was what the horse’s previous connections said about him. Others said Deputy was a good boy and had the makings of a show horse. Even if the horse did have an attitude, it was probably caused by rough handling by people with little intelligence and poor horsemanship skills. That still would not have made it impossible to retrain him or find him a home. There are many other trainers who could have worked with him if given the chance. I have yet to come across a horse that could not be retrained if handled properly and I’ve been through over 200 of them. No matter what his attitude may have been, Deputy Broad deserved better than the cruel and inhumane death that he received.
At the plant in Richelieu, he faced the same barbaric death as the other horses who were there with him. They are slowly forced to walk up to the kill box. If the horses don’t want to go in there, they are typically beaten or shocked. Once inside the box, they face either a gun shot to the forehead or the captive bolt. Neither option is humane. For a gun shot, the person shooting must hit a tiny spot centered on the horse’s forehead between the eyes and the ears. Not an easy shot if the animal is standing still. When the horse is flailing and trying to escape, a perfect shot would be nearly impossible. The captive bolt was designed for cattle and is meant to stun the horse into unconsciousness. It often fails for the exact same reason. When it fails, the horse remains conscious while it is hanging from the ceiling and being dismembered. This is not a death I would impose on the worst of criminals. What exactly was Deputy’s crime? Not running fast enough? Being too expensive to feed?
Humane Euthanasia usually costs between $200 and $400. Is that really too much money to spend on a horse that earned $39,993 during his racing career? I am aware that the horse’s earnings would be divided between owners, trainers, jockeys, etc. Still, I don’t find it unreasonable to set aside $400 so that the horse can be euthanized if he is fatally injured. If the racing industry would set aside 10% of a horse’s lifetime winnings, that money could be used to help with the animal’s care when its racing career ends. They could also add a fee onto the entry fee for each race so that even non-winners would have something set aside for them. There should be plenty of possibilities. I’m sure that there were still many possibilities for Deputy Broad but his trainer was too selfish and pig-headed to look into them.
Deputy had a very nice pedigree. I have no doubt that he could have been retrained for another career in any number of other disciplines. I have seen ex-racers go down many different paths. Just a few examples: Made A Champ – Halter, Showmanship, and English Pleasure. North Texas – Barrel Racing and Trail Riding. Regaligan – Pony Club mount and Show Horse. Mo Dixie – Trail Horse and 4-H Project. Runnin4daborder – Trail Horse and Broodmare. There are always other options if the owner/trainer will bother to look. Even euthanasia would have been more humane than being tortured and then dismembered.
Sadly Deputy Broad was not the first horse to be slaughtered for food and he will not be the last–not until there is a horse slaughter ban throughout North America. This savage practice must be outlawed in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. As it stands at the time of writing, there are no USDA approved horse slaughter facilities in the U.S. but it was banned on a state level in the two states where the plants were located. USDA funding of the meat inspections was stopped on a federal level but that would not prevent the owner of a horse slaughter plant from paying for the inspections. The horses from the U.S. are now being shipped alive to Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered across the borders.
The Thoroughbreds are not the only breed that ends up at the slaughter plants. There are many others. However, one thing that sets the Thoroughbreds apart is their lip tattoos. If it were up to me, I would require the employees at the horse slaughter plants to catalog the tattoo numbers of the Thoroughbreds that arrive for slaughter. The list would be given to the Jockey Club and other horse racing associations. It is easy enough to find out who a TB’s last trainer was. If the horse arrives at the slaughter facility within six weeks of its last race, the penalty should be a permanent ban on that trainer at any and all racetracks in the U.S. If money is the only thing these soulless savages care about, then maybe taking away their livelihood will get their attention.
Please understand that I am not lumping all the trainers in together. There are many trainers at the tracks who treat their horses like their children. They will put their horses well-being ahead of their own. Unfortunately the money-grubbing scum are not smart enough to follow the example of the better trainers… I do not expect the trainers from the track to be responsible for every horse that passes through their barns for the entire lifespan of the horse. What I expect is for some of them to take a little time to look at their options instead of throwing away a horse’s life as if it were a Kleenex.