Sunday, April 9, 2017



the Unwanted Horse Coalition and 
the Horse Carriage Trade

Livestock News recently reported that Palmetto Carriage Works in Charleston, South Carolina, and the Retired Racehorse Project have both joined the Unwanted Horse Coalition.  

This is a very curious development indeed since the Unwanted Horse Coalition supports horse slaughter so it is not surprising that a livestock publication would break the news.  We wonder about this new alliance.  

Palmetto is one of the carriage companies that works out of hot and humid Charleston and uses wagons with one horse pulling 17 people. 

Carriage horse companies want the public  to believe they love their horses and treat them like family members.  Revealing where the horses end up  when no longer wanted is not something that is made public.

 NYC:  In NYC, between 60 and 70 horses turn over (leave the business) in a year.    My 7 1/2 year study, published in 2013 documents this.  Because horses are privately owned, there is no paper trail available to the public to track where they went.    We do not know if a horse was retired to a nice home; sold to another business; or ended up at a kill auction where he was purchased by a kill buyer to fulfill his quota for the slaughter houses.  

The latter is exactly what happened to Bobby II Freedom in 2010.  A NYC carriage horse at the time, he was deemed too old by his owner and brought to the New Holland livestock auction where he was purchased by a kill buyer.  Hoping to get more money than the "by the pound" rate offered by the slaughter houses, the dealer put Bobby up for adoption for a few days.  Luckily I found him on Friday, June 25th the day before he was scheduled to return to the kill pen.    Bobby is currently living a wonderful life at Equine Advocates Sanctuary where he is much loved.  The NY Times wrote about his rescue.  

Bobby II Freedom - the one who got away. 
This was a great embarrassment to the industry and we never again learned of another carriage horse horse ending up at the auctions.  They became more careful.  The horses were still moved out when no longer able to work, but the way it was done was more surreptitious.   We suspect that owners do not take their horses directly to auction but instead launder them through Amish farmers who may work the horse for several months before bringing him to auction for sale.  This way, their participation at the auctions is minimal.  We also believe that the 4-digit engraved hoof number that allowed us to identify Bobby is sanded down so it is not identifiable. 

UNWANTED HORSE COALITION:  We wonder why this Charleston carriage horse company felt the need to join up with an organization that defends and advocates for horse slaughter. 

The Unwanted Horse Coalition is part of the Animal Welfare Council, an intentionally misleading name.  This article from their web site is very telling in their position about horse slaughter and animal rights activists. 

Please read it thoroughly.  It is very revealing and informative but it is also full of lies - such as "There is nothing that makes horses different than any other livestock animal."  This is fundamentally false since horses are not raised for human consumption and are often treated with a myriad of drugs, many of them known carcinogens. 

The "back door route" referred to in the title of this piece was put into place by Vice President Joe Biden in 2014 at the urging of anti-horse slaughter activists because they knew it was virtually impossible to get Congress - with all their special interests -  to pass a ban on horse slaughter.  There was great concern that profitable horse slaughter plants would once again open in the US.  This initiative removed funding for horse meat inspectors, thus accomplishing the same goal -- no horse slaughter plants. 

But look at what the Animal Welfare Council says about this:

The United States slaughters and exports beef, pork, and chicken, all of which are killed humanely under regulated inspection, but [consuming] horse meat—which is consumed by the majority of world cultures including our closest neighbors in Canada, Iceland, Mexico, and South America; which appears on the menus of the finest restaurants in Europe; and which is purveyed in grocery stores right alongside the other meats all over Asia and Polynesia—would be a felony for Americans. Horse meat was widely consumed in the United States and Britain until the late 1940s….

While we oppose the consumption of all animals and do not think one deserves more compassion than the other, it must be pointed out that horses are shot full of drugs that are very harmful to humans,  and unlike cows, chickens and pigs are not specifically raised for human consumption.   Besides, slaughter of these "food" animals is  bad enough -- why make it worse by adding another animal to the mix.  Where do we stop?  Are cats and dogs next?  

Please sign up for e-mail alerts from both the Equine Welfare Alliance and Equine Advocates on horse welfare issues.  

This is a recent press release issued by the Equine Welfare Alliance.
 "House Leadership Renews Push to Reinstate Horse Slaughter in the US" - dated March 8, 2017.


About chemicals in horse meat...

From the Food and Toxicology Journal -- a public health risk - Ann Marini 

Horse meat scandal - Vickery Eckhoff

There is very real concern that the Trump administration is heading in the direction of opening up horse slaughter facilities once again. Please stay informed about this issue and be ready to take action.