Horse News

14 Year Old Campaigns to Save U.S. Horses

Letter by Cheyenne Little as it appears in The Union of Grass Valley, CA

How can someone so young get it so right?

Cheyenne Little, 14 years old, and her China

My name is Cheyenne Little, I’m a 14-year-old girl who lives in Grass Valley. You might remember me as the kid who wrote the “More than a little help” article a few months back.

My horse China’s doing great, I’m doing great. But there’s one thing that’s not so great. And I’m asking for the help and support of my community to change that status.

I recently started a petition against the reopening of equine slaughter in the U.S. Before equine slaughter was made illegal in 2007, over 25,000 horses each year were being processed and shipped out of the country for human consumption.

Perfectly healthy, well trained, young horses were being killed. Horses just like China. That doesn’t seem very fair.

Slaughtering horses is a lot different from slaughtering cows and pigs. For one, their skulls are much thicker. When shot they are not actually dead. In Mexico, they are stabbed in the back and wither until paralyzed. Or their jugular veins are cut so they bleed to death.

Worst of all, for the meat to be considered human consumption grade, they must begin gutting the horse within a certain amount of seconds. The horses are still alive when they are hung, sliced open, and gutted. They can feel all of it. There’s currently no way for the horses to be pronounced dead before the allotted time is up.

The conditions that the horses are kept in before being slaughtered is cruel. They are loaded onto trucks and shipped with tons of horses kicking and biting them for hours on end. When they are unloaded, they must stand in manure where their able to smell their friends being taken away, being destroyed one by one.

A common misconception is that racehorses and old crippled horses dominate slaughter houses. That’s not true. Outgrown ponies, unbreedable mares, backyard geldings, and best friends whose owners have moved on to college surround the young, healthy horses in the small corrals.

Horses just like China end up being butchered for 80 cents per pound (2011 rates) and eaten in foreign countries. If China had turned out to be dog food, I would still be looking for my dream horse.

I wouldn’t have known that I was born to become a large animal vet. I would still be looking for a purpose. China gave me one. And right now my purpose is to stop the abuse going on in equine slaughter houses.

My online petition’s goal is to stop equine slaughter in the U.S., but already it’s gone worldwide. People in Germany, Australia, and more are signing it.

My petition is for the U.S., so why are people from different countries supporting it? Because people all over the world think it’s wrong! Horses are pets and best friends. I’ve seen children who are unable to take a step ride a horse for an hour twice a week and be able to walk for 15 minutes after each session.

What horses are used in therapeutic riding? Slaughter horses. Old, worn out, 30-year-old horses that are now just costing money to feed. If that horse had gone to slaughter that kid wouldn’t be able to walk. Slaughter is a cause everyone is fighting against, together. As a community, state, country, and apparently world.

So what am I asking? Please look at my blog at

There’s a link to my online petition where you can sign your name. Then what? E-mail, Facebook, and Twitter out the link to as many people as possible using the share button located on the page. And be sure to check out the blog frequently for updates and to see videos.

Each signature counts and yours really does help. The horses can’t talk so we have to be their voices. It takes just 60 seconds to sign your name and help end the cruelty in the equine slaughter houses.

For more information on ending equine slaughter in the U.S., please be sure to visit my blog.

37 replies »

  1. Amazing, a 14 year old gets it, she understands it but some politicians, heck much of the rest of the world that know about it understands. Let’s put her in the White House and let her work on making the changes that are so much better that the crookedness and ill Congress and the Senate are doing.


  2. Thank you Cheyenne…you have our support. Mine and my best friend Tuffy, who was also rescued from the meatman as a healthy 2 y/o American QH, from an over-breeding farm in Georgia. Hats off to you Cheyenne and China!


  3. How can a 14yr old be more intelligent than 9/10ths of the politicians in this country? I don’t know and I don’t care, I’m just happy to see it! Hopefully, she can get those ignorant people in D.C. to wake up and give this issue the attention SHE
    knows it should be getting. Sign and share her petition… I did!


    • I will, too. Right now. Cheyenne and China, both of you have me wrapped around your little finger and dainty hoof, respectively. Bless you both.


      • Signed. Sent to others.

        Cheyenne, I really like the easy-to-understand-and-acknowledge points you make (and the descriptive details you supply) about horse slaughter on your blog, namely:
        1. It’s plain old cruel.
        2. Every horse has a purpose [my addition: and it isn’t to become meat]
        3. There are other solutions to the problem of overpopulation.
        4. It’s not a hugely profitable industry.


  4. Petition signed with a lengthy “Shame on you” note. You are very bright and well spoken for such a youngster. I will look for your influence in humane treatment for all animals in the coming years.
    May all your actions always be guided with Love, Fairness, Kindness, and Knowledge.


  5. Thanks RT for giving Cheyenne the space and thanks Cheyenne for a well written article.

    It takes no energy to click and sign. In fact, since I’m registered with it automatically recognized me in a couple of seconds. I only had to click to share on fb.

    Simple and easy.


  6. And the saying goes….”Out of the mouth of babes”. Cheyenne, do you realize what you have done here? You wrote this letter and you so brilliantly put down in your own words something that is easily understood and straight to the point to which everyone who reads it will hopefully have a moment of clarity and realize how serious this is. I pray they will find it in their hearts to lend their voice and sign this petition to stop the brutal and violent slaughter of our beloved horses
    . There are times when I sit at my computer and try to put into words my feelings about this horrible and dispicable act against horses and often struggle with keeping my thoughts compassionate as opposed to wanting to lamblast those who think its “the right thing to do” . The good Lord knows I have a “forked tongue”, however, foul language isnt the way to make a point. Eventually, I manage to get passed the “angel/devil ‘ roadblock and post my thoughts. Right now, as I type this, I have to wonder had you made this (your letter) into a video by reading it and posting it on u-tube and it went viral…what an awesome sense of accomplishment that would be!
    I wish you and China all the best. You are truly a remarkable young lady.




  8. Thank you Cheyenne you are an angel for getting involved and helping the horses that don’t have a voice, they deserve a life just like we do. They have been our friends and companions for years also years ago taking us down the road before cars were invented. They have been our willing partners for years now and they deserve to be treated right. We need to all have our voices heard load and clear!! NO TO HORSE SLAUGHTER NOW AND FOREVER!!!!!! AMERICANS DO NOT EAT HORSEMEAT THE POLLS HAVE SPOKEN LOUD AND CLEAR!!!


  9. mr fitch, i have a question for you. what is the alternative to reopening slaughter plants in the US where hopefully horses can be monitored to be humanely treated in the process? keep shipping them to mexico and canada were we have NO control? especially mexico whose treatment of horses is notoriously bad.

    what do you do with approximately 150,000-200,000 unwanted horses A YEARr? where do they go? we seem to be overlooking that very important question. in order to fight horse slaughter, we must have an alternative.


  10. I’ve contacted my reps, I’m posting on facebook….and I’ll keep looking for ways to get the word out. Horses are not food….just ask Gabe and Tate, my beloved boys out in the backyard. You go, Cheyenne! You’ve got this absolutely right!


  11. Great project you have taken on Cheyanne, congratulations! Voice For The Horse is hosting our 1st Annual Children’s Writing Competition ~ Subject Wild Horses and the contest deadline is March 1st, 2012 !! The Grand Prize is a trip for two to the ISPMB (International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros … Wild Horse Annie was President here back in 1971). The stories are starting to come in now and an extra special part of the project is that for kids that submit photos of themselves with their pony or horse, have the chance to get their photo included in our International Theme Video we are doing where we intend to rock this nation on behalf of our horses!! Tiffany Desrosiers is our lead vocalists and we have many children coming in behind to support her amazing voice. Here is our web site, be sure to check it out and share Here is our most recent press release for this event


  12. . Cheyenne, you show a great deal of wisdom for one so young. It makes me feel that, perhaps, our planet isn’t doomed after all. You just keep on fighting for what you know is right and don’t let anything stop you.


  13. Cheyenne I dont know you, ,But I already love you. I will be more then happy to sign it.. I had bought a horse from Shipsy just this last past October.. she is a sweet thing.. shes either a Hackeny or a welch pony and she is great with my daughter. My daughter is a beginner rider and Ebony just takes good care of her.
    I feel sorry for any horse that is unwanted. If I had the room and the property along with the money I would take in any abused and unwanted horse in a heart beat. Keep up the good work hopefully congress thinks about the animals and not them selves like they always do.


  14. Lara, if you read enough of the “extra” articles posted in the side bars, you will see that the people are trying. Racing for instance is trying hard to set up funds for rescues and figuring out ways to get the money from the breeders.
    The biggest problem is educating the breeders to be A LOT MORE CAREFUL in their b reeding plans. With so much research on genotypes and such, it would be lots easier for them to breed sensibly.
    I don’t feel “backyard” breeders are that much of a problem compared to the Registered breed societies, incentive funds for babies and futurities and racing for two year olds.


    • shirleyvh, i really understand those efforts. but they have not worked. breeders, especially racing quarterhorse and thoroughbred, are not reducing their breeding enough to reduce their part of the 150,000-200,000 unwanted horses a year.

      i am friends with a woman who runs a retirement and rescue facility for race horses. she has all she can handle and cares for 68 horses with just one helper during the week and on the weekend she is on her own. it is an enormous amount of work. for only 68 horses.

      she gets calls all the time from owners and trainers who want her to take their used up and broke down horses, but do not want to pay for their upkeep. i talked with an owner who had asked her to take his unwanted race horses, but seemed incensed she should want him to mitigate the cost of their care. i don’t know what he did with them, but i can imagine.

      the number of unwanted horses is astronomical. where are those horses to go year after year?

      there are not enough retirement facilities in the country to take in even just the race horses. it breaks my heart to see these beauties with no place to go. rescue farms are full or just about so.

      approximately 25,000 – 34,000 thoroughbred foals are born each year. EACH year. that means there has to be almost that many leaving the racing industry. where are they to go? the numbers add up too fast.

      “trying” to reduce breeding and find homes isn’t good enough to stop the horse slaughter in the US. there must be actual alternatives now. because next year there will be 200,000 horses with no where to go and the year after that and the year after that …

      for more on the pegasus foundation you can read my story at

      they need money to survive. to feed the horses. hay prices are skyrocketing. without money the horses will have to be put down. consider donating to help those horses who right now have a place to live out their lives in peace.

      if you all really believe in saving the horses, then help those that are in a safe place and need help to survive. we cannot save them all, but we can save some.

      mr. fitch, you could list pegasus foundation in your list on the right of non-profit organizations dedicated to saving race horses. it would be one way of helping with more than just words.


  15. I agree that there must be a viable alternative to slaughter, and I’ve seen some very good ideas on other websites. In the meantime, slaughter MUST be stopped or there will be no incentive to decrease the supply:
    Slaughter not driven by unwanted horses – study
    “The study was recently completed by researchers working with Animal Law Coalition, examining trends in horse slaughter in the US, Mexico, Canada and other countries. The study relied on data available from the US Department of Agriculture, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other government and private sources from 1989-2008.”
    “The findings contradict horse slaughter industry claims that horse slaughter controls the numbers of unwanted horses. Proponents of horse slaughter have insisted that if horse slaughter is banned, there will be large numbers of abandoned, unwanted horses. The study concluded, “Slaughter … is useless as a tool for controlling the unwanted horse population and instead simply creates a … market that competes with potential buyers of …horses and encourages a continuous supply.”


  16. Hey Guys this is Cheyenne Little! 🙂
    I just want to say thank you so so so much to all of you. I wish I could give each and every one of you guys a hug. I’ve had so much support in this project.

    The reopening of equine slaughter houses in America needs to be stopped NOW. There’s so many other options. My next petition is going to be to start making people get certified before they are allowed to breed horses eleminating backyard and uneducated breeders. Each year breeders will be required to pay a fee and must take an “exam” just like at the DMV to get their certificate to breed horses. I’d also like to try and cap the production per farm. And really for the horses to be moved across the border to Canada and Mexico their suppose to go through a 30 day quarantine. My point is, there’s so many other options besides slaughter. SLAUGHTER IS NOT THE ANSWER!!

    If anyone wants to contact me, make a suggestion, share a story PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE feel free to contact me at

    I love to hear stories about people and their horses and would be more than happy to share China and I’s story with you. We have a book coming out called “A Horse with a Purpose” that tells our story. So much has happened and China has inspired this entire petition. 🙂 Love her to death! She was a national champion Arabian halter mare. But when she broke her leg, developed an auto immune disease called Pemphigus, and was declaired unbreedable she was given to me free of cost. And I would rather have her than a million dollar horse. Learning about her disease led me to realise that I wanted to become a large animal vet and help horses like her. I’m a freshman and will be graduating early because she led me to realise what I wanted to do with my life early on. She’s changed my life in so many ways. She gave me a purpose. In 2011 I began working at her old stable and met some very very very nice people. I got involved in the Arabian Horse Association and was invited to Youth Nationals to cover a story for the AHA world magazine in New Mexico, she started my journalism career. And theres been so much more! Horses just like China are being slaughtered. Sure she cant be bred anymore but she’s my dream horse. I do dressage, halter, and flat hunters with her at A rated shows. Just because she couldn’t be bred doesnt mean she was done. Instead she was just starting a new phase of her life, with me.

    There’s no reason for horses to be slaughtered. Without China I’d be lost. I wouldn’t have began this petition. Sure she’s a horse, an animal. But shes also a best friend, a dream, a life changer, a secret keeper, a goal achiever, and a fighter. THAT is what she is. Not JUST a horse. And that’s why I started this petition.

    Please continue to tell others about my petition, every single signature counts. And each one of you guys individually are making a difference.

    Thanks So Much,
    Cheyenne Little 🙂


    • I just wanted to say you have given me hope for the younger generation… I drive school bus for a living and what I see from the kids generally speaking, is this….They are greedy, self-absorbed, morally bankrupt, and totally disconnected from life. It scares me and saddens me. My kids are 18 and 21, and are not like that, but we worked very hard to make sure they did not get sucked in to being that way. It wasn’t easy. It’s also not easy to be a leader vs a forge the way. The children of today need someone like you, to look up to. To show them what it means to be passionate about something, and that their voices can be heard. There is a group of kids in California who are also paving the way for the youth of today. They have a FB page and do wonderful things in their efforts to save and rehome shelter dogs and cats, who will be euthanized otherwise. They try educate people on the horrors of animal abuse. Just as you are doing. We all need to help each other. Check out their page…they may help you spread the word. Kudos to you Cheyenne and may your life with China be long and loving. There is no stronger bond than between a girl and her horse….I know first hand… Although there will be setbacks Cheyenne, we will win this war. Best wishes to you for a great 2012!

      This is their FB page link…

      BTW…I did sign your petition and will continue to share it…


      • Deb Shafarzek, your post — the work you are doing to make a living, the respectful children you raised, the little QH you adopted and are best friends with (you mentioned Tuffy in an earlier comment here), and the FB page you told us about — inspires me. Thank you for sharing.


    • I love your description of China’s qualities and of your strong bond with her, Cheyenne. Also love the name of your book, “A Horse with a Purpose.” Please be sure to keep us informed when it comes out, okay?

      Keep fighting, you two. We’re glad a girl and a horse of such integrity and with such an unselfish giving spirit are in the trenches alongside us.


      • Thank you BlessUsAll….that was very kind. 🙂 I do love what I do for a living so please don’t get me wrong. Alot of these kids spend more time with me on a bus than they do with their parents during the course of a day. There is something terribly wrong with that. We as a society and as parents are failing our children. It’s very sad to me. When a young lady like Cheyenne does what she does, it does give me hope that her courage and passion, will inspire many more kids. Yes…Tuffy is my “knight in shining armor” and he will be with me until God calls him home….


    • Ms Cheyenne……….thanks for the post and all you are trying to do.

      Just a heads up about being a vet; most vet schools are pro equine slaughter. Find the right school and change the world.

      As a member of the Arabian Horse Association, run for their board or better yet, President and change their slaughter policy.

      You go Girl!


  17. Oh thank you all! I’m so overwelwelmed by all of the kind word and thoughts from people that I’ve been receiving!!! Just remember I couldn’t do it without your guys’s encouraging words and signatures. 🙂 Thank you all so much,
    Cheyenne Little


  18. Bless you, Cheyenne! You not only have compassion, you also have a heart. You have empathy. You also have brains, & the knowledge to back up what you say. May you be the inspiration to others around this country, as well as other countries! “Out of the mouths of babes”, as the saying goes,comes the pure innocent truth, & it so very true. You have wisdom beyond your years, & we all hope & pray that enough people in the right places can see & hear your words, that speak for so many, & really do something about this horrific, needless issue, to stop it in it’s tracks! P.S., We have friends with a sweet teenage daughter who due to various health issues, can’t walk real well unless she’s using her leg braces & crutches, yet, when she’s on her horse, she is as “normal” as anyone, & quite a good rider. She competes in real horse shows & “fun” shows. Horses are the best therapy in the world to put you in good spirits, make you smile, help you through hard times, help you recover from illness or injury, & to inspire you. Horses are gifts to be protected & cherished.


  19. Dear Cheyenne,
    What a wonderful thing your doing!!! I want to start a rescue for horses that are slaughter bound. I want to buy them out of the killer pens and let them live out their lives or find them their forever homes.
    I just wanted to pass on to you some info that you could use in your fight against horse slaughter. Next time you write a letter include about how some medications we give our horses (i.e. dewormers) are not to be used on horses intended for human consumption. All horse dewormers state that on the boxes. Start looking at other meds that say that on the containers. Like maybe different supplements or wound sprays. This would maybe say to Congress, hey these horses CAN’T be used due to POISONED meat!!!

    Good luck to you and China. I will be looking forward to more updates.
    Angela Clifton

    Good Luck to you and


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