“The system has failed.” So says a recent op-ed on slaughter in the Thoroughbred Daily News. Let’s start with this: The writer, Nicole Forbes, is unabashedly pro-racing. But while I abhor much of the tone (sappy) and her patent passion for this vile business, that support (of racing) makes this latest debunking of industry “aftercare” all the more impactful. I’ll let you read the entire piece, but here’s the takeaway:

“To be frank, it might be too late. I’m honestly not sure if we can act fast enough on an industry-wide solution to eliminate this crisis. And crisis it is – no matter how neatly swept the room may seem, there’s a mortuary under the rug.”

A mortuary, indeed.

Introduced by Assemblymember Deborah Glick last year, NYS bill A5481 targets equine – all equines, not just racehorses – slaughter. The summary reads as follows:

“Prohibits any person from slaughtering a horse where such person knows or has reason to know that such horse will be used for human consumption; prohibits any person from possessing, importing into or exporting from the state, selling, buying, giving away, holding or accepting any horse with the intent of killing, or having another kill, such horse, if such person knows or should have known that any part of such horse will be used for human consumption; provides penalties for violation.”

NY is one of the nation’s major slaughter thoroughfares to Canada. Please consider calling Ms. Glick’s office to express support, but also to urge action: 518-455-4841.

One of our sister organizations, Animal Aid in the UK, has, in concert with the BBC, released the results of an undercover investigation into the barbaric horse-slaughter industry. Some of the more salient points from this BBC article (trailer here):

Thousands of racehorses are being sent to slaughterhouses in Britain and Ireland. Some of the slaughtered…were once owned and trained by some of the biggest names in racing.

The regulations say horses should not be killed in sight of each other. [But] the footage recorded horses being shot together 26 times over the four days of filming. Prof Daniel Mills, a veterinary behavioural specialist from the University of Lincoln, who has seen the footage, said: “A gunshot going off is going to be startling, seeing another horse suddenly drop, these are all going to be very distressing for a horse in this situation.”

The regulations also say every effort should be made to ensure a rapid death. But the footage showed that sometimes the death was far from instant. On 91 occasions the cameras recorded a slaughterman shooting horses, not close up, but from a distance. Reviewing the footage of one such killing, Prof Mills said: “It doesn’t look like the horse is even stunned. You can see it’s turning its head.”

Make no mistake, all the abuses, all the terror, all the horror, all the suffering that has been documented by Animal Aid exists in the Canadian and Mexican abattoirs to which we send our, American, horses – multiple thousands of racehorses among them.

In a race at Evangeline June 17, Babe Reed was “distanced after losing contact with the field, jogged across while hopelessly beaten.” His people – owner Lori Culotta, trainer Ray Culotta – also had him “For Sale” prior to. Apparently, even with a cheap tag ($5,000), there were no takers. Then, just four days later, this post appeared:

While it looks as though Babe avoided the butcher’s knife, the larger point remains: “Responsible aftercare” is a lie; most (thousands annually) spent racehorses land in equine hell – the slaughterhouse – at career’s end. This alone should be enough for all Americans of good conscience to repudiate this vile industry once and for all.