Prominent Vet Admits 10,000-12,000 Thoroughbreds Are Slaughtered Every Year

It has long been the prevailing wisdom of those familiar with this hideous industry that thousands of “retired” Thoroughbreds end up brutally slaughtered in abattoirs north and south of these united states each year. Having written extensively on this issue, I believe that it is in fact a majority. Yes, a majority. But until now, I had yet to see anyone closely associated with racing go on the record with a number. Then this in yesterday’s Daily Gazette, in an article about “Thoroughbred aftercare”:

“This is a particularly cogent point when considering numbers Dr. [Patricia] Hogan – one of the most prominent equine veterinarians in the U.S., and [someone who] works closely with the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association – cited with regard to horse slaughter for human consumption. Despite laws banning it in the U.S., horses still make their way to abattoirs in Canada and Mex­ico. While foal crops these days number around 20,000 per year, 10,000-12,000 off-the-track thoroughbreds are vanned across borders to be slaughtered.”

In prior posts I have cited a Wild for Life Foundation study that estimated that 19% of the American horses slaughtered each year are Thoroughbreds. According to the Equine Welfare Alliance, 114,091 U.S. horses were slaughtered in 2016. 19% of that is roughly 21,000 (Thoroughbreds only, not including Quarterhorses and Standardbreds). Obviously, 21,000 is far greater than Ms. Hogan’s 10,000-12,000. But is there a meaningful difference, the kind of difference that would make one say, that’s a whole other story? Of course not. The story here, the big, bold, screaming headline here, is that thousands – multiple thousands – of used-up “equine athletes” are being bled-out and butchered – after, that is, enduring terrifying treks across our borders – every single year. Racing’s dirty, blood-drenched little secret.

So remember this the next time someone says that an afternoon at the track is but an innocuous passing of time – good, clean, family fun. All actions have consequences, and the consequence of $2 bets, admission tickets, and pulls of racino slots is killing, is carnage. In a word, it’s unconscionable.

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  1. This is horrific for the horses. To think that Sec. Zinke recommends slaughtering wild horses in custody and ones free on the range to save $4 million is deceitfully disgusting when the BLM program of land leases to ranchers/investors costs the taxpayers $100 million to maintain. This has to stop both regarding race horses and related industry horses and those wild horses who do so well in the deserts of our country.

  2. This business is unadulterated evil to it’s very core and back.
    Our government needs to stop facilitating this business by furnishing millions in either taxpayers money, corporate welfare and/or casino profits.
    They are equally responsible for keeping this legitimized animal cruelty going just as the bettors are.
    In addition, this industry pulls in billions in wagering profits, via the Interstate Horse Wagering Act, and never seems to account for this money.
    This money is supposedly not taxed at all, and is largely operating with virtual impunity, and accountability.
    So where is this money going, and why should they get handouts?
    You would think the government would ask these questions before furnishing them with taxpayers money, corporate welfare, and casino profits.
    Instead they seem to just rubber stamp this industry year in and year out.
    With most local and state budgets in virtual bankruptcy they still find money to give to this business!
    It’s totally outrageous, and so is the dying of racehorses.
    It’s got to go, and it will go.

  3. 4-year-old Dewdrop’s Heart was just rescued from the Bowie, Texas feedlot over the weekend. She last raced at Mountaineer on May 29, 2017.

    The 2001 bay horse Tequesta entered stud in 2007 after suffering a suspensory injury. Standing at Blue House Farm in PA, his 2017 fee was 1K. You can see him currently listed for sale on the PA Kill Pen Network FB page.

  4. The dumping of racehorses happens every single day – just scroll through your social media of choice and you will see the discarded former “family members”.

    And the no-slaughter policies some racetracks have?…What. A. Joke.

    Mountaineer, for instance…just this past week, these three racehorses who last ran at Mountaineer found themselves dumped;

    Wave Ofassault. 2012 bay mare. Last ran for (O) Jeff Zook and (T) Donna Zook on 8-23-17 at Mountaineer. She finished last – “folded up, [eased]”…over 59 lengths back. She stands at the end of a lead, listed for sale with a deadline on the “Moore’s Equines for Rescue” FB page. Now this is what MEFR states regarding their equines for sale and the deadlines they impose; “This is a strict deadline and any horse that does not make it will ship to slaughter”.

    Whatsupnotmuch. 2008 bay gelding. Last ran for O/T Burton Sipp at Mountaineer on 8-29-17. He, like Wave Ofassault, is facing a deadline at Moore’s Equines for Rescue.

    Coca Kota. A 2014 dark bay filly. This three-year-old last ran for O/T J. Edwin Shilling at Mountaineer on 9-24-17. Yes, that’s right, SEPTEMBER 24. She finished 8th of 9 – “tired in the upper stretch”. Coca Kota waits for salvation at Fisher Horses and Tack. According to friend and fellow equine advocate Lynn Hadfield, Fisher’s are dealers who buy and sell every week at New Holland.

    Wave Ofassault. Whatsupnotmuch. Coca Kota. All last raced – and very recently – at Mountaineer. All facing very precarious futures. And all of this is a very common occurrence in this industry…the sending of its horses to auction and slaughter.

  5. Yesterday, this from the PA Kill Pen Network; “There may be close to 200 hundred horses in the [kill buyer’s] pen. Over 80% are sound…a large part of the sound horses are ones who have made more money than some people. Both standardbreds and thoroughbreds.”

    And of those horses – already run through auctions and purchased by the kill buyer – are the following who were identified via their lip tattoos so they’re thought to be…

    -2010 TB mare, Tres Rios

    -2001 TB gelding, T. Mac

    -2003 TB gelding, A Shot at Glory

    -2010 TB gelding, Calvary Raid. Calvary Raid was a DNF at Delaware Park on June 8, 2016 in a 4K claiming race.

    Tres Rios. T. Mac. A Shot at Glory. Calvary Raid. Four tattooed Thoroughbreds owned by a kill buyer…four among how many other discarded racehorses. If no one pays their bail and gives them a home, they WILL be slaughtered.

    And this goes on day after day after day all across the country…

    • The racing industry needs slaughter as its disposal system. Discarding unwanted horses is a necessity when stalls, at the track, are valuable pieces of real estate. Trainers move the horses in and then move them out when they can no longer “hit the board.” It is well documented that Deputy Broad went from “track to plate” within nine days and there are most likely thousands more that have experienced that same fate yet the racing supporters still defend this killing machine. Reprehensible….

    • Thanks for sharing Joy.
      This is a disgusting display of the disposable commodities of this deleterious business.
      All of these racehorses obviously suffered during their “career,” struggling to get through the race, and some with DNF in their PP’s.
      Yet, they were used to fill races, and increase wagering profits because the owner/trainer certainly didn’t make any money to abuse these racehorses.
      Take for example A SHOT AT GLORY.
      A very rich HBPA connected farm by the name of HILL N DALE is a prolific breeder, and makes millions selling horses through auction companies like Keeneland or Fasig-Tipton.
      They made $11,000 consigning A Shot At Glory.
      They own a farm with hundreds of acres, and they can’t provide a home or cough up some money to get this mare out of harms way – so typical of these pro-horse racing entities.
      They breed, and breed with total disregard for the long term effects of this ridiculous need to fill races.
      I highly doubt anybody will save them, and there are so many more waiting behind them.
      From coast to coast the unwanted OTTB problem is a shameful display of an industry that exploits, and dumps their commodities while they boast about their billion dollar profits at the sales and wagering windows.
      This is the reality behind horse racing.

  6. I am finding the recent rash of articles and social media posts by apologists and industry members, regarding the discovery of TB racehorses in kill pens (including the pathetic video regarding this subject by racing mouthpiece Paulick) to be, for THEM, embarrassing. They are acting like the shipping of their “beloved” racehorses to slaughter is a new development. When I was with the original CANTER, now nearly 20 years ago, we were matching meat price to prevent the horses from being taken from their shed row stalls by racing owner/trainer – kill buyer Jaroslav Gold. TWENTY YEARS AGO. And from the Cincinnati Magazine (Vol.41, No. 10), this; “[Michael] Blowen, who worked as a hot walker at Suffolk Downs in the late 1990s, said he remembers gut-wrenching scenes in the track’s stable area of horses being loaded onto trucks bound for slaughter.” And this; “Blowen would steal away to watch what happened when the shady dealings were complete. Those gorgeous Thoroughbreds would be corralled like criminals into the backs of stifling ‘killer trucks’, their broken limbs held together with duct tape, destined for the slaughterhouse.”

    Racing’s “beloved athletes” – their broken limbs held together with duct tape. The slaughtering of their horses is nothing new, folks…it just cannot be hidden like it has been for decades.

    The “war” rages on regarding the rescuing of racehorses – some with their racing plates still intact, having just been made to race only several days prior to being dumped. There are those adamantly against paying the kill buyer for a racehorse…they don’t want to “line the kill buyer’s pocket”. BLAME the kill buyer, they rage! – and never mind how the horse got into his hands. Unbelievable. But a couple of things here; 1), regarding acquiring a horse to prevent her from being slaughtered, should we only NOT “line the pockets” of a kill buyer? What about a slimy broker, or an abusive racing trainer, or one’s neglectful neighbor down the road?…should we just let them ALL ship because they had the horrific misfortune of being dumped into the hands of those degenerates? Or is it acceptable to “line THEIR pockets”? And 2), I will bet if the racehorse is a former “champion” who finds herself just days from being butchered, those who oppose paying the “bail” for a KB-owned racehorse would fall over themselves to get that horse.

    Again, the industry’s members, fans and apologists look like fools acting so shocked and appalled that tens of thousands of their horses are being slaughtered – fools. And now, they are even so arrogant in their “righteous indignation” by calling upon us to clean up the mess their multi-billion dollar industry has made…we should notify the tracks about TB’s found at auction (REALLY? – are you still going to pretend they care?)…we should provide aftercare, subsidizing the too-few and under-funded racehorse rescue organizations…we should “vet” the adoptive homes…and their list of demands continues.

    Racing, we have been saving your injured and discarded for years – there is no end and there will BE no end as long as you keep exploiting, injuring, using-up and tossing your horses out like yesterday’s trash. Every single horse you have bred for the purpose of racing is born without the promise of a forever home. Every one. They will be bought and sold numerous times over a few short years – and when you are finished with them, they are without a home. You have set them up for bad endings. And you put them on the path to slaughter. Stop pretending you are shocked – stop deluding yourselves that you are blameless. You are neither.

    • AMEN, JOY.
      Everybody in the business knows the majority of the horses they use for a few short years end their lives in the slaughterhouse. That is what the business does with their “used up” horses. Actually, the horses are homeless from the day they are foaled.

  7. Every single year there is, on average, 30,000 thoroughbreds bred specifically for this industry.
    Statistics from equine alliance groups such as the Canadian Defense Coalition, and organized OTTB non-industry groups in the U.S prove that about 80% of those 30,000 will end up in a dire situation, they all become unwanted OTTB’s.
    The Jockey Club statistics have stated that only about 10% of racehorses bred per year will end up in a “home,” mainly referring to a breeding mare or stallion for the most part.
    So approximately 24,000 racehorses per year (excluding the ones who die of course) end up as an unwanted OTTB, and subsequently in the slaughter pipeline.
    Currently the number of unwanted OTTB’s sitting at rescue groups, and foster homes are not countable for the most part, but they are one step away from a slaughterhouse truck since many of these OTTB rescue groups are completely overwhelmed by the number of OTTB’s and the cost of keeping them.
    Many are on FB begging for donations because this industry rarely sends ONE DIME referring them instead to the industry-funded OTTB groups, which are just as over loaded, and under funded even though they do receive some funds from the industry – it simply is not enough, it never will be.
    Given these numbers, it’s obvious that these horses are not “bred to run,” but they are “born to die.”
    What’s frustrating is that many of these groups, who have dumped racehorses starring them in the face, STILL SUPPORT this industry, and fail to take a stance against shutting it down when they experience first hand what this industry does to racehorses.
    It’s mind boggling because it’s such a simple solution, and the ONLY solution is to shut this industry down.
    There is not one plausible reason or redeeming factor to exploit racehorses for gambling – none.

  8. Slaughter is wrong for ALL horses, no matter their breed or story. Euthanasia should be reserved for mercy killing in a loving response to intractable, unrelieved and untreatable pain and suffering. The rest of it is evil and inhumane. I believe that animals deserve to live every bit as much as we do if they are not suffering and cannot be helped. And I feel that we are not meant to have “dominion” over animals: Instead, we are morally compelled act as their helpful guardians. They deserve to live every bit as much as we do. All of them, not just some of them because it is inconvenient to humans. We are “not” the most important species on the planet. We just think we are.

  9. I think the number is actually higher. The race tracks especially Del Mar are finding more clever ways to cover up injuries and deaths now. There is a Horse “broker” all the time at Del Mar.

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