Did You Know...

Broken Leg

This neglected horse suffered for days with a severely broken leg, left unattended by uncaring owners. Horses left out to pasture must be checked on daily and any potentially hazardous objects should immediately be removed. Horse ownership is a tremendous responsibility (and expense) and should not be taken lightly. A horse is not a "toy" or an "all-terrain vehicle" to be noticed only when it is wanted for a ride.

Trampled Horse

Stock trailers designed for cattle and swine (pot-belly semi-trailers called "pots") are often used to transport horses bound for slaughter (thank goodness, HorseAid supported state-by-state legislation is working to change this!). Not only are the ceilings too low for most horses to raise their heads to a comfortable level, but the trailers are often overloaded to the point that the animals must be forced inside with whips and / or electric cattle prods. Some horses (especially young foals) slip and fall where they are trampled to death by their terrified fellows.

Tennessee Walker

These are the hooves of a Tennessee Walker show horse (also known as 'Big Lick' horses; those referred to as 'Plantation' walkers do not have special shoes). Many people do not realize that the racking 'Big Lick' gait is not natural. These horses are shod with heavy platforms and "sored" with painful caustic agents which are then irritated by chains placed around the fetlocks; this causes the fancy, high prancing action (and scarring).

HorseAid is also against:

Another HorseAid Success Story...

The call came into the HorseAid "Hotline" around 9:00 p.m. one warm California night, "I am at the L.A. Horse and Mule Auction, and there is a stud foal here that broke its leg. The people here are chasing him around for laughs, it's the most disgusting and cruel thing I have ever seen - PLEASE do something!"

Since this obviously seemed like criminal animal abuse, we immediately called the state empowered animal control agency in that area. We got a recording saying they would be open in the morning.

We next tried calling L.A. Horse & Mule, but all we got there was another recording telling us what the hours of operation were. Since some sort of immediate action was necessary that night, we sent the "on-call" HorseAid representative to the site and waited.

Our HorseAid rep called about an hour later and said that people were still talking about that stud foal, but the foal had already been sold and hauled away by the time she arrived, and was no longer on the premises. All that remained of the foal was its blood. We decided that this operation needed a closer look, so we decided to go out the next week with a camera.

"Auction night" was held on another warm spring night, and we were there -- with cameras and notepad. Injured Mule What we saw was truly appalling: horses that were sick, horses that were injured (one mule had a very severe eye injury that obviously required immediate medical attention), almost all the horses were very underweight. When the auction began, we noticed that the killer buyers were buying up most of the horses (very cheaply), but occasionally a nice horse (in good weight) would go through and fetch a decent price. When we asked a person who seemed like a "regular" what the average selling prices were, he responded with; "that depends on if you want to ride it or eat it". Some of the other (not so nice) "regulars" started to ask us what we were doing taking pictures and notes. Things started to look pretty grim, and since the horse part of the auction was over, we left (they sold tack after the horses were all bid out).

At the time, we were being interviewed by L.A. Times staff writer Dennis McLellan on HorseAid's involvement in reforming the horse slaughter trade, we asked if he might be interested in the auction connection to the industry, and he expressed an interest in that aspect.

The next time we visited the auction (two weeks after our first visit), we again saw the same conditions, only this time, there were some severely injured horses (one already in the first stages of shock). We called Mr. McLellan from our cell phone, told him what we had seen, and he agreed to dispatch a Times photographer (Mindy Schauer) to the L.A. Horse & Mule Auction. When she arrived and started taking pictures, all hell broke loose and we were soon faced with some pretty angry men telling us to "get the hell out, them's our horses and we can do what we want with 'em!". To Ms. Schauer's credit, she just kept on taking photographs amidst all the turmoil.

The following week, with a folder full of photographs HorseAid had taken at the auction, along with the statements of several HorseAid volunteers who had been witnesses, we confronted the operators of L.A. Horse & Mule (after some great difficulty in contacting them), and asked for some obvious and much needed reform in the way the animals were put through auction.

We also asked that they no longer accept animals that were underweight and/or injured. We made it quite clear that we were fully committed to resorting to legal action in the event our recommendations were not accepted. Some reference was also made to the upcoming L.A. Times article on HorseAid, and their presence at the previous week's auction.

After some discussion, the operators of L.A. Horse & Mule agreed not to take any more injured or drastically underweight animals. We told them HorseAid would keep auditing the auction to see that their verbal agreement was being adhered to.

A few weeks later (on Wednesday, April 17, 1991), the story broke in the L.A. Times (Orange County Edition) with the heading of "HORSE: Reining on Their Parade", under Dennis McLellan's byline in which he covered HorseAid's efforts in exposing both the slaughter trail and some of the auctions that placed them there (including L.A. Horse & Mule), and the appalling conditions the animals were kept in. The feature generated so much interest, the L.A. Times ran it again in all its Metro Editions the following week.

HorseAid at the Auction

At the L.A. Horse & Mule Auction (LA Times Photo - Mindy Schauer)

The story was very well received and (along with our previous meeting with the operators) had an immediate impact on the animal operation at the L.A. Horse & Mule Auction (at that time, the largest "regular" equine auction in L.A. and Orange counties). The next time we visited it in May of 1991, we were greeted (as were all the people attending the auction) with this sign:


Score one for HorseAid, the LA Times (Dennis McLellan), and the animals!

And in fact they did start turning away horses that were injured or underweight (we made arrangements to purchase some of those 'turn away' horses ourselves). We later heard that the owners sold out to someone else, and every time we visited it, there were less and less horses, but they were all in pretty decent shape and weight, and they brought a decent price. Never again did we see the misery that used to be the accepted norm at L.A. Horse & Mule go onto that auction floor.

In late November 1996, we decided to "stop by" and see how things were going (it had been about three years since our last visit). The sign (very faded by now) was still up, but the horses were no more. When we inquired about where the horses were, several people there said that "some animal activists group called horses aid" had made the owners "clean up their act" to the point that it was no longer profitable to sell horses on a regular basis, and now all they sold at L.A. Horse & Mule was horse tack and Western wear.


The killer buyers are long gone, but the sign remains the same (11/96)

We walked out into the cool night air...feeling pretty good: it was just starting to rain, and I thought to myself, ...how appropriate.

(Originally written for the "HorseAid Update" by Enzo Giobbé, former I.G.H.A. CEO, and HorseAid co-founder)

And Yet Another HorseAid Success Story...
(but with a downside)

September 16, 1998, was an unusually mild day for the area north of Paola, Kansas, where Joe Grant lived. Grant, who was new to the area, went to pay Neuman Stern a neighborly visit to introduce himself.

After knocking on the farmhouse door and finding no one at home, Grant went to see if he could find anyone on the premises. While the farm was empty of any humans (Stern did not live on the property), what Grant did find both shocked and sickened him.

He discovered one stallion trapped in a collapsed barn (named "Clicker" by his HorseAid rescuers because of the sound his horribly overgrown hooves made when he tried to walk), and several mares that were so severely foundered they couldn't walk.

There was also clear evidence of skeletal remains that were obviously equine in origin. And there were ponies everywhere, foraging amidst debris, old car parts, and broken fencing looking for food and water.

Grant called the Humane Society of Miami County, and the local sheriff's office. The sheriff's office sent out a deputy to take a report and the Humane Society called the Humane Society of the Heartland (HSH) in Olathe, Kansas, the nearest Humane Society to the Stern farm (where HorseAid Kansas/Missouri was also headquartered).

The Kansas Horse Council then called the Kansas/Missouri HorseAid Chapter and asked for HorseAid's help in rescuing the entire herd of Hackney ponies located on Neuman Stern's farm, as the Humane Society of the Heartland had only one officer, and a few elderly volunteers who were not up to the hard physical tasks required for this rescue. The HSH was headquartered in a private residence at the time, with no horse keeping facilities.

The Kansas/Missouri HorseAid Chapter alerted HorseAid founders Enzo Giobbe and Staci Wilson to the situation, was given carte blanche on funds and resources, and authorized to proceed with all necessary speed.

Two days later, Stern was served with a warrant, and a team of sheriff's deputies, HorseAid volunteers, humane society volunteers, and many, many others, entered Neuman Stern's farm.

Every place they looked they found ponies needing help. All were undernourished, some had foundered to the point of not being able to walk, and one poor filly had a broken leg.

HorseAid's on-site volunteers, led by KS/MO HorseAid Chapter Coordinator, Becky Burns (affectionately called "Pony Mom" by the locals) immediately set up a triage with about a half-dozen HorseAid volunteer veterinary doctors to assess each ponies' condition and the medical urgency of its injuries.

They were then marked with non-toxic marking pen as to the severity, urgency, and required medical treatment(s). Later, they were fitted with halters having an identifying ID number and medical code.

This was a joint rescue effort of HorseAid (the lead on-site rescue organization), who provided all the rescued ponies with SafeHouses, feed, clean water, medications, veterinary/trailer/tractor services, and processed all the adoptions and placements, and the Humane Society of the Heartland, who collected donations of money, feed, supplies, and was also present at all Stern farm related court appearances (accompanied by a HorseAid volunteer attorney).

Some much needed assistance was also provided by the Kansas Horse Council and the University of Kansas Veterinarian School, and many unnamed and unsung volunteers. This was an unbelievably huge endeavor that could not have been successfully accomplished without an army of volunteers on-site.

Local Kansas businesses also pitched in with many goods and services. The Home Depot in Olathe, KS, donated all the needed fencing and building materials, Stanley Equipment of Louisburg, KS, donated the use of a much needed commercial tractor, and many big rig truckers on dead head runs helped with hay, supplies, and equipment deliveries.

In all, 240 ponies (the HSH erroneously reported that there were 242) were found on the 64 barren acres that comprised Neuman Stern's farm. News of what was found on the Stern farm that day soon made its way in the mainstream national and international media.

The Kansas City Star gave this equine abuse case considerable coverage (something big city newspapers rarely do), and was awarded the prestigious "HorseAid Equine Awareness in Media Award" for their considerable efforts.

The story was also extensively covered by MSNBC.com, and the TV show Hard Copy (Hard Copy's TV feature piece only mentioned HorseAid in their rescue coverage, which then caused an unfortunate rift between the HSH and HorseAid).

Eleven days later, Stern was arrested and charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty. Two days after his arrest, he pleaded guilty to all charges, and on November 22, he was sentenced by Miami County District Court Judge Stephen D. Hill to three years in jail (as far as we can determine, the longest jail term ever administered in an equine abuse case in the U.S. at the time).

At the sentencing, Judge Hill asked Mr. Stern how long the pony found trapped in the collapsed barn had been there. Six months, Stern said. Hill paused, and then issued the three year jail sentence saying "I want you to think about that horse that was trapped in that building for six months. I want you to think about that while you're over there in jail, but rest assured that you are going to be treated better than you treated your horses."

As part of the sentence Judge Hill handed down, Mr. Stern was not to own or care for any animal ever again, and all the ponies were to be awarded to the Humane Society of the Heartland, with the court's understanding and direction that they would all immediately and unequivocally be donated to HorseAid, which HSH complied with via signed contracts.

All of the remaining 231 Stern farm Hackney ponies were now under full control and to be cared for solely by HorseAid for the rest of their natural lives. This also included all the foals that the seized pregnant mares were carrying.

Further, Mr. Stern was to pay full restitution to the parties incurring expenses for the rescue of his abused animals (as the expenses were a direct result of his negligence).

However, as of September 15, 2003, HorseAid had yet to receive any form of restitution or reimbursement from Mr. Stern, the Humane Society of the Heartland, or anyone else involved with us in this massive rescue.

Since being donated to us, HorseAid, through its founders and volunteers, has been paying for almost all feed, vet, and incidental expenses involving the Miami County Poniessm, including the vet requested sorting panels (purchased from the HSH) which alone cost us over $10K. After all the ponies were removed from the Stern farm, these panels were resold to help pay for feed and veterinary services for the rescued ponies.

HorseAid alone bore almost the entire up-front hard cash costs associated with this massive equine rescue from day one.

And to add insult to injury, Mr. Stern was released from jail after serving just 30 days of his three year sentence (ostensibly to care for his aged mother)..

The rescued herd is a Hackney/Hackney mix (with a value exceeding $200,000 according to the HSH appraisal) and had been more or less "free-ranging" without much care for almost ten years (borne out by the many skeletal pony remains found on Neuman Stern's property).

Sadly, of the original 240 ponies, 9 had to be humanly euthanized due to having very severe injuries and/or quality of life issues.

HorseAid had feared a higher mortality rate given the condition of these ponies when we rescued them. Our volunteer veterinary doctors, (with an assist from the University of Kansas Veterinarian School), truly did a Herculean accomplishment in bringing this severely abused Hackney pony herd back to satisfactory health and weight.

The USDA has stated that this was the largest number of equines ever involved in a single horse rescue operation in recorded U.S. history.

The HorseAid mare "Lady" (one of the Hackney ponies from this HorseAid rescue), whom a tiny group of malcontent self-appointed "horse rescue experts" on the Web and in KS/MO so vehemently championed her adopter's "good care and horse-keeping facilities", and then did everything possible to thwart our efforts in removing her from what HorseAid considered an abusive situation (as legally allowed by our signed adoption contract), died of starvation at the hands of that very same "good and caring adopter" before we could find and remove her (how ironic, considering she had already survived the horrors of Neuman Stern's farm).

No loss of a HorseAid equine was ever as grievous a loss to the founders of HorseAid as the loss of this one single mare.

"Miami County Ponies", "Miami County Pony", "Miami County Pony Rescue", "Miami County Rescue Pony", and "Miami County Rescue Ponies", are copyrighted (© 1998) terms and service marks (SM) of IGHA/HorseAid, All Rights Reserved.

A few more of the Miami County Rescue Poniessm


The HorseAid gelding Scout (Becky Burns pictured right)


The HorseAid mares "Lightning" and "Honey" with their new foals

New HA Baby!

Another new HorseAid baby!
(foaled after the rescue)

Western Horseman

Western Horseman article on this rescue (April 1999 issue)

The New West?

In the "New West", horses are fast becoming either status symbols or steaks

The horse trade is booming. A 2002 USDA census revealed over 6 million horses graze somewhere in America, an estimated 32% more than a decade ago. 11,000 horses were sold last year in Montana alone, over half of them through public auctions in Billings. "Prospects, loose horses and brood mares" are sold first. Cowboys and trainers bid on a few but most are "going to Paris" after a visit to one of the two remaining USDA approved horse slaughterhouses in the U.S.

Recently, a reporter from the London (U.K.) based "The Economist" reported on a visit to a Billings auction: "A matched pair of older driving horses come in; even out of harness they stay side by side throughout the entire bidding. At the last minute, a buyer spares them from becoming dinner for Belgians by outbidding a "killer buyer". But a wild horse with deformed front legs gets no such reprieve and goes for $75 to the killer. A good number are weary, every muscle sunken, eyes dripping."

"In the afternoon the more desirable horses (from a human point of view) are brought in, some even ridden by their owners. At the end of the day, 275 horses have been sold, at a top price of $2,800." (Compared to $10,000-$15,000 for pedigreed horses a decade ago.)

Unfortunately, not many of the new owners purchasing those horses, will work or even ride them. "The horse trade" has become a metaphor for what is happening all over the great American West. Horses, like the ranch land from which they spring, are being bought for their looks, not their usefulness. Breeders of heart-halting beauty now fetch a small ransom for their horses; looks rather than utility has become the prime attraction. Likewise, few Quarter horses are now bought for their cow-instinct or stamina. Instead they are being turned into living lawn ornaments for the five-acre rancher with an office job in Helena or Boise... They have become the latest status symbols of the city-dweller's decorative New West.

The End of the Trail...

From Red Ribbon to Red Meat

By Enzo Giobbé

WARNING! This section ("The End of the Trail...") is about the equine slaughter trade and has photographic / video links that may not be suitable for young adults or people extremely sensitive (like us) to equine abuse. These links are noted with a red *.

Red ribbon winner...

From this...

Most of the often circulated undercover video tape* and still photographs taken in slaughter plants of horses being slaughtered originated with HorseAid. One has only to view these gruesome images to see that there is nothing humane or "professional" about the horse slaughter business (or "trade" as they like to call it).

In 2002, 42,000 horses met their end in the two USDA horsemeat packing plants left in America (and another 29,000 were shipped live to Canada for slaughter). The U.S. businesses shipped over $40 million worth of horsemeat to Belgium, France, Switzerland, Japan, and Mexico.

The prime candidate for slaughter, say killer buyers, is a 10-12-year-old well-muscled Quarter Horse. The hind quarters are chilled and flown to Europe and the Far East; the front quarters are minced and sent by boat.

Robin Cook and Staci Wilson

Staci Wilson, HorseAid co-founder (pictured left, with author Robin Cook, M.D.), interviewed the best selling novelist as he described his undercover book researching visit to a slaughterhouse as "the most horrible thing I have ever seen, both as a medical doctor, and as a human being." Just imagine what it must be like for the animals there (the only ones who don't leave at the end of the day).


One typical scenario of a horse sold for "rendering" (notice how sanitized 'rendering' sounds, instead of "We're going to take your horse, slit its throat while it's still alive and let it slowly and painfully *bleed to death.") goes like this:

The horse is usually loaded onto a cattle type transport truck (only a few states have any regulations about the transportation of slaughter bound horses -- and the "Commercial Transportation of Horses for Slaughter Act of 1995" has, so far, done nothing to remedy this), sometimes its mouth is duct taped shut and sometimes even its eyes are covered with cloth and then duct taped over.

If it is not going to a local (and mostly illicit) "mom and pop" animal slaughter operation (which we call the "Pink Market"), it will face three or four days of overcrowding (with no food and little or no water), in which some of the horses (as many as 15%) may die before reaching their officially scheduled date with death.

Even more may suffer injuries that would ordinarily prove to be fatal, but they will still be hauled to be slaughtered with these injuries usually left untreated. The newly proposed "Downed Animal Act" (S. 1298 and H.R. 2519) recently passed by the U.S. Senate and now awaiting a House vote, would do virtually nothing to remedy this industry-wide accepted practice with slaughter bound horses.

If they are in a "possum/pot-belly" trailer (or "pot" as they are often called), as many as 60 horses or 70 ponies (the average load is 45 animals, but most states impose no limits on the number of slaughter-bound horses transported in each trailer -- in October 1991, a semi-trailer 'pot' overturned on U.S. 281 in Edgeley, ND, it was carrying 78 horses, almost half died in the accident. The truck was in route from Sisseton, SD to a slaughter plant in Canada) may be packed into a space designed for no more than 40 head of cattle (electronic cattle "prods" are sometimes used to force the horses into these overcrowded double-deck trailers).

They will not be able to fully stand or move around much (having only a maximum of 5' 6" to 5' 10" of headroom), to fall is usually to die where they lay. After suffering in agony for three or four days, they will reach their final destination ...the very first time they leave this trailer will be the very last time they leave any trailer -- this IS the end of the trail for these forgotten animals.

How to filet a horse

...to this

After reaching their final destination, the horses will be off loaded into a holding pen (brand inspectors are currently mandated to inspect horses and ponies for visible brands at this point -- those with registered brands will be further checked on before they go any further, but this isn't always done).

Horses are also supposed to be scanned for microchips at the plants. Those horses that have a microchip embedded, are required to be pulled from the line per USDA food purity regulations, but again, this is not always the case. NONE of the penned horses are fed or watered.

Next, they are herded into a long chute that leads to the "Kill Box" and the pneumatic "captive bolt" gun containing the final destiny we humans have created for them. The chute may be anything from wood railing to steel sided, the 'shooter' awaits at the end.

The shooter will try and take aim as best he or she can, trying to hit the panicked and thrashing animal in the forehead (between, and slightly above its eyes) for a 'clean hit' (the object is not actually to kill, but only to stun the animal), but more often than not, the bolt will not hit its intended mark, and must be brutally slammed into the skull as many as four or five times before the horse goes down (and even when it does, it's almost never a paralyzing stun).

As the horse falls* (after a sickening to watch reflexive pain jump) from the induced shock of having the bolt penetrate 4" into its brain, the front or side of the chute or box is opened, and the horse physically pushed forward (in a side box, the side rail is lowered) to make way for the next horse ...meanwhile, this once magnificent animal, knowing it has been mortally wounded and must escape, goes to the only defense it knows against this unknown foe -- flight.

It gallops at full speed toward the safe pastures of its youth, to a time when a human hand held treats, not death. But now, helplessly lying on its side on the blood and urine spattered floor of the slaughterhouse, its once fast and elegant legs just thrash helplessly in the air, the beat of its fleet hooves heard only in distant memory.

The slaughterhouse workers, seeing this once powerful and majestic animal in its last gallop of death, callously cheer it on. The noise is deafening -- the smell even worse, the horse has been urinating all over itself since first being placed into the chute, and the smell of acrid urine, manure, and blood -- all mixed together, makes the senses reel.

If the animal is lucky, it dies quickly...if not (and most don't), it will still be hoisted up onto the knacker's hook*, and be rendered while still alive* (sometimes the horse is just hoisted up tail first, its carotid artery cutand allowed to hang there until it bleeds to death -- most foreign horsemeat buyers prefer their "biftek de cheval" processed this way).

What has this animal done to deserve this? This was not a horse that was just found wandering about -- this was a horse that once loved and was probably loved in return by a human. What could this animal possibly have done to warrant this fate?

Somewhere, its former owner looks out onto grassy fields once reverberating with the beat of this horse's hooves -- the horse had not forgotten, but the human has...

Horse Butcher Shop

to this...

Find out "When is it Horse Abuse?"

War is not healthy for...

Based on the most reliable information available to us in 2003 world-wide, HorseAid estimates that since the turn of the century, nearly a half-billion horses, ponies, mules, and donkeys have perished globally as a direct result of declared wars, "police actions", insurrections, revolutions, and other such violent hostilities (over three and a half million in WW I alone). Those that didn't perish on the field of battle or as a direct result of the hostilities were slaughtered for food or raw materials. From the Boxer Rebellion to Iraq -- war has indeed taken its horrible toll on both innocent horse and human alike.

Are You Part of the Solution, Or..?

"Perhaps more than any other creature, the horse straddles a dual existence: Horses are both wild and
tame, powerful and powerless, radically different from humans, yet they live in a world of our making."
-- Sharon Johnston, Founder, Horse Power International.

Horsemeat at a Left Bank butcher shop

Biftek de Cheval
(photo taken in Paris, France by HorseAid)

And that "world of our making" is mostly economic. Did you know that in foreign markets, a pound of horsemeat ("biftek de cheval") usually sells for more than a pound of filet mignon does in the U.S.? Horse abuse/welfare is an economic issue more than anything else (excepting serial horse abuse).

Most people blame the slaughterhouses for the inhumane suffering horses go though on their way to being 'rendered'. The truth is, the horse didn't send itself to be slaughtered, its human owner did. The same holds true with the PMU industry. As long as women continue to use organic Premarin, horses will suffer, when they stop, so will the suffering. Remove the profit, and you remove the suffering.

Don't sell your horse for below meat market prices. Let us rephrase that: DON'T SELL YOUR HORSE FOR BELOW MEAT MARKET PRICES!

Don't donate your horse to a "handicapped riding program" (or other such ilk) unless you thoroughly check them out first. In most cases, the only "riding" your horse will do, will be its last -- to the slaughterhouse.

The same goes for a small number of the so-called "horse rescue nets" (one of these "nets" had as its mentor a woman who sold many of her rescues to slaughter sources, and even defended the practice when confronted about it -- are we missing something here, or are they? We got on her bad side when we caught her trying to scam us for a few thousand dollars to feed 20+"rescued" ponies that didn't exist). 

A few years back, as two horses were being transported by one of these "rescue nets", the volunteer horse hauler/transporter sold the horses she was supposed to transport (and rescue), and then tried to cover it up. Luckily, she bragged about it to someone and was found out. Don't let this happen to your horse!

Not every horse rescue or handicapped riding program is a scam, and not every horse rescue or handicapped riding program is legitimate. It's your horse, so it's your responsibility to check. Again, when we look into some of these cases, we find they're almost always money driven. Check, check, and re-check!

Think twice (or more) before buying (or arranging to buy through a third party) a horse or pony off a feedlot or other slaughter source venue. Sure, it breaks our hearts too seeing pictures of these poor horses being held for ransom in these hostage situations, but just how many horses are you willing to sacrifice to save so very few?

As HorseAid so painfully learned when we were actively buying auction horses at the big CA Kavanagh Arabian auctions, '91 - '94, which we called the "Auction Adoption Option" — to save a few hundred from going to slaughter, we inadvertently created an auction market that eventually killed thousands. The slaughter auction market will never dry up as long as you keep it supplied with profit. Horse abuse is so closely allied with profit, that it might as well be called "horse-abuse-for-profit". If you encourage the profit, you encourage abuse. Discourage the profit -- and you stop the abuse.

If you absolutely must buy a horse from a slaughter venue or dealer (and remember, we absolutely advise against it), then at least be responsible about it. If the horse is for you, than commit to be responsible for that horse for the rest of its natural life. If you are acting as a go between, then make sure the person or group that takes possession of the horse will also commit to being responsible for that horse for the rest of its natural life (by getting an appropriately signed contract -- and then being prepared to follow up on it). If you can't commit to making a rescue forever, then don't commit to making it at all.

In the past, HorseAid has been against buying PMU foals at auction, as very little was accomplished in reforming the root of the problem, and a profitable new market was created for those with an economic interest in sending the horses and foals to auction in the first place. Besides, too many organizations were using the PMU foals as a fund raising poster child, which detracted considerably from the issue's legitimacy.

Wyeth's 10/10/03 announcement that it was reducing its number of PMU farm contracts by one-third, now makes that a moot point. HorseAid's focus is in now seeing that all the "surplus" horses that have to be dispersed by Wyeth's recent action do not end up going to slaughter.

Just keep in mind that a lot more than just the PMU horses are at risk of going to slaughter. Every day U.S. horses go north past the Canadian border on their way to slaughter. Let's all make a commitment to save as many horses as we can from BOTH sides of the border.

We know there's less cachet in saving a "backyard horse" than there is in saving a PMU one (we bet you'll never see marchers carrying a big yellow banner saying "Save the Backyard Horses!"), but to us, they are both the same — horses in need. They should be the same to you too.

Solving the PMU farms "problem" is going to take a lot more than just buying a few foals or horses. It's going to take education on the part of all rescue groups concerned with the issue for the women who use the end product. Premarin isn't the by-product of the PMU farms -- the horses are.

HorseAid estimates that for every 100 women who permanently switch from a PMU based hormone replacement therapy to another form of HRT, one horse will be saved.

Serial horse abusers are usually also spousal and child abusers. The day of "what a man does with his wife or his horse is his own business", is long past. If you don't put an end to the abuse -- you (or yours), will eventually become victim to it.

While NOT an animal "rights" group per se (we see nothing inherently wrong with riding or enjoying horses in purely recreational pursuits), we ARE an equine WELFARE group -- we believe that all horses and ponies should be able to lead a full and productive life, free from pain and abuse.

A hot topic at this time is still the continued production of Premarin®, a drug derived from Pregnant Mares' Urine (PMU). Click below to see what we (and others) think the pros and cons are, then make up your own mind...is Premarin® a prescription for cruelty?


Wyeth cuts PMU production by one-third

Another hot topic currently seems to be the BLM "wild" Mustang controversy. Click below to see what we think the pros and cons are (and what we have been trying to do over the past 20 odd years to reform some of the BLM abuses), then make up your own mind if this great American heritage is being "MISmanaged" or not.

BLM Page

Ready Made Quotes...

"Ultimately, horses are saved with your head, not with your heart."
-- Enzo Giobbé *

"Mann ist das grausamste Tier."
("Man is the cruelest animal.")
-- Nietzsche

"No endeavor or goal is ever impossible to achieve, remember that the entire known world was once conquered on a small pony with a clenched hoof."

--Enzo Giobbé, excerpted from his "...a small pony with a clenched hoof." speech, July 4, 1984.

"In the 20's and 30's, it was the 'little girls' of those generations that saved most of the current horse breeds from certain extinction. Today it is up to us, the children, grand-children and great grand-children of those 'little girls' of decades past to ensure that their legacy is not lost."

--Staci Wilson, excerpted from her "The Five Sisters of Horse Abuse." speech, June 18, 1985.

"Vous devenez responsable, pour toujours, de ce que vous avez apprivoisé."
("You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.")
-- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"A voice stilled, is a voice unheard. Unheard, it does not exist. If it does not exist, it cannot be counted. If it cannot be counted, we cannot use it to our side. If we cannot use it to our side, the other side will..."

--Enzo Giobbé, excerpted from his "...a small pony with a clenched hoof." speech, July 4, 1984.

"...e ho bisbigliato al cavallo; fiducia nessuno uomo in di cui occhio che non vedi hai riflesso come un uguale."

("...and I whispered to the horse; trust no man in whose eye you don't see yourself reflected as an equal.")

--Quoted from Enzo Giobbé's Grandfather, Don Vincenzo Giobbé's journals, circa 1866-1874.*

"No horse should ever be exploited or used for human endeavors at the expense of its well-being."
-- Enzo Giobbé

"I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights.
That is the way of a whole human being."
-- Abraham Lincoln

"...all we can do is pass our torch to future horse protectors as we get too weary to keep up the pace. Eventually, the horses will cross the finish line as the true winners because of our combined efforts and the torches we all carried for so long."

--Enzo Giobbé, excerpted from his "Never let the flame of hope be extinguished." farewell speech, December 9, 1999.

"If YOU were a horse... would YOU want to be YOUR horse?"
-- Staci Layne Wilson

Stop the Slaughter NOW!

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*Copyrighted 1984-1999, Giobbé/Wilson, and are service marks (sm) of IGHA/HorseAid, All Rights Reserved.
*Limited use permission is freely granted if the quoted person is given attributing quote credit following the quoted text.

"From Red Ribbon to Red Meat" is a copyrighted (1996) service mark (sm) of IGHA/HorseAid, All Rights Reserved.