Category Archives: equine welfare

Day of the Horse


December 13, 2013 is National Day of the Horse here in the United States. It should be a day to take time to recognize how much we owe to the horse and how much of our history has been changed because of them. Yet it is remarkably difficult to get politicians around the country to acknowledge this.

The horse in the photo above is Sergeant Reckless, a horse who served with the United States Marines during the Korean War. Since horses are prey animals, you would expect them to flee from danger. Not this mare. She carried ammo to marines so they could continue their fight and she carried the wounded back to safety. Even being wounded twice did not stop her. For more info, There have been thousands of horses who served bravely throughout history but most of their names are long forgotten.


The United States government in general and BLM in particular seem to have forgotten that horses can be invaluable assets and symbols of freedom. Now they are considered a nuisance, especially if they interfere with cattle grazing on federal lands. The BLM has rounded up most of the wild mustangs, on the pretext that they are overpopulated. No one at the BLM has explained HOW they could become overpopulated by such large numbers. If the mustangs didn’t have the food and water to survive, they would be dead. These are wild horses, not domestic horses who are fed and watered by people. The ugly truth is that the BLM gets money by selling grazing permits to ranchers and the mustangs are getting in the way. So the BLM rounds up the mustangs, using helicopters among other things, to make room for more cattle. This can be done at any time that BLM chooses and they seem to prefer foaling season. (Ladies, imagine that you have just given birth when someone starts chasing you through the desert with a helicopter so your only option is to run for your life). Needless to say, this is very dangerous for mares who have just given birth and a newborn foal cannot run fast enough to keep up with its mother while she’s galloping full speed for miles. The mustangs that survive the round ups are taken to holding facilities and kept there at tax payer expense. Some of the ranchers get paid to keep the mustangs on their property while their cattle are grazing on federal lands. If the mustangs become too much trouble, some of them can easily be shipped off to the nearest equine slaughter house. The ranchers win. The mustangs lose.


Horses can do things that seem impossible and make it look easy. They have the determination and the heart to go above and beyond to the next level. Even this is not always enough, especially in the Sport of Kings. Every racehorse owner hopes their horse will be the next Secretariat. His record still stands but thousands of Thoroughbreds have been destroyed chasing that dream. Some start out with big wins but most end their days as the low level claimers that keep the racing industry running. What happens to them when they can no longer race isn’t always known to the general public. Some of them go on to new careers. Others are not so fortunate. Every year thousands of Thoroughbreds are shipped off by callous owners looking to make a few hundred dollars off a horse that may have won them thousands. Those horses are sold to kill buyers and sent to be slaughtered for food. A typical racehorse is so full of drugs and hormones that the meat would be a health hazard so everybody lies. The kill buyers fill out forms with false information to make sure the slaughterhouse will accept the horse. The plants deliberately test for drug residue in parts of the carcass where they know they will not find any and the meat is sold to consumers in foreign countries.

All of this must stop but the politicians have yet to pass any laws that would correct the problems. America’s wild mustangs should be returned to the wild to roam free. The round ups should be permanently stopped. The SAFE Act should be passed. No horses should be slaughtered in the United States or exported for slaughter in foreign countries. Horses have done so much to inspire us to do greater things and help us in times of dire need. Their service should not be repaid with treachery.



Posted by on December 13, 2013 in equine welfare, horse, Horse Slaughter


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Backstreet Bully


Yet another so-called “unwanted” horse who lost his life in the kill box at a slaughterhouse. The maddening part about it is that this horse was very much wanted. Numerous people tried to save him from the kill auction and later from the slaughterhouse itself. Adena Springs wanted him back and he had a safe home waiting for him. His breeder was willing to do the right thing for him. He was NEVER intended to be sold for slaughter. He was, in fact, completely unfit to be slaughtered for human consumption. As a former racehorse, this Thoroughbred had been given Phenylbutazone and other drugs during his life. That alone should have disqualified him for slaughter. The tattoo on the inside of his upper lip proved his identity. The slaughterhouse was provided with copies of his drug history. They did not care. They killed him anyway. What happened to the meat from his carcass remains open for debate.

An investigation has begun but officials from LPN (Les Viandes de la Petit Nation) in Canada aren’t revealing much to the public. Not every carcass is even tested for drug residues so there is no guarantee that Backstreet Bully’s remains were examined. If they were tested, it’s quite simple for the plant to get a negative test result from a carcass of a horse that was given Bute. They pull test samples from the fat tissue, knowing full well that Bute is deposited in the muscle tissue and not in the fat. The kidneys, which show the highest concentration in horses dosed with Bute, are typically not tested because they aren’t sold as food. It would be nice to know which parts of Backstreet Bully were tested after they had finished butchering him…

Part of his story can be found in a recent article in the Toronto Star. (Link provided below). The following is a first-hand account from Mindy Lovell of Transitions Thoroughbreds, one of the people who tried to save his life:

“Many of you have read the article on the front page of the Toronto Star about Backstreet Bully. He HAS had the last word and although it will never bring him back, he represents a drop in the bucket of the many horses that head to slaughter that clearly illustrate the massive flaws in the horse slaughter industry. I stood on that catwalk at OLEX that day asking Jonathon Lalonde to buy that horse. He refused – he claimed he was “meat only”. I did not believe that so I asked again. He repeated the same thing. That designation was never made on that horse and that has been proven. He lied. He was quickly backed up by Tracey Thompson-Hoogeveen that runs NYNE and promotes the sale of his so called meat horses. She also heard him state that as she was standing there as well. She also claimed she saw it written on the EID or kill sheet as it is commonly known. It was not. She repeated it numerous times. I was not the only one that heard her make these claims. I did not believe a word of it. Tracey also knew that there was a very good chance that I could identify that horse and have his drug records produced clearly indicating he was not eligible for slaughter. She knew because I told her that point blank and then I asked her what she thought would happen should that be the case. She did nothing but stand behind her lie. Did both Jonathon and Tracey know that racehorses are in general not eligible for slaughter due to the excessive drug use? Yes, they did but “they all do it” as in send them to slaughter regardless. There was ample opportunity to stop it. He could have been pulled off that truck in Ottawa along with the other horses she was intending to broker for him on NYNE. If things went true to form, he would have off loaded along with all the others and then re-loaded to head to the plant. It could have been stopped – easily. It was not. He was “just a horse” and the thoroughbred people that love and admire these horses and fight for them so much are “just a joke”. I kept trying. My calls and messages to both of them were ignored – she was “too busy”. Backstreet Bully never won the Queen’s Plate or the Kentucky Derby, nor did he make millions of dollars on the track, in fact only a few thousand but it did not matter to those of us that fought to save his life up until the very end. He was NOT “just a horse” in our eyes and he is only one of many. To add further insult to injury, we asked to have his halter returned – the leather halter with the brass nameplate on it reading Backstreet Bully and that simple request has never been honoured.”

–Mindy Lovell

Transitions Thoroughbreds

What was done to this horse and many others before him is an absolute outrage. He was unfit for slaughter and everyone involved in the process knew this but did not care. It makes no difference to them if the meat is filled with toxic drug residues. They aren’t going to eat it. They will sell it to the unsuspecting Europeans. LPN actually claims that it can trace the animals it slaughters from the farm up to the time they arrive at the plant. That makes very little sense considering the fact that they kill hundreds of thousands of horses from the United States where horses are not raised for food. I highly doubt there are too many farms breeding horses specifically for slaughter in Canada either. They are killing Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, and thousands of other horses used in competitive disciplines. Drug use in racing and other equine competitions is standard practice for many owners and trainers. Many of the drugs and other substances that have been banned for use in animals intended for human consumption are used on a daily basis at racetracks and elsewhere. That is the last type of meat anyone in their right mind would choose to eat. If the consumers had any idea what was really in their horse meat, they might lose their appetites…

There was NO reason for Backstreet Bully to die. He had a home waiting for him and years of life left in him. He had numerous people trying desperately to save his life. Those involved in the horse slaughter industry refused to allow anyone to save Backstreet Bully. The auctioneer ignored Mindy Lovell when she attempted to bid on the horse at the Ontario Livestock Exchange auction (OLEX). The kill buyer who did buy him falsely claimed the horse was sold as “meat only” and one official at the auction mentioned that the auction might decide to designate all the Thoroughbreds as “meat only” at the sale. That would mean that only kill buyers would be able to buy them. Private individuals and equine rescues would be unable to bid on them. Quite ironic. The equine advocates are actually trying to help by taking the unfit horses out of the food chain and instead of gratitude, they get nothing but attitude from the auction all the way to the slaughterhouses.

As a final insult, LPN has refused to return Backstreet Bully’s leather halter with the brass plate bearing his name to his breeder. It is difficult to imagine what use they could possibly have for his halter at the slaughterhouse. Why not return it? Perhaps because it is a tangible piece of evidence? Proof that he was slaughtered there. Proof that LPN took the life of yet another Thoroughbred racehorse even though they had proof the horse was not fit for human consumption. The truth of what happened to his carcass will come out sooner or later as the investigation continues. The horse slaughter industry is all about the money. If it is proven that Backstreet Bully was slaughtered for human consumption despite being given Phenylbutazone, it may cost those involved in this nightmare far more than they ever imagined.

Link to the Toronto Star article:


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The state once called the Horse Show capital of America is now planning to become the Horse Slaughter capital of the United States. Members of the Oklahoma State Legislature have passed bills making it legal to slaughter horse for human consumption in their state. The Oklahoma Senate voted 38-6 in favor of allowing horse slaughter and the Oklahoma House approved it with a vote of 82-14.

Rep Skye McNiel explained that the bill would allow horse slaughter within the state of Oklahoma and provide a humane option for old horses. They will be slaughtered and their meat sent overseas. The sale of horse meat within the state of Oklahoma will remain illegal.

Based on the total absurdity of his statements, one can safely assume that Skye McNiel never visited Dallas Crown (Kaufman, TX), Bel-Tex (Ft. Worth, TX) or Cavel International (DeKalb, IL) when those slaughterhouses were still slaughtering horses.

  1. Killer Buyers looking to fill a truck with horses aren’t interested in old horses. They prefer them young, healthy, and fat.
  2. The process was NEVER humane. It was a form of torture from start to finish.

The residents of Texas, Tennessee, Missouri, Oregon, and New Mexico were wise enough to prevent any horse slaughter plants from opening in their states. Since the people of Oklahoma have never had a horse slaughter plant in their state, they might want to start reading up on the subject now. Better yet, take a road trip to Kaufman, Texas and have a nice chat with the residents and city officials there about how much they enjoyed having Dallas Crown in their city. Massive environmental damage, water pollution, increased crime rate, rotting animal parts attracting vermin and carrion, lagoons filled with blood, a constant and unbearable stench, horse blood being forced into the city sewer system only to back up into residents’ homes. For more detailed information, please visit




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Step 1: A horse is purchased by a killer buyer who has a contract with the slaughterhouse. Sometimes horses are given away or purchased directly from their owners but most of the horses come through kill auctions. The horses are frequently abused at the auction barns. Once the sale is complete, they will be loaded onto the kill buyer’s trailer.


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Step 2: The horse is loaded onto an extremely overcrowded trailer packed so tightly that it cannot move. A horse that goes down will more than likely be trampled to death. The driver will probably go straight to the slaughterhouse without stopping. Stopping to feed and water the horses is uncommon. The way that they are loaded would make it very difficult to even attempt to feed and water them. Horrific injuries often happen on the way to the slaughterhouse.


Step 3:  The horse is unloaded into a holding pen at the slaughterhouse.  How long they wait there depends on how many horses are waiting to be slaughtered and how quickly the plant can kill them.

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Step 4: The horse enters the slaughterhouse and gradually makes its way into the kill box. The methods used at this point vary from place to place. The captive bolt is the most common. It was originally designed for cattle. The worker must hit the horse in exactly the right place on its forehead to temporarily stun the animal. Horses are not cows. They often panic and try to escape. Even when they are stunned correctly, they can sometimes regain consciousness.


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Step 5: Desanguination – The horse is hoisted up to the ceiling and suspended by one of its hind legs. Its throat is slit so that it can be bled out before they begin cutting up the carcass. Imagine what happens when a horse is incorrectly stunned and regains consciousness during this procedure…

Does ANY of this look HUMANE in any way?

No, because there is NO humane way to slaughter a horse.

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From that point, the workers proceed to prepare the horse meat for transport to its destination. Usually it is shipped somewhere in either Europe or Asia. That’s what Rep. Skye McNiel means by overseas. That might not be quite so easy. If anyone in the Oklahoma State Legislature had bothered to read any international news, they might have noticed that the European Union is currently in the midst of a horse meat scandal. Products labeled as beef were found to contain horse meat. The source of the horse meat has not been identified. First Ireland, then Poland, and finally Romania have all been suggested. Six horse carcasses from the United Kingdom were exported to France despite testing positive for Phenylbutazone. Back in July, horse meat from Canada tested positive for both Phenylbutazone and Clenbuterol. Both of those are banned substances forbidden in food producing animals. The EU is not pleased about any of this. The Humane Society International is petitioning the EU to ban all horse meat imported from North America. Even if the horse meat is still allowed into the EU, the new regulations that go into effect in July of 2013 will disqualify virtually all horse meat from North America anyway. Passports will be required for all horses presented for slaughter at EU inspected slaughterhouses. Drugs histories from the time the horse was 6 months old will be required.  It is amazing that not one of the law-makers involved was aware of this when they voted to bring horse slaughter to their state.  Their level of stupidity is remarkable.

To read the new EU regulations for 2013, please click the link below:


The law passed in Oklahoma specifically states that only horse dealers and auction barns will be allowed to sell horses to the new slaughterhouse. Oh, really? How exactly do they expect either of them to be able to trace the drug history of every horse back to when it was 6 months old? Are they planning to test the horses for drug residues before they accept them for slaughter? No, because they already know the meat is toxic. That’s why they won’t allow it to be sold for food in Oklahoma. They don’t seem to mind the idea of poisoning people so long as it doesn’t occur in their state.

The horse slaughterhouse will be an environmental disaster. The community will be destroyed. The horses will suffer terrible atrocities before being inhumanely slaughtered. And when it’s all said and done, no one will want the toxic horse meat anyway. It will never meet the EU 2013 regulations. So what was the point of all of it? Money, of course.

Horse slaughter has always been a bloody business. Those involved in it ignore the regulations and put profits ahead of safety. They aren’t concerned with suffering. Even when the U.S. Slaughterhouses were open, the regulations were frequently ignored. The guilty parties were rarely fined or taken to court. Those who were fined were not forced to pay their fines. Instead they continued with the very activities that got them fined in the first place. Things will not be any different in Oklahoma.

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Horse Slaughter is inhumane.

There is no humane way to slaughter a horse.


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Posted by on February 24, 2013 in equine welfare, Horse Slaughter


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There is No Humane Way to Slaughter a Horse

This has to stop–everywhere. There is no humane way to slaughter a horse. Period.

Canadian Horse Defence Coalition's Blog

By Jason Farrell, Sky Correspondent

Sky News has uncovered shocking animal welfare conditions at a UK horse abbatoir.

They include animals being beaten, neglected and illegal procedures in the process of slaughtering British horses for European food markets.

It comes amid public anger that some of our biggest supermarkets have been selling beef burgers and other products that contain horse meat.

Sky News visited the Red Lion Abbatoir near Nantwich in Cheshire after concerns were raised by Animal Welfare Group Hillside Animal Sanctuary.

Investigators at Hillside fitted secret cameras which filmed horses being beaten with an iron road to encourage them into the pens.

British abbatoirSome were then crammed into the slaughter pens in pairs and, on one occasion, a group of three, before being stunned together.

Please continue reading here.

Warning: Very disturbing content.

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Broken Promises: Regalian


This is a missing Thoroughbred mare named Regalian. She is registered with the Jockey Club. Her tattoo number is C17345. Her former owner is desperately seeking any information about her. On February 11th, 2012, she was placed at a farm that claimed to be a foster farm for a reputable equine rescue. She retired from being a broodmare. It was understood that she would only leave with a signed adoption contract and be placed in a safe, new home. Unfortunately, all the information available now points in the opposite direction. Regalian and two other horses were offered for FREE on Craig’s List with no mention of any adoption contract.

From her posting on Net Posse a.k.a Stolen Horse International:

“Regalian – Chestnut TB Mare (tattoed) – was sent to an individual in Milton, Florida, with the understanding that mare would be in a satellite foster program under a rescue in Georgia. The owner had to reduce the herd due to health reasons, and this was one of the last horses that needed to be placed. It was understood that she would be adopted out with a contract under the GA Rescue, and so there was no reason to be concerned that the mare would be sold or sent to an unsuitable home. Stacy later learned the mare had not been re-homed where she had been told (to a lady in Bonifay, FL – now is told the person is possibly a horse trader) and that the GA Rescue had no knowledge of the horse being in its foster care. A witness has stated the individual in Florida offered her the mare at a price and without a contract, which clearly indicated the mare was being sold for personal profit and not being adopted as agreed. The individual in Milton has a documented history of questionable activity, and NetPosse has another pending report with this person in a similar situation.”

65173_373668602722578_1949068259_nThis mare was sent to a place where she was supposed to be available for adoption. She was at this farm in March 25th, 2012. By the time this photo was taken, she had dropped 75 pounds. It is alleged that the person who had Regalian offered to sell her to another individual for a set price. It is also alleged that this mare and other horses were later offered for free on Craig’s List. No adoption contract was mentioned in either case. This mare may have gone through an auction in Alabama. She may be in either Alabama or the Florida panhandle. Her whereabouts at this time are unknown. Regalian has a home waiting for her if she can be found. If she is in a safe home at this time, her former owner would be very relieved to have proof of her safety. If she was sent to slaughter, please let her former owner know that so she can grieve and then put this nightmare behind her.


“A reward is being offered for return of the mare and possible finder’s fee. If evidence is provided that the mare is in a suitable home, Stacy would consider leaving the mare where she is with an adoption contract as were her original intentions. Individual in Milton claims no financial gain was made from this mare’s transaction.” – Net Posse

Mary Johnson is offering $1,500 and Maggie Moss has added another $1,000 to the reward. That means a combined reward of $2,500 is being offered for the safe return of Regalian.


It would be very worthwhile for anyone with information to contact Stacy immediately.





Posted by on December 27, 2012 in equine welfare, horse, Thoroughbred