Horse News

NBC2 Investigates: Illegal Florida Horse Slaughter Farms

Story by By Andy Pierottibio | email | Facebook

Richard ” Kudo” Couto a Friend to Florida Horses

Richard Couto of ARM - Click on Image to View Video

There are not enough pastures to hold all of the horses Theresa Batchelor wishes she could help.

“To look into their eyes, is to see eternity, is to see a soul,” says Batchelor, who runs Beauty’s Haven, a shelter for neglected and abused horses in Ocala, Florida. The region is considered by many to be the horse breeding capital of the world.

Some 300 miles to the south of her rescue, is the C-9 basin in north Miami-Dade County.

“The first time I drove into the C-9 basin, the streets ran red with blood, literally,” says Richard Couto, talking about illegal horse slaughtering farms.

“Anything and everything that went on in the C-9 basin was animal torture orientated,” he said.

The retired land developer from Fort Lauderdale, Couto has made rescuing animals from illegal slaughter farms his life’s work.

While working as a volunteer for the SPCA, Couto remembers finding one specific thoroughbred chained to a palm tree.

The former race horse was minutes away from slaughter. The horse broke his leg in a race a few weeks before.

A tattoo inside the horse’s mouth revealed he was, Freedoms Flight, the great-great grandson of the legendary Secretariat, winner of the Triple Crown in 1973.

Freedom’s Flight survived, but thousands of others have not.

Golden Gate Estates resident Mike Shouler discovered the remains of a horse in 2009 while walking just feet from his property.

“It reminded me of going fishing. It looked like somebody had filleted it,” Shouler said.

Couto says horse meat runs between $7 to $40 dollars a pound. “People are eating it for medicinal purposes; they think it cures blood disorders; it helps with side effects from chemotherapy,” says Couto.

But it’s a myth. Horse meat can actually be unhealthy. The products and drugs pumped into horses to keep them healthy, toxifies the meat.

Last year, state law makers made it a felony to slaughter horses.

Since 2008, Couto has helped shut down more than 70 illegal slaughter farms, saving likely thousands of horses. Two men are now serving five year jail sentences.

If you see evidence of horse slaughtering, report it to law enforcement and follow up with what happened. You can also donate to Couto’s nonprofit, Animal Recovery Mission.

8 replies »

  1. And thousands of government officials in Florida and in the Federal governments continue to look away…not doing their law and regulation enforcement jobs.

    Just as in many states, counties…authorities DON’T DO THEIR JOBS…just like pension fraud, investment fraud, mortgage fraud, banking fraud, food safety…yahduhyahduh! Whhaaahhh! We ain’t got no money! I don’t think so.

    When you had money, you didn’t do your jobs. Things tight? Get smarter. The more money you get, the sloppier you get.

    This country is getting beyond tragic stupid and lazy, special interest motivated.


  2. Again, foreign interests on what ever level, for what ever lame and unrealistic claims and reasons, to trespass on a individual’s property and slay their family pet is absolutely despicable and a major and prime example for the reason for the continued ban of horse slaughter in this country!

    If horse slaughter were legalized, only theft would be obvious without the sad, cruel and gruesome remains of these beloved companions….

    This must be a felony and there is no more evil that can be committed than to murder a kind soul whose existence is only a peaceful one as a revered, loved and cared for pet.

    This must be stopped!!!


  3. No truer words have been spoken that those above. Anyone that would have a part in the slaughter of our beautfiul horses deserve the ultimate painful death. No excuses, no help for those that stoop so low. I hope Freedom’s Flight found a great home. May God punish those that have anything to do with this diepictable industry.


  4. Thank you RT for posting and sharing this and thank you Richard for risking your life everyday to stop this. Both of you do such wonderful work (and Terry of course) to help these horses. Your sacrifice is humbling.


  5. I shudder to think how many race horses famous and not so famous Horse ,Slaughter has to be stopped , Thanks to all who fight against it……………………This can be abolished , we must keep up the pressure,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Every time I think of Ferdinand , I cannot believe that after he earned all that money for the owner, he did that to him……If not directly he is responsible for what happened, he should have respected him to put him in luxury for the rest of his Life, what shame. Only one tragedy for one horse who gave his all, I am thoroughly disgusted with some of Mankind……………………………..These kind of disrespectful people may come to find that at the Pearly Gates STANDS THE JURY The Horses !!!


  6. Horses to many cultures are just that – A food source. Most Americans are aware that we do not consume horse meat for a number of reasons. We allow people to enter this country without getting any education regarding our culture. There are somethings in the US that just are not accepted and that is one of them. Thank God we have people who put their lives in jeopardy to save our horses. When we approve green cards and other methods of allowing aliens into our country, there should be some follow up. Others just sneak in secretly and live amoung their people. Personally, I believe if anyone is found to be a part of such actions, they should be immediately sent back to their home country with NO HOPE of EVER COMING BACK HERE -PERIOD!
    Every community has a community college and they usually offer English as the second language. It should be required to learn English. How many people get involved when they see cruelty of any sort going on? Some don’t because of the back lash and the threat to their own horses. But we must get involved..These people are sick, sick, and uneducated to the cultures of our country. There are some in the industry that care deeply about the horses that they care for. However, certain cultures have irrational and false ideas. I can’t believe that they cannot be monitored. Thank God for all the wonderful and caring people who give of their time and have the courage to confront these individuals. The horse community should be aware of those habiting the neighborhoods from certain cultures so they can be identified. We must protect our horses – both domestic and wild at any cost.


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