In 1986. a beautiful 3 year old Thoroughbred named Ferdinand won the Kentucky Derby, placed second in the Preakness, and third in the Belmont. In 1987 he won the Breeder’s Cup and the prestigious Horse of the Year award. He was a true American hero and was sold for big dollars to a Japan racing syndicate.
In 2002, Ferdinand, while still conscious, he had his skull fractured with a four inch bolt. His hind leg was dislocated from the hip joint, as a chain hoisted him in the air. While he hung upside down by one leg, his throat was slit with a knife. Still concscious, as he bled to death...he took his final breath in a Japanese slaughter-house.
This magnificent animal, forgotten and alone wasn’t lame or sick, he just wasn’t wanted any longer. His years of making money as a racehorse and Stallion for breeding were over and although he had years of life still ahead of him as a useful horse he wasn't given that chance. Sadly, this kind of ending is common for horses-even for famous champions.
When a performance horse is injured and cannot be useful in a breeding program, owners often squeeze a few more dollars out of their horse and sell him or her to a slaughterhouse. With the ever-increasing demand of horsemeat for human consumption in Europe and Japan, this kind of gruesome end for these noble creatures continues.
Last year over 150,000 horses were shipped live over the borders to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. According to Nick Zito, a famous Thoroughbred racehorse trainer, over 45 percent of these horses come from the racing industry. Healthy horses that will not become high stakes winners for their owners and trainers are disposed of to make room for the next batch of potential winners.
Pregnant mares who often have young foals by their side meet this terrible fate as well. They are shipped in double decker cattle trucks that are too short for horses to stand up in, for as long as thirty-six hours without food, water, or rest. Mares, stallions, foals, and geldings are all packed tightly together. This means fighting and breeding en route. If any of them fall down, it is impossible for them to stand back up. They are trampled repeatedly and arrive at the slaughterhouse badly injured with many broken bones.
Once they arrive at the slaughterhouse greater distress sets in. Overcrowding, the smell of blood and the terrified screams of the horses create overwhelming panic for all of the animals. They are beaten with fiberglass rods and electric prods on their face, back, neck and legs to move from the trailers into the “kill” shutes.
Once in the shutes they receive repeated blows to their head and skull with a four-inch captive bolt pistol. The terrified horses fight for their life before their legs give out from traumatic skull fractures. Once down, the workers can safely put chains on a hind leg and hoist the horse up. While still conscious and in horrific pain, these beautiful horses throats are slit and they slowly bleed to death. Inhumane, but true.
They try so hard to please their owners and trainers, and faithfully serve us their entire lives, but when their utility ends, many are thrown to the meat-house for a few extra dollars.
Help End The Slaughter of Horses...
It is a heartbreaking FACT that many great equine athletes end up like this.
Betrayed, alone, and facing a miserable and inhumane death.