Sunday, March 27, 2011


so many throw away foals...

The other day I received an e-mail about 15 new foals who had just arrived at a sanctuary and were in desperate need of homes. Huh, says I – why so many? Where did they come from? Who is breeding these animals and not taking any responsibility for them? I am totally confused. So I started digging and this is what I found. Just when you think it is “safe to go back into the water” another atrocity strikes.

Known as “nurse mare foals,” these orphaned babies are the throwaway by-product of a cynical industry that leases out lactating mares - their mothers - to nurse foals other than their own. Their own foals are taken from them between one day and one week of age. These foals are either killed, sent to slaughter or rescued. Some are also skinned and their hides used for high end leather products – soft like a baby’s skin.

Why does this evil practice even exist you ask? Here is why: A mare who is prized as a race horse can immediately return to work as a show horse or racehorse after giving birth to her own foal. Instead, her baby is nursed by the nursing mares who are leased out. A prized mare can also be bred again if she does not have to be involved with nursing her own foal. She, of course, does not have a choice. It is all about money and elitism. It is wrong.

The only way to stop this evil is for the racing industry and others who do this to allow their mares to nurse and wean their own young for as long as it takes.

Please see these links on the issue and on the rescues that are helping the unwanted foals:

Nurse-Mare Farms: The Industry’s "Other" Dirty Little Secret

Dream Equine Therapy Center

Mountain View Rescue

A word about the homeless horse crisis, which is directly related to horse slaughter.

According to the USDA, 112,904 US horses were slaughtered in 2010 – up from 106,542 in 2009. 53,104 went to Mexico and 59, 693 to Canada. Horse slaughter is illegal in the US.

We need to put a stigma on the breeding of horses just like we have done about the irresponsible breeding of cats and dogs. We still kill millions in animal shelters yearly, but the numbers have gone down significantly because of campaigns emphasizing spaying and neutering and controlling births. The same thing must be done with horses.

There are far too many and not enough good homes. The slaughter house is no option and we need to get a handle on this obscene problem. While these babies are adorable and are in desperate need of a home, they will displace other horses already here. It is an industry that should be abolished.

As long as so many - horses, cats, and dogs – are throwaways, dying for lack of good homes, something is wrong with our society.



Elizabeth said...

You can say that again, we are evil. The very thought that we can kill these innocents and not even bat an eye says it all.

We talk about how bad China is and how bad they treat animals there, well we do the very same here in the states and it is high time for us to make those changes that we ask othes to make!

Stop the killing of all innocent creatures. We are the reason for overpopulation and we must stop this. Our moral fiber has been broken and this is just sad.

Eddie107 said...

Why isn't there a petition to stop this horrible practice?

Unknown said...

I agree with you..."there's something wrong with our society". I continue to be bewildered by what some people are ok with. 1 in 4 people are sociopaths. No conscience and no empathy. That is what the animal welfare groups are up against.
Owners of Nurse Mare farms are sociopaths.
Most race horse owners are sociopaths.
We are surrounded by sociopaths all day long.
It's no different though, than the people who were against the Civil Rights, Gay Rights, Women's Rights movements. These movements prevailed because they became ONE voice.
I think it's more difficult with animal welfare issues because animals cannot speak up or vote. It's so much easier for people to turn away and block out all thoughts regarding the inhumane treatment of animals.
My generation (50 - 60 years old) has failed. They were too busy making money and now they're playing with their grandchildren. They don't want to think about the horrors that are going on as I write this note.
Learning about these Nurse Mare Farms is just another atrocity being done to a beautiful, feeling creatures such as horses.
You are not alone with the shock of learning about these farms.
It will take an united Animal Welfare Movement to start to chip away at all the lax laws, the non-enforcement of laws, the addition of stronger laws.

Elizabeth Forel said...

I only wish a petition could be the key to ending this tragic industry. But a petition to whom? This mostly occurs in the elitist, wealthy racing industry, which cares a lot more about money than about the individual horse. You cannot believe that someone like this loves their horse when they would breed their own mare, (because she is expensive and has "good" genes) take her baby and give it to another mare of "questionable" lineage to mother, knowing that her own baby has been removed from her for the junk heap.

Is this right? Of course not. It should be illegal. But good luck to anyone who tries to go that route.

There is a lot of cruelty in the racing industry and it is not just all they horses they send off to the auctions.

Dimitria said...

Since it's illegal to slaughter horses in the U.S. Why should it be legal to sell to foreign horse slaughtering buyers (Canada & Mexico). Does that not go against the U.S law of illegal horse slaughtering? Would it be very difficult to put a clause in this law, that can extend to the US- Canada- Mexico trade agreements. Their can be horse tracking regulators and generous fines for breaking the law (to pay for the regulators). It would be as easy as branding the horse where it can't be taken off. And holding all buyers accountable for the way they conduct each and every horse.
There must be a better way of upholding this great U.S law of Illegal Horse slaughtering. How can we better take advantage of this law?

Elizabeth Forel said...

I guess we all tend to forget that horse slaughter is not illegal in the US. The last three (foreign owned) slaughter plants - two in Texas and one in Illinois - were closed a few years back by the courts - not legislation. So technically horse slaughter is still legal but there are no big slaughter plants here, which is why the horses go onto Canada and Mexico.

As a matter of fact several states are trying to get local legislation through that would allow them to create slaughter facilities in their respective state. I am not up to date on where it has already passed - but there are many people who are not happy that there are no facilities in the US anymore.

There have been bills in the federal government to make horse slaughter illegal but they do not seem to be going anywhere. This is the only thing that would work.

Kitty said...

oh, this is so sad.
I really cannot read about such things without shutting down. I wish I could be an active advocate but I'm just not built for it. Thank you for taking this on.

Yknow I passed by the carriage horses this morning along CPS and most looked okay, though a little bored. I'm glad winter is over for them, though the hot summer is ahead.