80% of Americans Strongly Oppose Slaughter of Horses for Human Consumption

A break from our regular programming folks, to highlight pending legislation that I hope many of you will support, namely the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 2966 and S. 1176 ).

The ASPCA released results of a survey in which Americans strongly opposed horse slaughter. From the press release: The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced in a newly released poll conducted by Lake Research Partners that 80 percent of American voters are opposed to the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption. The nationwide survey reveals that Americans oppose horse slaughter overwhelmingly regardless of their gender, political affiliation, whether they live in an urban or rural area, or their geographic location. Further, it confirms that a vast majority of horse owners are also against the slaughtering of our nation’s equines.

Read the full release here: ASPCA Research Confirms Americans Strongly Oppose Slaughter of Horses for Human Consumption

If slaughter could be done humanely, and if the slaughter pipeline was regulated so injured horses weren’t sent to auctions, stuffed onto double decker trucks designed for cattle and shipped for days without food and water, then frankly I’d be all for it.   I’m not opposed to the idea of slaughtering horses.  I am opposed to the cruelty of the current US system, and frankly, the economics of this tiny industry are not likely to be swayed by public opinion as has been the case for the processors of cattle, pigs and chickens, all of which have seen improvement in the treatment of animals.

I hope you ‘ll take a second to call or write your Congressmen and women today, and ask them to support the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.


OTTBs are Awesome. OTTBS are Disposable.

Two big stories in OTTB land broke today, one awesome, and one awful.

First, the awesome:  Boyd Martin’s OTTB Neville Bardos was voted USEF Horse of the Year.  This amazing creature was a failed race horse, and was headed for the slaughterhouse.  However, Boyd scooped him up, and now the horse is a favorite to make the US Olympic 3 Day team.  As if that wasn’t enough, Neville Bardos also made a dramatic recovery from serious injuries sustained in a barn fire.  If that isn’t thoroughbred heart, I don’t know what is.

Here they are, running XC:

Now for the awful.

More than 100 thoroughbreds never got a fair shot at a second career, despite the fact that the young woman who took them from the track promised their owners she would find them good homes.  She posed as a rescuer, handing out promotional items stamped with slogans promoting second careers for race horses, but turned around and sent the horses straight to slaughter, even after accepting money and feed given by the owners to help her efforts.

“Those crazy people don’t have to look for their horse anymore because he is in a box in a freezer and thanks for the money and the feed.”

At only 23, Kelsey Lefever has managed to achieve several lifetimes’ worth of evil.  You can read the full extent of her crimes (she’s been charged with multiple felonies) on the Paulick Report: Every One of Them is Dead.

Kelsey Lefever, kill buyer, and charged with fraud and multiple felonies

Kelsey Lefever, kill buyer, and charged with fraud and multiple felonies

She doesn’t look evil, or untrustworthy.  This isn’t the face you’d ever imagine on a person that would take an animal you care about, for which you’re trying to find a home, and send it immediately to a grisly death.

But you can’t judge a book by its cover.

“I killed every one of those f—ing horses, over 120 of them, if they only knew. I only have five left and the ones that you have. Every one of them is dead. I don’t even know their names and there wasn’t a goddamn thing they could do about it because they gave me those horses.”

– Kelsey Lefever.

Finally, I leave you with an impassioned plea, and some very good points, from Allie Conrad, a tireless CANTER volunteer and long time rescuer of and advocate for ex-racehorses:

I wish we could nail all of the people stealing horses from our racetracks under false pretenses and selling them direct to slaughter for a measly 300$ in profit per horse with widespread articles, shares on Twitter and Facebook and photos of their faces.  Unfortunately, we usually can’t unless there is a public record of their absolutely soulless transgressions.

Thankfully in regards to a case that occupied a lot of my free time this past spring, someone pressed charges on this vile creature, Kelsey Lefevre, so her name could be publicized. Remember this face! Remember that for every horse you give away, no matter how pretty the girl who shows up is, no matter how sweet they seem, no matter if they have kids in tow, no matter if they say they are a grandmother looking for a horse for their grandchild–NO MATTER WHAT, you MUST check references and you must be prepared to listen to your gut and just say no if you feel uneasy.  You are better off putting an animal down humanely before trusting that it will land on it’s feet with someone who you do not trust.  Checking references means asking people for their vet or practice name, and obtaining the phone number yourself after checking the validity of the identity of the person who wants to give your horse a home.  It means calling and speaking to the vet and asking questions like “how long has X been a client? How many horses does X have? How would you rate X’s fencing? Would you give her a horse of yours?”.  You may get answers that require you to read between the lines, but if you’ve existed with any success long enough to have horses, you certainly have a “gut instinct”.  Follow it! Your horses’ life may depend on it.

We have heard every vile story in the book over the past 15 years.

We have had women who borrow disabled children from neighbors to obtain “therapy horses”, only to sell them to New Holland or straight to slaughter.

We have had countless people show up asking for “4H horses”.  (I, for one, have never met a 4H’er looking for a horse)

We’ve heard the “camp horse” angle.

We’ve heard the sick daughter angle and her dying wish is a horse of her own.

We’ve heard the “we’re really broke but will give him a great home!” angle.

We’ve just heard it all, and sometimes it’s hard to remember that not everybody has.  Please tell any person you know at the track, any person you know with horses, that these people are out there, and they are out there in droves.  They WANT TO TAKE YOUR HORSES AND KILL THEM FOR A PROFIT.  Remember that.  Kelsey’s head has been cut off, but three more will spring up in her place, and they will have t-shirts and coffee mugs, and brochures to convince you that their dimpled smile would NEVER let anything bad happen to your horses.  They are liars and they are laughing every time they take a horse that you help load on their trailer so they can deliver it straight to it’s very cruel death. 

Want to protect your horses in the best way you can? Keep them for life.  For lots of folks, they can’t pull this off.  But they can pull off developing a relationship with a verifiable, well-reputed Non-Profit working near you, setting aside money to care for your horse and donating it, and 1 year worth of expenses to that group.

No doubt that lots of folks knew exactly what Kelsey was up to.  Those are the folks that were looking for a cheap, fast way to dump problem animals (problems because they simply existed and weren’t fast enough) and wash their hands (and consciences!) of it.  But, there were lots of folks who thought they were doing the right thing.  They trusted a cute brunette who handed them a mug and a magnet touting her amazing skills in finding homes for horses, and those people are no doubt reeling from the fact that their animals–the animals who trusted them–are dead from a violent death. I cannot imagine their fury, because if it’s anything like mine, they are physically ill and ready to kill.

“You are responsible forever, for those you have tamed”– St. Exupery

Protect your animals, you are all they have.




The impossibly beautiful Hope & Horses calendar, featuring rescues from the Camelot auction. Order by clicking on this image.

It’s that time of year – we’re all in the holiday mood, we’re doing some extra shopping, and parties abound. At the same time, food pantries everywhere have thin inventories, and animal shelters and rescues are in dire straights. Most people’s budgets are likewise limited. Giving can be tough.This year, as I was planning a little party for my fellow barn-mates, I floated the idea of doing a gift exchange. Visions of heaps of horse-y goodies danced in my mind. Then Christy said “Why don’t we do something for a rescue? Have you seen the video of the young Thoroughbred the Hooved Animal Rescue & Protection Society (HARPS) just rescued?”

Really, all of us have all the stuff we need, and pretty much everything we want stuffed into our tack trunks and hanging from our pegs in the tack aisle. Our horses are fat, sleek, shiny and loved. Still, I demurred. Fundraising, despite the first three letters of that word, isn’t terribly fun.

But then I saw the video. And got on board real quick.

Instead of gifts, I asked my guests to contribute what they would have spent on a doo-dad to a donation to HARPS. They responded and together we have raised $500 to off-set some of the expenses HARPS has incurred in the rescue and subsequent care of young Tiger. $500!!! Yay!  I’m going to to visit him this week and drop off the donation, and look forward to updating you on how he’s doing.

So, reallocating some funds and not buying something you don’t need is one way to free up budget for a little charitable giving. Buying some of the cool things the charities are offering is another. Here’s my favorite story of the season this year.

The Facebook Group Camelot Horse Weekly has more than 26,000 members, who weekly work together to spread word about the horses sold for meat at the Camelot auction. The auction operator is one of the very few who works with the rescue community, and the relationship is mutual and symbiotic. And almost every week, that pen is cleared, and new homes are found for the horses who, unaided, would be trucked off to a slaughterhouse. And slaughtered.

One key reason why the Camelot group has been so successful is a woman named Sarah Andrews.  She’s an equine photographer, and the author of the Rock & Racehorses blog.  She’s also a proud OTTB owner, and she’s been on my blogroll since this blog started, and in my RSS reader prior to that.  She’s awesome.

The pictures she takes of the horses in the pen at Camelot are heartrending and beautiful.  She gathered her favorites together and published a calendar, with proceeds benefitting One Horse At A Time, a rescue that takes in a lot of Camelot horses, including some of the most unwanted of the unwanted – the aged, the infirm, the really lame.

Sarah recently presented OHAAT with the first check from the sales of the calendar.  The proceeds?  $26,000 !!!!  Twenty six large! And there’s more to come, especially if you order a copy or two for yourself and some friends today.

Every little bit counts.  Please give to a local rescue today, or order one of those gorgeous calendars from Sarah.  (I did!)

Important: Congress just passed a law lifting the ban on the slaughter of horses in the US, plants are coming on line here in the States. We can expect that horses will start to be slaughtered here in the US in about a month or two. Awesome. Way to go Congress. The American public doesn’t support slaughter but foreign business interests do, and their lobbyists line your pockets. Nice work, jerks.