Horse News

The Kentucky Derby: The Ultimate Blood Sport?

by Anielka Chakey posted to the Huffington Post on May 4, 2012

33,600 young, healthy thoroughbred racehorses slaughtered last year

Horse racing event

In 2007 the world was appropriately outraged when Michael Vick, an NFL superstar, was convicted of running an illegal dog-fighting ring. Dog fighting is widely considered the sport of thugs, and perpetrators are rightly rounded up and imprisoned. Americans have a somewhat different opinion of the “sport of kings,” however: Last year some 14.54 million people tuned in to what they did not realize were two of the most brutal minutes in television.

Before you watch the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby today, consider the following wretched statistics. Each year approximately 37,000 thoroughbreds are born in the United States and registered with the Jockey Club. In 2010, more than 112,000 American horses were slaughtered in Mexico and Canada. An estimated 33,600 of those killed were young, healthy thoroughbred racehorses.

The ratio of slaughtered to born? 10.9 to 1.

Twenty-one animals will run the Derby this year. Lets apply these odds: If they properly represented America’s thoroughbreds, then 19 of them would die in the slaughterhouse. Of course the participants in the Run for the Roses have a better chance at a nice retirement. It is by no means an iron-clad guarantee, however: not even for the greatest athletes.

In 1986 Ferdinand broke from a four-horse pack to win the Derby by 2 ¼ lengths. The chestnut stallion went on to win the Breeders Cup in 1987, and was later awarded Eclipse Horse of Year.

By 1994, Ferdinand was standing stud in Japan. His progeny, however, proved not to be racing prodigies. Hence the Derby winner — whose career earnings were a record-breaking 1.47 million dollars — became basashi.

“Basashi,” should you not be familiar with this delicacy, is horse sushi.

Proponents of horse slaughter argue that horses are no different from other livestock commercially slaughtered for meat. This is a tragically inaccurate claim, easily refuted by experts in animal behavior.

Temple Grandin, famous for her work designing humane slaughter methods, writes: “The big difference between cattle and horses is that cattle aren’t pure flight animals. When cattle are threatened by predators they bunch together and seek safety in numbers or turn and fight with their horns. ” Horses, on the other hand, are like deer and antelope: They are pure flight animals. According to Grandin, they are “more skittish and startle more easily than prey animals that bunch, which makes them easy to traumatize.”

Despite crucial differences in psychology and physiology, American horses are slaughtered in facilities with equipment, like captive bolt guns, designed strictly for cows. The purpose of a captive bolt gun is to destroy an animal’s cerebrum, leaving it completely unconscious during exsanguination. Unfortunately, since its skull is much thicker than a cow’s, a horse is frequently fully conscious as it is bled out.

Ironically, the racing industry’s unfortunate discards represent a disaster not simply for horses, but also for the humans who supposedly benefit from this slaughter. More than 90% of American horses are slaughtered for human consumption. Since virtually no American horses are purpose-raised for meat, their bodies contain a potentially toxic cocktail of chemicals.

This is a particular problem in the case of thoroughbreds fresh from their racing careers. Despite the fact that “doping” is against Jockey Club policies, thoroughbreds frequently test positive for drugs like cocaine, Viagra, and Aminorex (a drug with effects similar to methamphetamine), along with more common stimulants and steroids.

Perhaps the most hazardous substance, Phenylbutazone, can be found in virtually all racehorses. This anti-inflammatory — known as “bute” in the horse world — is the equine equivalent of Aspirin, and is frequently given to thoroughbreds for swelling and injuries associated with racing. Dr. Gregory Ferraro, who heads up the Center for Equine Health at the University of California at Davis, points out:

“In general, treatments designed to repair a horse’s injuries and to alleviate its suffering are now used to get horses onto the track to compete — to force the animal, like some punchdrunk fighter, to make just one more round.”

This approach requires huge quantities of painkillers, and high on the list is Phenylbutazone.

According to a study by Tufts University, “Phenylbutazone is banned for use in any animal intended for human consumption because it causes serious and lethal idiosyncratic adverse effects in humans.” Americans dodge this toxin, because the sale of horsemeat is prohibited. Thousands of Canadians, French, Belgian and Japanese, however, unknowingly put themselves and their families at risk by consuming America’s tainted castoffs.

The slaughter of thoroughbreds is not the only reason you should avoid tuning in to the spectacle at Churchill Downs. When Eight Belles collapsed and was euthanized on national television, moments after placing second in the 2008 Kentucky Derby, the media called it a “freak accident.” Unfortunately, anyone who spends time at a racetrack is aware that these supposedly rare events are simply the norm. Casualties like Barbaro and Eight Belles are the tragic reality of horseracing.

The issue at the heart of this is surprisingly simple. For financial reasons, the racing industry pushes equine athletes to their physical limit before they reach skeletal maturity.

Racehorses begin training as yearlings, and typically start their careers as two-year-olds. The horses running the Kentucky Derby are three years old, which is only halfway to maturity. Equines, regardless of breed or condition, are never completely mature skeletally before the age of six.

Most critically, the spine of a three-year-old horse is not completely fused: hence they lack the balance and coordination necessary to compensate for missteps and irregularities in the track.

Nobody who witnessed Eight Belle’s horrifying accident will ever forget this: the obvious contortion of her front legs as she tried to stand, and the look of sheer panic when she found it impossible. Far from a “freak accident,” each year roughly 1,200 thoroughbreds die while training or during an actual race.

The dire statistics above become even worse. Remember: an average of 37,000 thoroughbreds are born yearly. An average of 33,600 go to the slaughterhouse. That’s a difference of 3,400. Now let’s subtract the 1,200 who die on the track. We’re left with 2,200. This is by necessity a very rough calculation, but it gives you some idea of how many thoroughbreds — out of 37,000 born — will ever be retired, or adopted as riding horses. Only 5.9 percent.

Publicly, the Jockey Club is anti-slaughter. They came out in favor of the (now reversed) 2006 bill that banned the slaughter of horses in the United States. So they should have: It was good publicity. If they truly cared about these miserable numbers, however, a few simple changes in policy could save thousands of racehorses.

As it currently stands, thoroughbreds are required to “break maiden” — or win their first race — by the age of four. This makes it absolutely impossible for thoroughbred trainers, even if they were so inclined, to wait until a horse has reached physical maturity.

By making it illegal to race any horse under the age of six, the Jockey Club could nearly eliminate overpopulation.

Raising horses is expensive. If you can throw them away after a couple of years, then you can raise many more of them. You can cover your odds. Thoroughbred owners typically spend around $4,000 a year on animals not in training. They spend anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 on horses in training.

If forced to keep horses until a sane racing age, breeders would not only have to concentrate on fewer horses, but would have to breed them far more carefully. More selectively bred horses, who have been allowed to fully mature before they race, will be significantly less likely to suffer fatal injuries.

Racing aficionados bet on the horses. Breeders hedge their bets, by breeding far too many. The racing industry bets on horse lovers never properly educating themselves about the misery forced upon the athletes.

As we are clearly in the gambling mood, can I suggest a long shot? Your chances of accomplishing something are not stellar, but consider signing a petition to the Jockey Club, urging them to change their cynical rules.

Click (HERE) to visit the Huffington Post and to Comment

56 replies »

  1. The figures for Slaughtering RH are staggering !!!!! These are beautiful animals capable of many wonderful things, they are not SEWER RATS………….. I love and respect everyone of them…………… There are so mAny issues in Racing that need to be addressed, I do know several Race Tracks have adopted the poilicy on their contracts that any horse trainer who races his horses on said track must sign a contract with the Track that no horse will leave that track in the back of a Slaughter truck, I personally talked with Rosemary Williams of Mountaineer Race Track in West Virginia, 4 yrs ago, and the out come was very good , Mountaineer allows no slaughter trucks to enter there grounds , and every owner who races their horses there must sign agreement that in no instance does a horse leave there in the back of a slaughter truck or the Owner is barred from racing his horses there !!! I know it is a small step , but it is a good step, since then many have followed her example……. I know these are supreme athelets and I want them treated with the respect they deserve, I cannot dismiss the fact that thousands of horses are loved and cared for by most all the Owners and trainers ,(where would they go?) I also know that thoroughbreds and all horses are born to run, and they truly love the competition, however the issues at our Race tracks must be dealt with , with the horses welfare respected .. Furthermore , there needs to be retirement funds set up each and every purse should have a 3 percent min. that has to be donated by the Track and put in that fund…… So many issues need attention not today but yesterday…………………………


    • Arlene, Mountaineer Race Track is all talk and NO enforcement. Just this week, two horses were abandoned at Mountaineer, after losing their races. The slaughter truck WAS parked there, but left when he couldn’t fill his load. The two horse were networked and immediately a rescue came forward to take them. She showed up the following day, and the horses HAD been taken by the kill-buyer, and were slaughter-bound. As tragic as it is for those two young horses, remember..*the kill-buyer was parked there*, hoping to fill his load. Mountaineer is Casino Run, and they do what they want, only giving lip service to ethics.


      • Dear Laurel, I am so sorry to here that , I havent talked to her in a while….. when I talked to her last she had hired a co-ordination especially for it , Darn, I will try and get in touch with her !!!! Geeze I thought that it was all taken care of !!!!! I take people on there word, cause If I give my word , I must always go on it……


    • Arlene, after outrage about the two horses headed to slaughter this week, Mountaineer and Beulah Park both pulled the license of trainer Mark Wedig, so that he can never get his license back to race there again. Both Beulah Park and Mountaineer tracks stepped up to the plate. Both “Cactus Cafe” and “Canuki” were actually SLAUGHTERED two days after leaving the tracks. Both owner and trainer knew a rescue was picking them up, but they wanted them dead, instead, so loaded them after cover of night. Barbara Price the owner knowingly sold those horses for $50.00 each, to make sure they went to slaughter. The rescue had offered $1000 each!
      Cactus Cafe was only 4 years old, and Canuki was 7.

      Both had MANY doses of Bute.


      • First of all Thank You Laurel, for the great update, I am happy both tracks stepped up to the Plate , but just late for Cautas Cafe and Canuki, for that i am so sorry !!!! This We need to clean up, the Low Life owners and Trainers…… They were offered more money, and they chose Slaughter for them ??? Despicable, makes me so sick I could BARF all over them !!!! these two need to be Incarcerated for this!!!! At then least they are barred from those two tracks………….. We need Race Horse Track Police , Ohhhhh How i would LOVE to be one !!!!!!! They have to be watched like The RAT Filth these two are, every moment !!!!!


      • I found that the last owner/trainers of these two horses were:
        Cactus Cafe, dkb/brn M 2005, granddaughter of Conquistador Cielo
        last owner/trainer of record: Edward Anthony

        Canuki, bay gelding 2008 great great grandson of Seattle Slew
        last owner/trainer of record Barbara Price

        I don’t know for sure if these people are the ones who sent the two horses to slaughter instead of allowing them to live and have second careers, I just researched and found them to be the last owner/trainers that I could find.

        If they are the culprits, I hope they are banned from racing, there is no excuse for what happened and if the story is completely accurate, it would seem that they wanted the horses to go to slaughter as punishment for losing. Why otherwise would they sneak them off to the slaughter truck when there were people ready and willing to pay $1,000 each to give them a new life?


      • Dear Kathryn , this whole senario is just unbelieveable , we have to think its more than greed , its those people displaying their need to destroy something that is more beautiful then they are….I also researched them and found only what you did…..If in fact if these are them, I would hope that what goes around will comes around back to them or whomever did this horrific act, their is no sane anwer for what they did????????I hope they get whats coming to them, it is why we are here to stop this insanity !!!!!


  2. Horses are drugged and subjected to criminal activities as they are used as money making machines. The brutal greed of horse owners removes all decency or caring aspects from their treatment of or their protecting of horses as the horses are raced too young despite the fragile legs not yet matured. There is no way to justify this cruel and inhumane treatment of horses, despite the pretense made by owners that they care about the horses. They don’t. They care about money. Period. It is pathetic to read the attempts to justify what is done to horses so human beings can victimize them by racing them so bets can be made, and so women can wear hats and prance around.

    The death of beautiful horses on the race track has sickened decent people. I have zero respect for persons who perpetrate this mindless and vile treatment of helpless horses, or for people who try to justify it. The barbaric slaughter of horses is criminal, and I sincerely hope that all who participate in having horses shipped and slaughtered will pay in one way or the other. The wheels of justice turn slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine..


    • You are so right. But justice? Their greed is so stacked against people who want the welfare of horses with rules in place to bring a modicum about.


  3. Some good ideas in the article.

    I’ve always believed a portion of the handle at the track and those sleazy off-shore betting “arrangements” should contribute 1/2% of take on EACH bet for a retirement, health and reeducation fund for the athletes (human and horse) and backstretch works to be managed by a National Racing Commissioner/agency.

    You’d be surprised how little money gets back to the tracks and participants from all of the book and bet “enterprises”.


  4. Although I am a racing fan, I agree with the author of this article in the Huffington Post. There is a tremendous amount of improvement needed in the world of thoroughbred racing. The suggestion that horses not be raced until 3 or 4 years old is probably the most likely compromise you could get. Going on 6 years would not be something you could get an agreement on.

    As long as you are taking on the thoroughbred breeders and owners, why not also mention the AQHA, the American Quarter Horse Association, they are as guilty of overbreeding, dirty tricks on the racecourse and sending to slaughter as the thoroughbred owners are, perhaps even more.


    • Good catch on the journalist leaving out the AQHA….they race and their breeding numbers are HUGE. They also control the “Appendix” quarter horse registry…aka racing QH’s; ironically the equines in this category are frequently anywhere from a third to two-thirds TB. How they can call it “Quarter Horse” racing is beyond reason.

      There are also Arabians and the Standardbreds (harness racing). The latter is highly prized by the Amish and Mennonites as buggy horses…..and we all know about the New Holland auction.


      • Denise, don’t get me started on the Amish and the Mennonites, they are devils in little teacup haircovers and black hats. They hide behind their religion and then grind horses down on the hard road and dump them on the trash heap of such places as New Holland and Sugarcreek.

        They also are guilty of the despised puppy mills where they treat dogs cruelly and do such things as shoving a screwdriver down their throats to make them unable to bark.

        I have no respect for the Amish or the Mennonites, I find them repulsive.

        When I was a child, the picture of an Amish buggy was representative of a bucolic life where animals frolicked in the grass. HA! Now I know better.

        I cannot stand people who hide behind religion and think they are so good and righteous when they actually are cretins.

        Why don’t they pick up a gun and defend their country as thousands of American citizens have done. No, they sit up in PA or other states and hide on their farms as cowards that will not participate in defending the USA , don’t believe in paying taxes, etc.,etc.

        There is nothing to admire in the Amish or the Mennonites.


    • Kathryn there have been many, many posts and comments here about the AQHA. Anytime I ever comment anywhere on the subject of horse slaughter, I ALWAYS point out the fact that approximately 40% of horses than end up in slaughter each year are American Quarter Horses and 40% are Thoroughbreds. Yes, the AQHA is every bit as guilty. As far as who over breeds and the dirty tricks employed, I would say they are even.

      The Racing Industry as a whole is a disgrace. It is a brutal sport and there is no way to make anything else out it. The very fact that breeders are “not willing” to wait and get a horse to maturity at six years, and throws them onto the tracks at two is in and of itself confirmation that they do not care at all for the horses they are breeding, they only care about the money.


    • Kathryn, you are so right. I am a racing fan, but hate the sport, too. Love it. Hate it. But the AQHA is as guilty as any of over breeding and slaughtering their cast offs.


  5. The individual who wrote the above article has numerous inaccuracies. This makes me wonder exactly how many inaccuracies she (?) made about which I do not know. Her number “statistics” are faulty. One glaring fault is that “only” a maximum of 20 horses ever run the KY Derby. (I personally feel that is too many.)

    I have rescued a retired TB racehorse; he ran 157 times in 10 years and was injected many times. His left front knee is swollen and you can see (if you know where to look) where he was pin-fired. I do not condone his treatment or the treatment of many drug injected race horses. However, I do wish to point out that TBs are meant to be RACED. That is what they were bred to do. In “modern” society, humans have figured out drugs to keep them racing, albiet unfit naturally.

    George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Robert E. Lee, etc., etc., all raced horses. The races used to be run over 3 to 4 MILES, drug-free. Humans are greedy; horses still love to run. Any breed loves to run, although not bred specifically to race.

    I’m not defending many of the current practices in organized horse racing. However, in the early 20th century, only truly RICH people could afford to race. And, yes, they took care of their retired horses, having many hundreds of acres to turn them out. Most of those owners cared about their horses. Racing has now, however, turned into a sport for the masses….hey, its a democracy…even the “poor” can now race….that’s what the U.S. wants…right? Thus, we get drugged horses, all for the capitalist dollar.

    What organized racing truly needs is a policing board, just like the NFL has. There is no one set of rules; each track/state decides how best to handle racing. But, hey, its a Capitalist society and we don’t want one governing body (the Federal government) to decide “our” decisions…do we?

    I could continue, but most people have made up their minds already, pro or con racing. I love horses, I pray during races they all come home safely, I cannot personally stop the drugging/doping. I have made a difference in three horse lives….have you???


    • It’s fortunate and good anytime someone can rescue a racehorse or any horse or any animal. But about 19% of slaughter bound horses come from that industry. The EWA has a powerpoint analyzing horse slaughter and what could be done to stop it.

      Problems are that the horse owners decide the rules; horses are raced too young; horses are raced on drugs to mask the pain. I wasn’t aware horses were running on cocaine which must truly blow their minds. Another is that there are no rules prohibiting kill buyers to lurk around harness racing parks, etc. This is capitalism at its worst, and I’m not for any capitalism that is absent rules.

      Otherwise horses who lose races can possibly be retrained. Take for instance Neville Bardos who has cheated death twice may make the US Olympic Team. It may be announced on Wednesday. Cross country and steeple chases are nail biters too, but some horses die trusting their riders.

      As for horses being beaten to run 4 – 8 mile races during the time of George, Thomas and Robert, well they also had bear baiting then too. Thank god that’s over with at least in the West. Perhaps there is hope.


    • @Sue: The journalist (whom I know well) was referring to this year’s Kentucky Derby, in which — uncharacteristically — 21 horses were entered:

      Quote: “The 21st horse on the earnings list is My Adonis, an also eligible who would need a defection to get into the 1¼-mile race.”

      My Adonis may have been on “standby” to race, but there’s no reason not to include all 21 in the statistics.


      • The author above clearly states, “Twenty-one animals will run the Derby this year.” I can read it and see it above!! That is INCORRECT. Yes, there was an AE, so she should have stated it that way.

        As a journalist myself, a blatant error like that is unexcusable.


      • To Laurel….you are incorrect. Sue is correct; eligible is different from “in” and it speaks to the journalist’s ignorance of the subject.

        Sue is hardly off topic. Lighten up.


  6. watching tv on derby day i wasn’t surprised that they left out the information about the horses that are killed WEEKLY at tracks across the united states. nor did they announce the youngsters killed at ‘under tack shows’, or the 30,000 sent to slaughter. a thoroughbred rescue told me the winning jockey of this years derby left racing in canada because of the slaughter there. bless his heart.


    • christine:

      Since ALL tracks (or shows, events where equines disappear from the farm/ranch manifest that can trailer away from those events) do not participate in the fatal breakdown numbers and the “30,000” (TBs, I assume) sent to slaughter are not officially documented…I do not know or understand how those numbers can be thrown around.

      And that is the problem with slaughter. The breed registries, the meat industry and the USDA do not want people to know. There is also no national database on animal abusers and we all know that many, many equines die from neglect and abuse at the local level.

      As to the jock, yes it is a good story but since slaughter exists here I don’t know how we can believe he left Canada because of slaughter. He left because he went to the show (Santa Anita) and had the chance of a lifetime.


      • @Julie Smith

        Not much, but it is weird that a guy gets murdered on the biggest day of Churchill’s year….and they are still figuring out the time of death.

        One might argue that this kind of sloppiness of security also contributes to the demise of many a horse.


  7. I have chosen to ban from my life, anything related to the Kentucky Derby or any horse race. Watching horses run in the wild or in a pasture is pure joy … but the greed of the human species (again) has taken something beautiful and ruined it for the sake of the greed.


  8. I’m throwing up as I type, Will it ever end? I pray so and do what I can. Greed. One of the Seven Sins.


  9. It also needs pointing out that the Internal Revenue Code has two provisions that virtually guarantee the fast break from foalhood to the slaughterhouse for any race horse (remember, other breeds besides TBs race too). One is that racing is one of the few acceptable (in the eyes of the IRS) “tax shelters” because there is a presumption of engaging in racing specifically for the pursuit of profit – placing owners and breeders squarely in a “safe haven” if audited; second, while American tracks do have the 4-year-old rule that isn’t the whole story because the IRS wants people to get busy and turn a profit (or at lease have an income stream from the activity) x number of years after “investing”. And that “x” is preferred to be and usually is the number “2”. One of the big reasons these babies are carrying riders at a scant year and break from the gate when not even a full two years of age by their actual birthdate.

    And no one ever steps up to say anything out loud (though there are plenty of horrified opinions by vets whispered at meetings, among themselves, and confirmed to horse people who aren’t fully swayed by the public media portrayal of the allegedly “heroic” veterinarians who “tried to save Barbaro.” In my opinion and that of many, many others, what was done to Barbaro following the track accident was every bit as horrifying and tragic and — pardon the pun – barbaric — as the accident itself. Every time a horse undergoes general anesthesia there is a risk of laminitis and possibly founder. Barbaro was put under GA seven times. SEVEN TIMES. There were abundant alternativesto multiple surgeries leading to the final cause of death, laminitis, but with the bottomless pockets of Barbaro’s owners and the celebrity status of vets “heroically” trying to save a horse whose name was known round the globe – of course they went for multiple surgeries when maybe, just maybe, there should have been other solutions considered.


    • Amen to your first part about the IRS….I don’t agree about Barbaro, especially laminitis.

      Secretariat was euth’d at 19 because of it….and he was standing on all four at Claiborne.


      • There are a lot of caues of laminitis from pharmaceutically induced to carb assault to hindgut disruption to endocrine disorders to that old nemesis of road horses, “mechanical founder.” My point is that by putting Barbaro through seven surgeries requiring general anesthesia they were stacking the deck in favor of that disease when there were other choices that could have been made.


    • Just what do you know about Barbaro that Mrs. Jackson, Mr. Jackson and the rest of the team along with Alex Brown that none of them know?

      Dr. Richardson busted his tail for 8 1/2 months for Barbaro. Even when he went on vacation he checked on this horse.

      He tried everything he could to save Barbaro. Even Three Chimneys farm built a special barn for Barbaro. He was ONE WEEK from getting out of the hospital when everything went south. And yes, I saw that barn a week and a half ago when I was in Lexington!

      And I can tell you that–although during his last month of life I was recovering from a bad car accident that should have killed me.


    • I applauded the efforts of Barbaro’s owners and the veterinarians that tried to save him. He was a good patient, he was treated royally and lovingly and he stands as a hero in the eyes of racing fans for his ability on the racetrack as well as his disposition under stress.

      I do not agree that his owners or the vets made incorrect decisions as to the treatment of his problems.

      I know that all decisions were made with the best of intentions and with the welfare of Barbaro in mind.

      It is tragic that he did not survive to live a long life in pasture, but they tried their best to give him that life.


  10. Regarding data on slaughtered equines, the USDA keeps records of equines by breed, and Animals Angels obtained records from 2002 through 2004 through FOIA can be found on

    Click to access FOIA%2006-444%20Horses%20slaughtered%20by%20breed%20type.pdf

    Quarter horses and thoroughbreds lead in numbers. Animal Angels also obtained data on horse slaughter from 1989 through 2006. It seems horse slaughter peaked during Bush 1 and Bush II.

    Animal abuse is documented by USDA, and pictures were obtained via FOIA. I can’t view this kind of thing — they are kill buyers with names available.

    The Jockey Club keeps thoroughbred registries and sires of 2yr olds being raced. Some extrapolating needs to be done to get numbers on foals or fillies/colts sent to slaughter though.

    USDA records for equines and other livestock sent to Mexico (not seemingly to Canada) for slaughter was easily available online last year. Today, USDA records are missing horse numbers from general livestock numbers. In other words, USDA seems to have cleaned up its spreadsheets to exclude horses. Wonder why — are we making noise they can hear?

    It’s disappointing that the MSM seems to side with pro-slaughter people.


    • Registration/Owner certificates do not properly follow sales or theft to slaughter, nor are they required by the breed or performance orgs for slaughter or end of life. Breed identification is done by a visual inspection or faulty paperwork (by the auction/KB, no less).

      USDA is the last agency I would ask about REAL numbers. They are up there with DOI “managing mustangs and burros……….oh that’s right, they do that too!

      IOW, numbers are speculation, not verifiable fact.


      • The point is to identify breeds sent to slaughter. Yes, Federally protected mustangs are listed also. So if USDA records and pictures obtained through FOIA are not good enough for identification, then how do you answer the question?

        You can also see the presentation stating that about 70% of horses sent to slaughter are Quarter Horses; about 16 – 20% are TB. The reason? — Because they don’t meet owners’ expectations — translation: they lose. That is the driving reason why breeders, the American Quarter Horse Assn., the Unwanted Horse Coalition in collusion with the AVMA want to restart slaughter in the U.S. Slaughter gives them a convenient avenue to dispose of horses while raking in the very last dollar a horse can give them before they die.

        Secondly, there are other avenues for horses other than slaughter.


      • chris1055:

        Maybe you are missing my point, but there are no requirements by breed orgs to document disposal. Last I researched, the kill holding lots in MT and ID were the only ones checking on freeze brands prior to Canadian butchering. These “breed numbers” are based on the paperwork provided by the transporter/KB and VISUAL INSPECTION….not verifiable documentation as to breed that is required by the breed specific entity….and god only knows what goes on with cross breds and performance equines. They don’t even chip check.

        I am discussing how screwed up the system is and the numbers are FAULTY from the very start of birth to grisly end!

        I do not support slaughter. But how can you cite stats/data with no official documentation, requirement and rely on visual identification with junk paperwork?

        I had a conversation with knowledgeable folks against slaughter and asked them, “How do you know X number of QHs, TBs went to their deaths for meat?” The answer was, roughly…”we rely on the breed numbers of births (REGISTERED!) and the USDA export numbers.” That is extrapolation to the e nth degree.


      • Prior to 2007, half of owner/shipper certificates were missing key information.

        Today, half the owner/shipper certificates are missing key information. So what else is new?

        This information is not and does not have to be absolute, because statistics don’t work that way.

        The Unwanted Horse Coalition proudly pushes the GAO Report, 2011 stating that were about 138,000 American horses sold to slaughter the previous year.

        GAO estimates that are 16,000 certificates from 2005 – 2009 which they sampled to write their report in 2011. Additional data from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service information piecing together Canadian and Mexican data on horses imported for slaughter is also used to extrapolate to an approximate number.

        APHIS is tasked with enforcement of transport regulation and the welfare of horses. Problems do occur not only with non-electronic record keeping but mostly with the pain endured by the horses for lack of inspections at various points which they couldn’t help anyway. Fines are not enforced.

        As far as for visually determining the breed of a horse, that’s simplified. Most people can tell the difference between a Draft, Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, Paint, Appaloosa, Standardbred or “Grade” meaning not designated and are the lowest priced horses sold in groups.

        So far this year, U.S. horses sold to Mexico approximate 30,246. This is a national disgrace.


  11. RIP
    CACTUS CAFE and CANUKI dod May 2012 Last raced at Mountaineer Race Track

    Cactus Cafe- foaled 2005 44 starts, 3 wins, 3 places, 7 shows
    grand daughter of Conquistador Cielo

    Canuki- foaled 2008 12 starts, 1 win, 1 place
    great grandson of Seattle Slew

    This is inexcusable.


    • Dear Kathryn, It is inexcusable, RIP Cactus Cafe and Canuki….. totally senseless, brainless action , . whomever did this is disgrace to mankind….


      • Arlene,
        I plan on taking my research further and contacting the owner/trainers to let them know how despicable they are and how they are considered lower than pond scum by most decent people.

        Cactus Cafe – SLAUGHTERED in May 2012 alleged* to have been sent to slaughter by owner/trainer EDWARD ANTHONY

        Canuki – SLAUGHTERED in May 2012 alleged* to have been sent to slaughter by owner/trainer BARBARA PRICE

        * alleged because these are the last owners of record that I could find, they were listed at Mountaineer and so it is more than plausible that they were the ones who sent these horses to slaughter instead of letting a rescue group take them.


      • Dear kathryn , if you need me to help , I am here to do so, I have called R Williams from Mountaineer this morning i left her a message , they do not have racing there on weds or thurs , I asked her to call me ……


  12. Arlene,
    Good, let me know what you find out….I haven’t done any more today but will continue to research and will post any new info here.

    I just want to let the owners know how I feel and how others feel. I know they don’t care and won’t care, but I want to do it.

    You know, it seems futile sometimes, but if we continue to voice our disgust and let it be known that people who do that kind of thing are hated for it, maybe we can change things a little at a time.

    I believe that the groundswell of voices that are being heard all over the world against cruelty and abuse is making a difference. The warriors out there who are actually physically doing something need encouragement from all these voices.


    • Yes Kathryn, i will , and if she doesnt call me back , I will try her again, she knows that I am relentless , From my conversations with her , she does love the horses , she really does……


      • Arlene and all readers of SFTHH:
        I would love to see a lot of letters going to Mountaineer’s management. Real letters, with stamps,not just emails. It takes a little more time, but makes a big statement. Let them know what you think of these two owner/trainers and their slaughtering ways.


      • Dear Kathryn, you got it , I am already letters to them all……………………….I would be very proud if everyone here would also write , You have given every address right here today , Please everyone write these letters………. writing letters makes a HUGE statement………….


  13. If anyone cares to contact the MTR Gaming Group, Inc., they own and operate Mountaineer Race Track ,West VA, Presque Isle Downs, in Pennsylvania and Scioto Downs (harness racing) in Columbus OH.

    The President and CEO of MTR is:
    Jeffrey J. Dahl
    PO Box 356
    Chester, WV 26034
    phone: 304 387 8000

    The Chief Financial Officer of MTR is:
    John W. Bittner Jr.
    phone: 724 933 8122

    The two “alleged” owner trainers of the two slaughtered horses are:
    Cactus Cafe – owner/trainer of last record- EDWARD ANTHONY

    Canuki – owner/trainer of last record- BARBARA PRICE


  14. Here’s another tidbit about that heartless owner, Barbara Price…..Cactus Cafe was listed in her top 10 earning horses since 1991 to date…..this is how she repaid the mare, sent her to slaughter! What a POS is Barbara Price. Even if the mare had not won anything, she did not deserve to die. I just wonder what kind of person can do things like this.


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