Category Archives: Uncategorized

Stray Cats in Need

This is a change of subject from the usual posts about horses. Another equine related post is coming next week. This one is about two cats who are in need of a new home. Most barns have at least one cat but these two have special needs that require them to be kept inside at all times. Please share this post with anyone who could offer them a safe home.


There are many stray cats roaming the streets of Pittsburgh. Some of them have found shelter in an unlikely place–the Police Impound. Hiding among the wrecked police cars and other vehicles were two male cats, Smudge and Sam. Employees have reported seeing Sam lurking in the lot for about ten years. No one is sure how long Smudge was there. These cats have spent many years outside, hunting for their food and taking shelter wherever they could. They had no contact with humans and ran from anyone they saw until someone made it his personal mission to rescue them.


Officer Steve Crisanti made sure that both cats had food, water, and shelter until they could be trapped and safely removed from the impound lot. After feeding them for months, he was able to touch Smudge while the cat was eating. Sam remained too afraid to let anyone touch him. The situation changed last week when Smudge was badly wounded in a fight. He needed veterinary care. Both cats had to be trapped as quickly as possible. With help from Animal Friends, the cats were trapped and taken to a veterinarian. They received the care that they needed but the news wasn’t good. Sam and Smudge tested positive for Feline Aids. This means they cannot be left loose outside or be around other cats. They are in need of a permanent home with someone who can keep them together and indoors where they will not be exposed to other cats.


Both cats are being kept safe under quarantine until a new home can be found for them. They need someone who understands how to care for cats with this condition. Sam and Smudge are both still adjusting to life indoors with human contact. They need someone they can learn to trust who has the patience to work with them until they learn how to trust people. If you can offer them a safe, loving, and permanent home, please contact:

Steve Crisanti


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Posted by on September 17, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Where’s the Beef?

3 Pix

In the wake of shocking discovery that many so-called beef products actually contained up to 100% horse meat, many of those involved are rushing to reassure the outraged consumers that there is no cause for concern. So what if it was really horse (or in some cases donkey)? So what if they found traces of Phenylbutazone in three horse carcasses exported from the United Kingdom? Some food safety officials are insisting that the meat is still safe for human consumption. Oh really? I think not…

This is a serious problem. It isn’t like they just mis-labeled two different cuts of the same meat. Consumers thought they were buying BEEF when they were really buying HORSE and/or DONKEY meat. If the food safety officials cannot be bothered to ensure that the meat being sold came from the same species of animal listed on the product label, that does not make me feel that they are doing their best when it comes to monitoring which foods are fit for human consumption. The companies involved are now blaming some mishap in the supply chain.

I do recognize that there are cultural differences and some cultures enjoy eating horse and donkey meat. I accept that. I would not recommend it due to the health risks involved but they are free to chose for themselves. The people who bought Findus Beef Lasagne, U.K. Tesco’s Spaghetti Bolognese, and Aldi brand frozen lasagne and Spaghetti Bolognese, and numerous products by other companies believed it was beef. I am sure that many horse owners would not be pleased to find that they have just eaten someone else’s horse. Other people may have deeply held religious or moral objections to eating horse meat. Imagine the shock and horror this supposed labeling mistake has caused.

If this had only happened once in a small batch of a single product, then calling it an accident might be justifiable. The current scandal has spread too far for that explanation to be plausible. A leak from Findus has revealed that horse meat was in the so-called beef for six months. A leaked document states that the French supplier, Comigel, had been aware of the problem in its frozen lasagna since August of 2012. Tests of all the contaminated products have now shown that between 30% to 100% of the meat used was horse meat. It isn’t as if they just found traces of horse meat. In some products, it had completely replaced the beef that should have been used.

First Ireland, then Poland, and now Romania have all been suggested as potential sources for the meat now in question. The horse meat and also possibly donkey meat has been linked to a supplier in Romania. The desperate attempts to explain how such a mistake occurred vary. Some have suggested that there was an abundance of both horses and donkeys available for slaughter due a recent law banning the use of the animals to pull carts and carriages in that country. Another article reports that 54 wild horses stolen from Letea Forest were found aboard a truck destined for a Romanian slaughterhouse. The wild horses had been beaten, stabbed, and deprived of food and water. Four of them had already died on the way to the abattoir.

The Romanian officials are adamant that the horse meat was not sold as beef and place blame on two French companies. Both Comigel and Spanghero are now being investigated. The horse meat was shipped to a factory owned by Comigel in Luxembourg. From there, it made its way into frozen foods distributed to 16 European countries. Asda has found horse meat in four burger products last month and more recently in Beef Bolognese Sauce. Horse meat has also been found in cottage pies destined for 47 schools in Lancashire. Compass Group has identified between 5% and 30% horse meat in burgers sold in Ireland. Those burgers were purchased from Rangeland Foods, which has now withdrawn around 9,000 burgers after some of them were shown to contain horse meat. Minced ‘beef’ sold to Creative Foods was made into lasagna for schools and hospitals. That meat came from Pinnacle Foods, which had found horse meat in some of its products. The company claims it was not aware of the horse meat and it is now trying to find out how this happened. New sources of foods either with a mixture of a beef and horse meat or complete substitution of horse meat for beef are still being found. The companies are pulling products that have tested positive for horse meat and other similar products as a precaution. The scandal may continue to grow as more products are tested for the presence of horse meat…

Food Safety officials in the United Kingdom have started testing all slaughtered horses for the presence of Phenylbutazone as of January 30th, 2013. This testing should have already been mandatory before any horse meat was used for human consumption. Even if the meat is tested, the results can vary depending upon which parts of the horse carcass are checked. If you want a negative result, pull samples of the fat tissue. The chances of finding Bute are very slim. If you really want to know how much Bute a horse was given, take tissue samples from the kidneys, liver, lungs, or heart. The kidney will usually show the highest amount. The slaughterhouses deem the kidneys as unfit for use in food so they are rarely tested. Some British veterinarians are now insisting that there is no cause of concern. They say that Phenylbutazone is necessary for long term pain management in horses. I disagree. After many years of working with Thoroughbred race horses, I have seen very clearly what happens if you dose a horse with Bute for long periods of time. Some horses are more sensitive than others but take 1 gram of Bute per day as an example. Within 30 days, it will cause stomach ulcers. After that, the horse starts to show signs of kidney damage. Keep dosing with Bute and wait for Liver Failure. That’s all with a dose of 1 gram per day. Horses with broken bones or severe injuries are sometimes given between 2 and 4 grams or more per day. Long term use of Phenylbutazone will more than likely kill your horse. Do you really think it’s safe to have in your food?

Decades ago, Phenylbutazone was prescribed for human use. People used it for the treatment of arthritis and other ailments. There are still some people who will get the drug from a veterinarian for their horse and then use it for themselves despite the warning label and the list of potential dangers. It was banned for use in humans for good reason. Phenylbutzone (PBZ) is converted by the liver into its metabolite, oxyphenylbutazone.

“Oxyphenylbutazone has NSAID properties and at one time was thought to be less toxic than PBZ. However, oxypheylbutazone also has serious adverse effects in humans including those of producing aplastic anemia, agranulocytosis, thrombocytopenia, leucopenia, pancytopenia, and hemolytic anemia (Chaplin 1986). The mortality rate of PBZ- and oxyphenylbutazone-induced aplastic anemia was 94% and 71%, respectively (Benjamin et al., 1981; Bottiger and Westerhom, 1973; Cameron et al., 1966; Chaplin 1986; Deaths due to butazolidin, 1952; Dunn, 1972; Etess and Jacobson, 1953; Hale and DeGruchy. 1960). Overall the data suggest that the risk for the development of lethal adverse effects in humans by PBZ and oxyphenylbutazone are not always dose dependent indicating an idiosyncratic effect. In addition to its well-known bone marrow suppression effects, PBZ is also associated with a hypersensitivity reaction in the liver which can cause death. (Benjamin and Ishak, 1981). Taken together, it is clear why phenylbutazone is currently unavailable for human use in the United States and is banned in animals destined for human consumption.”

–Nicholas Dodman, Nicholas Blondeau, and Ann M. Marini

Association of phenylbutazone usage with horses bought for slaughter: A Public Health Risk.

Food and Chemical Toxicology

There are reasons why phenylbutazone is banned for use in humans and in any animal intended for human consumption. There is no way to know how it will affect different people. One person might able to tolerate phenylbutazone while another person might be hypersensitive. That makes it impossible to determine a safe level. The only way to ensure complete safety is to prevent any meat contaminated with phenylbutazone from entering the food chain. This has proven to be far more difficult that it sounds.

In countries where horses are raised specifically for food, it should be simple enough to achieve. No horse intended for human consumption can be treated with Bute. The trick is making sure no one gives the horse any Bute during the course of its life. Veterinary records might show no administration of phenylbutazone when in reality the owner obtained the drug elsewhere and used it on the horse without telling anyone. It is also unlikely that the horse will have the same veterinarian throughout its life. The owner could have two different veterinarians treating the same horse. If the horse is sold, the new owner may not receive the horse’s veterinary records or unscrupulous owners might substitute the records of one horse that was never given Bute for those of a horse that did receive it. This would allow the owner to send the horse dosed with Bute off to the slaughterhouse and no one would know. Efforts have been made to develop a passport that would stay with the horse for life but that system is still in need of vast improvements. At the time of writing, those involved in the horse meat trade have been forging passport documents in order to get the slaughterhouses to accept horses that are unfit for human consumption. The BBC has reported that as many as 7,000 unauthorized horse passports have been in use since 2008. The report does not mention whether or not any of those thousands of horses went to slaughter. Beginning in 2009, all foals born in the UK are being micro-chipped in an effort to make sure they can be positively identified in the future. *

Injured Grey 2 rz cr

Moving on to countries where horses are not raised for food and an entirely new set of problems. All of the concerns listed still come into play but there is even more opportunity for fraud and abuse. In the United States, the USDA does not currently inspect horses intended for slaughter. The animals are shipped alive across the borders to both Canada and Mexico, where slaughterhouses await them. Because horses here are not raised for food, there are no restrictions on what medications can be given to the horse or what substances can be applied topically to the animal. If you want to give your horse 1 gram of phenylbutazone every day, no one will stop you. If you want to apply large quantities of Nitrofurazone ointment to your horse’s body, go ahead. That ointment clearly states on its label that it isn’t intended for use on food-producing animals but there are no slaughterhouses currently operating in the U.S. You can take that horse loaded up on Bute and covered in Nitrofurazone to a horse auction and sell it. Two possibilities: The animal might be bought and taken to a new home or the horse may also be bought by a meat man or kill buyer (KB), who is buying horses cheap so he can ship them to Canada or Mexico for slaughter.

Dead in the Kill Pen 2

After the auction, neither buyer would have any records on the horse unless the previous owner chose to provide them. With no way of knowing if a horse is free from drugs or fit for slaughter, the KB can fill out paperwork or create any documents he needs. He will fill out an E.I.D. stating that to the best of his knowledge, the horse is clean and safe for human consumption. That’s all that it takes. The horse can now become part of the food chain. This happens on an almost daily basis.

If you were going to choose a horse to slaughter for human consumption, a racehorse is probably the absolute worst choice you could possibly make. They are loaded up with an amazing variety of drugs, hormones, chemicals, and in some cases dosed with actual poison. Whatever it takes to make them run faster. Try to find a racehorse that has never been dosed with Phenylbutazone. You have better odds of finding a unicorn. It would take hours to catalog everything and the trainers come up with new concoctions all the time. Here are some highlights. These are items commonly used at the racetrack that all appear on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s list of banned substances; Phenylbutazone, Clenbuterol, Equipoise, and Nitrofurazone. Some trainers also use snake venom (Rattlesnake or Cobra if they can get it) to dose their horses before racing. Others have been caught giving their horses milkshakes (mixture of sodium bi-carbonate and other things). Trainers will use illegally-obtained prescription drugs intended for humans, including PROCRIT and more commonly EPOGEN. This is highly illegal even at the racetrack. They are certainly not going to tell their veterinarian or any racing officials what they gave the horse. There will be no record of it. When I worked at the track, one of the horses in my trainer’s barn received 14 different injections before each race. I cannot even tell you everything they shot into that horse. Whatever it was, it helped him win for them and that was all that mattered. Other things they used in their barn included Bell’s Solution (a liquid narcotic), DMSO, chlorine beach, glycerine, and formaldehyde. But none of this matters, right? Racehorses aren’t slaughtered for human consumption. Oh, but they are slaughtered by the thousands in Canada and Mexico. Their meat is shipped to the EU and sold as food. All those products filled with horse meat instead of beef could contain meat from racehorses.

You might expect some form of testing at the slaughterhouses to see if the horse is loaded up with Bute BEFORE the animal is slaughtered. That isn’t how things are done at the present time. That would decrease the number of horses they could kill in a day. Some plants are able to slaughter as many as 100 horses per day. Not all of the meat is tested. Random samples are taken from some of the carcasses, not all of them. Mistakes do happen. Horses that are not fit for human consumption do get slaughtered. Not all of the horses are processed for food. Some of the plants also produce other products. From a food safety standpoint, I do not want the facility that produces my meat to multi-task. At Les Viandes de la Petite Nation in Canada, they slaughter beef, bison, deer, sheep, horses, and pigs all at the same facility. The company’s website boasts that it can provide complete traceability from the farm to the consumer. This is a rather curious statement since they slaughter horses from the United States where there are no farms raising horses specifically for slaughter. It would be safer if the slaughterhouses were strictly slaughtering for human consumption and slaughtering for other purposes at a different location. That would greatly reduce the chance of accidents. The only people who really know where the meat from a particular carcass went are the operators of the slaughterhouses.

Unless a horse has a scar, brand, tattoo, microchip or some other permanent marking, it can be very difficult to prove that the horse now standing in the slaughter pen is the same horse whose records from the racetrack show multiple injections of Phenylbutazone. With Thoroughbreds, the easiest way to read the tattoo on the inside of their upper lip. Contact the Jockey Club and they will identify that horse. From there, a quick search of Equi-Base or similar websites will show where the horse raced and under what conditions. You can get veterinary records from the racetracks. Proof that the horse was given Phenylbutazone or other banned substances should prevent it from being slaughtered for food. That is what saved Canuki and Cactus Cafe from being slaughtered in 2012. When the plant in Richelieu, Canada was provided with records from Beulah Park Racetrack in Ohio, USA, the horses were rejected for slaughter. They were returned to the United States and both are now being retrained as show horses. Their story is a miracle. Many other horses have not been so fortunate…


Princess TiffanyPrincess Tiffany slipped through the cracks. Somehow, through a twist of Fate, she ended up in the hands of kill buyer. Of course, being a racehorse, she had been dosed with Phenylbutazone during her career. The story gets worse. She was given additional doses of Phenylbutazone while in the kill buyer’s possession. That didn’t stop the plant from accepting her for slaughter. They killed her anyway. The injection sites would have been clearly visible once they began processing the carcass.

Backstreet BullyBackstreet Bully was the victim of an equine adoption gone bad. When he retired, his connections allowed him to be adopted. After he was in his new home, things took a tragic turn. On January 9th, 2013, he was slaughtered at Les Viandes de la Petite Nation in Canada despite the drug records provided by Adena Springs proving that he was unfit for human consumption. The slaughterhouse was well aware that this horse had been given drugs that made him ineligible for slaughter. Yet the plant still took his life. The meat from his carcass may have been used for something other than food.

Or that meat may have ended up as someone’s dinner…

Many other horses have met the same end; Deputy Broad, Beau Jacques, Silky Shark, River Spey, and No Day Off just to name a few. The difference being that with Princess Tiffany and Backstreet Bully, proof was available. The others went so quickly that there wasn’t time to get the information and send it to the slaughterhouses. Most of the plants have a room where they keep the severed heads of the dead horses. The tattoos still on the Thoroughbreds would probably prove that the problem is far more wide-spread than anyone has imagined.

In July of 2012, both Phenylbutazone and Clenbuterol were found in horse meat shipped from Canada to Belgium. That meat was sent to many European countries including Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. (Wait. Luxembourg? Isn’t that where one of Comigel’s factories is? Remember that Comigel first notified Findus of a problem in August of 2012? Must be a coincidence…) It is entirely possible that some of the horse meat being found in all those frozen meals came from Canada, meaning meat from horses raised the United States may have been mixed into it. This possibility led the Humane Society International to ask the EU for a ban on all horse meat from North America.

Recent reports from Food Safety officials in the United Kingdom have revealed that 6 horse carcasses have tested positive for Phenylbutazone. Three of them were exported to France and may now be part of the food chain. Despite the much stricter regulations from EU, Bute could still make its way onto someone’s dinner plate. Kill Buyers are quite clever when it comes to finding ways to cheat the system. The Daily Mail reported that Peter Boddy of West Yorkshire and owner of an abattoir, was also under contract with Aintree Racecourse to dispose of their dead horses. Aintree claims that there is no way any of those dead Thoroughbreds were used for food. One would certainly hope not. Still, it looks very bad when the person you hired to take away the carcasses also happens to own his own abattoir. Those 6 carcasses that were found to contain Bute had to come from somewhere. They may not have come from his abattoir but this just illustrates the scope of the problem.

Under the current system, it is very difficult to trace where a particular batch of meat originated. That makes it even more difficult to be certain that the meat is fit for human consumption. Even if the system within the EU can be fixed, the meat imported from Canada and Mexico will still be a nightmare. They aren’t following the regulations to the letter right now. New regulations are being put into place in July, 2013. I highly doubt they will follow those either. There are too many greedy people who make their living as part of the horse slaughter industry. They will always put profit ahead of safety. Nothing short of large fines and years in prison will change that. All of them will continue denying responsibility and blaming others for the mistakes. Business as usual.


Posted by on February 16, 2013 in Uncategorized


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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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Press Exclusive: A Christmas Miracle

221300_508522909178150_547297385_oJust a few days before Christmas, Mindy Lovell of Transitions Thoroughbreds worked a miracle for one very battered Thoroughbred mare.  Press Exclusive was one of the OTTBs rescued by Mindy from a slaughter holding pen in Canada.  Thousands of U.S Thoroughbreds are sent to slaughter in Canada and Mexico every year.  There is currently talk of bringing the barbaric practice back to the United States because the Pro-Slaughter side claims to be concerned about the horses welfare during transport to the slaughterhouses.

Take a look at the pictures of this mare if you can.  This is what a horse looks like after being transported loose in a trailer designed for cattle. They are packed in too tightly to move or balance properly.  The aggressive horses bite and kick the weaker ones and the haulers aren’t exactly animal lovers.  If the horses fall or go down during the ride, they will likely be trampled to death.  This is NO way to treat any living creature.




How did Press Exclusive end up in this nightmare?  Maybe she wasn’t a good runner?  Wrong!  A quick search on Equibase will show that her career earnings were over $400,000 and her average earnings per start were around $9,000.  If you add in the career earnings of her offspring, the number jumps to around $750,000.

Maybe she wasn’t well-bred and had no value as a broodmare?  Wrong again!  Her pedigree is quite impressive and she had numerous foals, including one named A Notebook.  Her grand-sire was Fleet Nasrullah and there are plenty of other famous names in her bloodlines.  Even with a down economy, one of her fillies just sold for over $10,000 in September.  Press Exclusive is an older mare but she hasn’t reached such an old age that she would be useless.

Her unnamed yearling filly sold for $10,139
Philanthropist – Press Exclusive, by Press Card
(Annahein Racing Stables; Richard G. Hogan, agent) – Colleen Beaumier

You would think that earning over $400,000 might earn her a nice retirement on a farm somewhere.  Whoever sent her to the auction didn’t agree.  There are alternatives to sending a horse to an auction where you know they will likely be bought by a kill buyer and shipped to slaughter.  Find an equine rescue or another program where the horse can go.  Find a person that can be trusted to care for the horse.  If no home can be found, call a vet and have the horse humanely euthanized.  Yes, this costs money and so does burial or having the body hauled away but it gives peace of mind.  The owner knows their horse will never end up in a nightmare like the one that awaited Press Exclusive.  Yet another nightmare make still be unfolding.  Mindy’s vet reports that Press Exclusive may have been nursing a foal as little as 6 weeks ago.  This mare was bred to Milwaukee Brew for a 2012 foal.  The terrible question:  where is that foal now?

Press Exclusive was very lucky.  She found a guardian angel.  If she makes a good recovery, she may finally get retirement on a farm with one of her daughters for company.  She deserves to live out the rest of her days in peace and safety.



“I would also like to thank every single person who has stepped up to help with her costs and are wishing her the best recovery possible and I will do my best to make this happen for her. I would like to add just one more thing for now – PLEASE do NOT send your horses to auction – there are alternatives!! PLEASE take advantage of them!! NO horse deserves this!!” – Mindy Lovell

If you would like to make a donation to help Mindy care for this mare and many others that she has saved, please send donations via PayPal directly to:


Posted by on December 26, 2012 in Uncategorized


I’ll Have Another: Pasture or Plate?

ImageAccording to the Daily Racing Forum, I’ll Have Another is going to be retired from racing and used as a stallion. I’m sure all the fans who watched him win the Kentucky Derby and then the Preakness wish him a safe and happy retirement. He is a magnificent horse and he deserves the best.

He was scratched from the Belmont due to a tendon injury–a wise move by his trainer, Doug O’Neill. I would rather see the horse able to retire in good health instead of having a breakdown on the track because he was pushed too hard. A life of rest and relaxation with plenty of mares to keep him busy. Sounds perfect?

Well, maybe not… I’ll Have Another was bought by Japanese stable and will be leaving for Japan sometime in August after going through the proper quarantine procedures. Once he’s half way across the world, it will be hard for anyone to keep track of him and make certain that he is safe. A career as a breeding stallion in Japan had a tragic end for another Kentucky Derby winner.

Image Ferdinand, winner of the 1986 Kentucky Derby and the 1987 Breeder’s Cup was also shipped off to Japan for a new career as a stud. However, he was unsuccessful as a stallion and within a few years, he could not be found. When his former connections from the United States demanded to see the former champion, they were told that he had been “disposed of” meaning sent to a slaughterhouse in Japan sometime around September of 2002. His career earnings were over 3 million dollars and he had won two of the biggest races in the United States. In the end, none of that mattered. He was in a country where eating horse meat is part of the culture. If he was no longer useful alive, they could make use of his carcass. Unbelievable? Keep reading…

Another Kentucky Derby winner met a similar fate in Sweden. Exceller was retired to stud and moved from place to place until he ended up at a Swedish breeding farm. By this time, he was 24 years old and still in good health. Rumors began circulating that he was sterile and his owner shipped him off to a slaughterhouse. His career earnings were over 1 million dollars and he won several prestigious races before his retirement. None of that mattered in the end. His last owner thought he was no longer useful and sent him off. That is hardly the ending one expects for a champion.

Both of those horses have organizations bearing their names that now work to rescue horses and educate the public about the dangers of the horse slaughter pipeline and the cruelty of the slaughterhouses.

The Exceller Fund can be found at

Friends of Ferdinand can be found at

Image I sincerely hope that I’ll Have Another will enjoy a happy and peaceful retirement. He has earned it. Still, I and many others would feel safer if he was not living out his life in a country where horses are regarded as food when they have outlived their u$efullne$$ to their owners.


Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


A Rescuer’s Heart

People who don’t do animal rescue often have a hard time understanding those of us who spend long hours and sleepless nights working to help animals. We don’t make money. In fact, we usually spend most of the money we have. We don’t get lots of attention and on the rare occasion when the media does turn up, they frequently lump us all into the same category; crazy animal right activists. We usually spend more time with the animals than we do with other people. We get bitten, kicked, scratched, slimed, trampled, etc. We see things that would cause a normal person to have a nervous breakdown; slaughterhouses, abuse, cruelty, and animals with such horrific injuries that it is amazing that they are able to go on living. It takes a strong stomach, nerves of steel, and an unbreakable heart.

You don’t do this for headlines. You don’t do it to become famous and have people follow you. You do it to help the animals because they cannot help themselves. They cannot even ask for help. You do to give a voice to those who suffer in silence. They trust us with their lives and too many people abuse and betray that trust.

If they come to you broken and injured, you heal them. Some injuries are physical but others are mental. An abused animal may take a very long time to trust anyone. Those that have been severely abused may never trust anyone again. It is much harder to save one that has learned to hate people. It can be done but it takes a great deal of time and infinite patience. If they refuse to trust you, treating their injuries becomes much more difficult. They don’t understand that you’re trying to help them and they will fight you every step of the way. If you’re able to save them and keep them alive, that is the happy ending. Seeing them them able to have a life is the reward and they are grateful in ways that cannot be explained to anyone who has not been through it. If you have saved an animal’s life, they will do things for you that they would not do for anyone else.

Recovery may take months or even years. Hours spent nursing the animal back to health with veterinary care, physical therapy, food, shelter, and anything else that they need to help them heal. Some of them may fully recover and be able to start over again. Depending on their injuries, others may recover enough to enjoy retirement but they are never the same. They are left with scars or permanent damage that prevents them from jumping, running, or doing what they did before they were hurt. You try to find something else that they can do even if it’s something as simple as being a companion for another horse.

Animals may need continued help from their rescuers and in some cases, from their own kind. They can help each other in ways that we could never help them. If a person is blind, they may be helped by a guide dog. First the dog has to be trained to help the person and then the blind person learns how to handle the dog. So how do you help guide a blind horse? Another horse answered that question for me. While I was trying to figure out what to do, Amigo solved the problem by staying next to Sylvester, the blind horse. He guided him through the pasture. He protected him from the bigger horses. They became inseparable. Amigo guarding Sylvester (blind horse in blue halter)Amigo knew Sylvester couldn’t see so he became his eyes and Sylvester followed him. Blind faith. He did what he needed to do. No questions asked. No training required.

There are some wounds that cannot be healed. That is the darker side of rescue. You spend time healing one injury and another one develops in the mean time. When the first one has healed, the second one emerges. Sometimes you cannot save their lives. The best you can offer them is a peaceful death. Humane euthanasia instead of a slaughterhouse. If they are in terrible pain with no hope of recovery, the only thing you can do is help them cross the Rainbow Bridge. Instead of giving them a new life, you settle for ending their suffering. It is bittersweet and heartbreaking but you let them go. Your heart shatters into a thousand pieces and you swear to yourself that you will never do another rescue again. The pain seems too great but the moment you see another animal that needs help you will do everything all over again.

Rest In Peace

Crippled at the racetrack, dumped into a kill pen, and rescued too late. He had foundered by the time he was pulled from the auction. Instead of a brutal death in a slaughterhouse, he was humanely euthanized in the horse country of Virginia where he spent his last moments surrounded by people who loved him. He deserved a long life. The best anyone could do was to give him a peaceful death.

You want to save all of them but no one can do it. There are so many and they are everywhere. The best way to help them is for rescuers to join together and network. Everyone does what they can. Some people work with the animals. Others donate money or provide supplies. You can volunteer your time. You can share their stories and network for them. Everyone can do something. However, certain things are NOT helpful…

Rescue wars are pointless and counter-productive. Once the mudslinging begins, everyone looks bad and it takes attention away from the animals. If you don’t want to work with a certain person, then you shouldn’t. If you don’t want to work with a particular group, leave and find another or work on your own. There is no room for big egos in rescue. Glory seekers need not apply.


Posted by on June 4, 2012 in Uncategorized


Penny Chenery speaks out on horse racing, drugs and the Triple Crown

Tuesday's Horse


“I think it is regrettable. And it isn’t the horse’s fault and this is probably a very good horse. I don’t know Mr. Reddam personally but I think he should be embarrassed that the trainer he has chosen does not have a clean record.”

So states Penny Chenery, referring to the owner of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another, who on June 9th will attempt to take American horse racing’s Triple Crown by winning the last leg, the Belmont Stakes.

If successful, I’ll Have Another will be the first horse to take the Triple Crown since Affirmed did it in 1978, guided by a teenaged Steve Cauthen. Secretariat won the Triple Crown in 1973, famously winning the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths.

I’ll Have Another is owned by Paul Reddam and trained by Doug “Milkshake” O’Neill. O’Neill has a steady history of drug violations…

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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Uncategorized