Horse meat looks like beef, but darker, with coarser grain and yellow fat. It seems healthy enough, boasting almost as much omega-3 fatty acids as farmed salmon and twice as much iron as steak. But horse meat has always lurked in the shadow of beef in the United States. Its supply and demand are irregular, and its regulation is minimal.
Horse kill pens are facilities where horses are bought and sold for the purpose of slaughter. They’re often called “kill auctions”. Because that’s ultimately what happen to most of the horses that go through. Horses are typically shipped and collected in kill pens located on the Canada and Mexico border. Its illegal to butcher horses in the US. They are then shipped over the border for slaughter. The meat is considered a delicacy in many countries and sells for more per pound than beef. Canada and Mexico consume horse meat and it is shipped to Europe for top dollar.
This precious guy was on his way to a kill-pen, sold of to the highest bidder, no longer deemed of value to his owner. He was in a mucky pen, after being unloaded from a huge Kill buyer semi stock trailer with around 30 desperately frightened creatures.
Some horses had multiple stickers from out of state auctions, they had been hauled from state to state and auction to auction as the kill buyers did their best to sell off the thin, sickly animals and purchase as many healthy, heavier horses as possible to meet their quota and get top dollar for the meat. You know when a horse comes of a slaughter truck, meat horses have a yellow sticker (horses sold by private individuals have a white sticker) They're not required to have a coggins (blood test) which is strictly regulated for all equine travel between states, with the exception of horses headed for slaughter. Horses from public sellers, or for public ownership must have proof of a clean coggins test. Meat horses purchased by the public at auction are required to get a coggins test, performed by a veterinarian on site prior to the animals removal from the stock yard.
The majority were thin, many in a tremendous amount of pain, gentle older souls, a few pregnant mares, young horses, some foals. This meat auction is one of many auctions along their way on a long treacherous journey in an over crowded stock trailer with a lack of food or water to a terrifying ending.
Many gentle souls including (Jack) had served his family with all his heart. Jack had a gentle eye and sweet demeaner when Jessica, one of Utah School of Pet Grooming Instructors entered the crowded pen. He was one of three horses we were able to save and re-habilitate. Jessica won the bid on Jack and we were able to rescue two additional mares, all three were purchased for a few hundred dollars each.
The rescue horses are used in the Utah School of Pet Grooming
Animal Psychology programs.
Jack was a superstar! Loved by everyone. What a happy go lucky guy!
I believe rescues have more to offer, most have trust issues giving participants a better understanding of patience, recognizing stress and working the animal through it.
THE SECRET TO BECOMING A DOG WHISPERER.
Awareness of our emotions and energy, how it effects the animal and other people.
Jack was extremely thin, frightened, lame, and his feet were in really bad shape. Getting a rescue horse is a big deal there are a lot of expenses and time involved!
Feed, shelter, containment, re-habilitation commitment.
Veterinary bills including: vaccinations, de-worming, chiropractic, X-rays, among other expensive treatments.
Farrier: hoof trimming every 6 to 8 weeks, shoeing, corrective work that can take a year or more to get results.
Trainer; most horses are an emotional wreck after the trauma a meat horse experiences. On top of that many previous owners were in way over their heads and didn't understand the psychology of the horse, or the horse may never have been handled, the expense, or work and commitment involved with their care. Luckily most horses are very, very forgiving.
When we got Jack and the other two mares home they were given a roomy, comfortable stall. Jack was offered high quality food, slowly. We didn't want to shock his system, getting the weight back on a malnourished horse can be a slow process.
The other two were beautiful mares, a grey mustang (Kalua) and a stunning paint (Brandy). The majority of horses that go to slaughter are not broken down, older horses, they are sound, beautiful animals that found themselves in the slaughter chain. Most people will not risk buying a horse without knowing the horses history. It's a tremendous risk, they may be ill and expose other horses to diseases, are possibly dangerous, have destructive habits, or numerous serious issues. Rescue animal care can and is heartbreaking. Brandy jumped out of her paddock two days after she arrived, what a silly, sweet mare . . . I'll tell you their stories later.
We nursed Jack back to health over the next 18 months. We believe he was an Amish cart horse that was no longer able to handle his task. He was amazing with the vet and farrier, the treatments were very painful and he didn't twitch a muscle. Even though he has issues with his stifle and lower leg weakness from over use. He has a great work ethic and the sweetest spirit, he has a lot of action (head high, tail high, and a high stepper when walking or trotting). A beautiful animal with a loving attitude and the will to please.
I can't tell you how many people he inspired and who love him, he has a silly habit of popping his lips when he wants attention. His re-hab required good feed, de-worming, vaccinations, morning and evening hand walks daily for a long time, chiropractic adjustments, hoof care, and pain meds. He is very gentle with children and is not able to carry the weight of an adult rider. We were able to place Jack with a loving family in a home with lots of kids to ride and love on him.
Any thing you'd like to share or comment on?
LOL...this is the pen she jumped out of. Bet you can guess one of her talents.
Kalua, a mustang. She had been shipped through a minimum of 3 states on the slaughter truck.
She had a lot of trust issues.
Both mares stayed with us for over 2 years as part of our Animal Psychology Program as their re-hab continued. Placement was bitter sweet.
Let me know if you'd like to hear their stories . . .