Horse News

Where are Suzy and Echo?

an open letter and appeal from Vicky Johnson

What Happened to my beloved horses Suzy and Echo, and why has the FDA, USDA and APHIS turned a Blind Eye to U.S. Tainted Horsemeat Entering the Human Food Chain?
I am devastated that I cannot locate my horses and all I am being told is lies, and I am sick and appalled at what may have become of them. I cry and write and I am pleading with you to help me find them.

I, Vicky Johnson, have been desperately trying to find my two Mares, Suzy and Echo, that were taken from me on April 15th, 2012 by two people that promised me they would provide them with a good home.

I have a draft affidavit of what I believe and know to be true here:

The U.S. FDA, USDA, APHIS, and FSIS have all turned a blind eye to the risks of potential human health concerns, placed on those that are eating U.S. horses by knowingly, willing and negligently allowing unregulated U.S. horses to be slaughtered for human consumption. They are allowing adulterated animals into a human food chain. There is basically NO traceability back to the real owner or medical histories of the majority of U.S. horses that are exported, designated ‘for slaughter’ and entering a human food chain and very little testing. That could be termed “terrorism”.

Our own government agencies do not keep or track the EID’s, Equine Identification Documents, that are sent with slaughter horses for traceability to the owner, The majority of those documents are created or ‘fabricated’ at the last leg of a horses entry into the slaughter system, primarily by the those that purchase them for slaughter – not even by the real last owner of the horse. The majority of U.S. horses change owners several times in the course of their lifetime and the EID’s that are created are suppose to be signed by the last owner indicating that the horse has ‘never’ had prohibited drugs that aren’t allowed in food animals used in a human food chain. These EID’s that are created or fabricated by ’owners’ that have purchased, or stolen, the horse for slaughter have rarely owned them for more than a couple weeks , if that, and they have no basis to make any claim that the horse has never had prohibited substances as drug histories are rarely transferred when a horse changes owners. The overwhelming majority of horses in the U.S. are not raised as food animals, and the majority of horse owners have no clue what is and isn’t allowed or prohibited in food animal production. Since the majority of horse owners are not food animal producers, they rely on their vets to administer medications as they see fit and many do not even keep a record and rarely are those records ever transferred to a new owner. There is nothing that prevents the last owner to claim the horse has never been given prohibited drugs and as far as I know, no one has been prosecuted for making such a statement in regards to slaughter horses, even if it was later determined to be false, and they knew it was false when they made it.

There is big money involved with re-opening horse slaughter facilities in the U.S. If they succeed in doing so, all 9 million U.S. horses would eventually be required to comply with foreign regulations that require traceability. That would entail individual identification that would undoubtedly cost all 9 million horse owners money, and then a tracking system that again would cost horse owners more money. Think about the money for identifying and tracking 9 million U.S. horses. Most horse owners will call their vet to microchip as they aren’t going to slap an ear tag on them, so that would be a vet call of between $35 and $50 and then there has to be a record system that isn’t going to be free, and multiply that by 9 million. If the U.S. should attempt to regulate U.S. horses as food animals, it would require an entire bureaucracy to implement a system to track medical histories to the point of origin for recall purposes. Why? The U.S. basically does not eat horse meat and the majority of horse owners will designate their horses ‘not for slaughter’ if given the opportunity. In addition, there is no guarantee that the foreign entities that are eating our toxic horses now will even buy one tomorrow. If they can find them somewhere else, cheaper or of better quality, they could stop buying any at any time and then we would be left with a large bureaucracy that costs all U.S. horse owners a lot of money and still have all the concerns over what to do with ‘unwanted’ horses.

It is also my understanding that should they succeed in re-opening horse slaughter facilities here in the U.S., our government will be held directly liable for adulterated food animals entering a human food chain. Since U.S. horses are not raised as food animals, there can be no ‘lot’ or ‘batch’ testing for residues to obtain a reasonable confidence level that their meat would be safe. A ‘lot or batch’ would indicate something of the ‘same’. They are not raised as food animals, they don’t have the same owners, aren’t kept under the same conditions, aren’t given the same feed, aren’t medically treated the same, and the majority of owners have no clue what is or isn’t allowed in animals used in a human

chain. The only thing the ‘same’ about U.S. horses is the species. Since U.S. horses can’t be labeled as the ‘same’ they should not be lot or batch tested for chemical residues. Each and every U.S. horse should be individually tested for chemical residues.

I have been told that my two missing mares, Suzy and Echo, were sold to a slaughter horse buyer. Almost everything that I have been told has been associated with a lie but I still do not know where my horses are. Both of my mares have been given ‘bute’, a drug that is prohibited in food animals, along with other medications. If they did get sent to be slaughtered, the EID’s were fabricated and they are not safe to eat.

Please, please I am pleading, help me find my horses. Time is of the essence. Help expose what is happening in the U.S. horse community. There is much more to my story and I hope you will contact me and help not only me, but my horses, the people that are eating toxic horsemeat, and the U.S. horse owning community.

There must be a responsible authority and accountability, but fair warning, there is big money involved and they don’t want the truth to be told.

Please look at the sites for the links provided. They will provide specific data on the lack of traceability of U.S. horses slaughtered for human consumption, scientific reports on toxic residues found in U.S. horsemeat and how our own government knows that there is no traceability.

Even within our own government reports a knowing lack of traceability.

Most of all, I just want my horses back. Please help me!

Vicky Johnson <>
Facebook Page at

22 replies »

  1. Vicky, some years ago there was a case here in KY where an owner gave her horses to some people who promised them a good home. Then the horses “disappeared”. Katie Brophy, a lawyer in Louisville, took the people to court and won the case against them. Maybe your lawyer can contact her and see about charges . I hope you find your horses soon.


    • Dear Vicky i am hoping you will find your horses, Barbara has given to you awesome advice , Please connect with what she said, there are many Greedy people out there that must be stopped, i really dont know how they live with themselves…………….I sympathize deeply with what you feeling Vicky , where there is greed there is only lies and deception, all these people see is Greed, they are not capable of telling the truth !!!! We here have seen this happen over and over again, until we demand and set in place , and make stiffer laws and enforcement of them, it is almost impossible to control this, horses are like children , you must watch them very closely every moment !!! Please keep us informed of your progress , which State are you in ?????? also getting in touch with the rescues in your area, they will know exactly how to get help for you !!!! and tell you everything they think you should do, these people are very well informed on this scenario !!!!


  2. Thanks for carrying this information, R.T., and thanks to everyone who’s making helpful suggestions here.

    Vicky’s friends have created a Facebook page where people can keep up on the news about these horses: I know people have said that you can never give up your horses in case something like this happens, but there are reasons that any of us must, at some time, and we just hope that it will never happen. In Vicky’s case, the people who took the horses presented a reputable appearance and assured her repeatedly that the horses were to be pasture pets on 15 acres. They promised to brush them, for heaven’s sake! And they drove from a location 6 hours away. Vicky never dreamed that people with bad intentions would travel so far for 2 horses.

    The main things now are: 1) verifying what happened to the horses and recovering them if possible; 2) seeking accountability for deception on the part of the people who took the horses; 3) determining whether forged EIDs allowed the horses to enter the food chain; 4) determining whether the kill buyer in Minnesota is responsible in any way for verifying that horses are not stolen; 5) raising awareness so that this activity is stymied in the future. (The best way to do that? Ban slaughter and export for slaughter!)


  3. Shame on you for relinquishing your mares to strangers on a “promise”. You should know better. Were you thinking because they had been give bute, they were safe from slaughter???? Obviously you didn’t do your homework prior to handing them over, and now you are all concerned??? It’s too late now.


    • Thats really nice to say such horrid things. Didn’t your mommy ever teach you if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything. Your comment is totally un-necessary and rude.

      And RT if you decide to delete both posts I won’t be offended. This poster just really rankled me. Sorry for stepping on your toes!


    • It’s too bad when people see fit to beat up on folks who have been victimized. The couple who took the horses lied and broke the law. They committed theft by deception and they pretty certainly falsified EIDs, the government documents used to prove that a horse hasn’t been iven banned drugs.

      They didn’t just lie to Vicky once. They made promises and lied repeatedly. But that’s kinda what we have in this country, these days: blame the victim, because criminals can’t or won’t be held accountable.


      • It doesnt matter how it happened it matters that it happened , there are many people who own horses that are unaware of what is going on !!!! The Thing now is to find these horses and then these two despicable so called people who perpetrated this heinous crime and bring them to justice , Vicky is genuinely horrified by what happened to her, there are lots of innocent people who trust others at their word…………I am not sure which State this happened in but I think it was Missouri, Please if you live in the vicinity of Vicky, Please help her find her horses, this should be front page news !!!!!!there……. The two people who took her horses must be found and prosecuted to the highest extent , they should be made a example by the Courts……………………….. Lies , Greed and deception are running ram pet it must be stopped…………Meanwhile ALL THE INNOCENT HORSES SUFFER AGAIN……………..


    • Vicky’s heart is broken. Her health is not good and felt it best to place some of her horses. These people conned her and have probably done it to others! We have to remember that. I can’t understand why anyone would make rude remarks when someone is hurting so much.


  4. Dear Vicky, This is so sad! I hope & pray that you will find both of your horses, Suzy & Echo, in good health, & that they’ll be returned to you as soon as possible.Most of us are hoping you genuinely thought your horses were going to a good, safe home. Most of us won’t yell at you for giving your horses to strangers. We weren’t there, we don’t know what happened, or your circumstances. You most likely really thought you could believe & trust these people, &, we pray that you’re right. Let us know if you are re-united with your beloved horses, we all are rooting for you & your success in finding them. The real problem is, we need to shut down & stop ALL horse slaughter, everywhere, or other innocent owners may lose their horses to uncertain fates. We live in a very untrustworthy, greedy world. There are many good people, but the ones who are bad, are very, very bad.


  5. Although ,she did a very undesirable thing !!! We must give to the benefit of a doubt, she perhaps was oblivious to the dangers of doing that kind of thing , we must help her find the horses , if any one can now………… it is too late to chasitize her, the deed is done, now it is only finding her horses that matters…………. these horses need to be found it is always the horses who are made to suffer for these kind of actions,


  6. This is such a horribly sad situation….Unfortunately, there are so many disguised meat men out there,…just hoping for the innocent & naive folks that have to give up their beloved horses due to economical situations… Do not ever fall for that….Call your local SPCA !
    I cannot believe how many horse owners advertise “Free To A Good Home” just a red flag for the Meat Man”…. But I feel certain that the owners are hoping that someone will save their horses….I work at an Equine Emergency Hospital…Almost all of our horses are beloved companions of humans…You can always tell how much these horses are truly loved and cherished….Just to imagine one of these exquisite, beloved ones falling through the cracks and to headed to a gruesome end in a slaughter house, just rips my heart to shreds….(to put it mildly).. The reason being is…. because they have learned to trust humans…and who sends them on the horrific journey and through the shutes??? Human is amazing to think that the word humane is derived from the word “human”…..
    Think about it for a moment……So many tears…and anger re: for our innocent ones…..they deserve our devotion & respect to say the least……………………….


    • Vicky, I truly hope that you locate your precious mares, my heart goes out to you….my previous comments were not directed at you personally….I just feel very angry about the people that conned you and have absolutely no remorse what so ever….


  7. My heart goes out to you and I do hope you get your mares back. This is all the more reason why horse slaughter be banned, period. This problem will only esculate, if horse slaughter is allowed. Laws too must be inacted and enforced, like so many other issues we face today. Good luck to you Vicky.


  8. If you have spent most of your life around honest and trustworthy people and you, yourself are honest and trustworthy, it is hard to imagine the kind of dark, underbelly that is constantly circling the horse world like vultures waiting for the vulnerable to cry out in distress.

    It seems like these creatures so child-like in their willingness to overcome their deepest fears and trust and serve us humans should somehow be immune from the treachery of the darkness that some of us succumb to. As cynical as I sometimes fear I have become, I continue to feel that prickle of surprise that discovering there is a new wrinkle in our ability to harm the voiceless, or a wrinkle that is, at least, new to me.

    Good luck, Vickie. You might try contacting Debbie Bailey Metcalf at Stolen Horse International or some of the rescues in your area. Also, find out if there are auctions in your area in case the horses were sold at auction on the chance they were bought by someone for non-slaughter purpose.


  9. Vicki, I am so sorry this happened to you and poor Suzy and Echo …others hopefully will learn from your mistake.

    Here are some guide lines if one must relinquish a horse. As someone mentioned above, there are many unscrupilous people out there preying on people in your situation. Even under the best of circumstances sometimes horses end up being passed around until they wind up in the slaughter pipeline.

    I occuasional rehome horses and also act as agent for sellers/buyers…. and I can tell you this doesn’t happen to just companion horses. I can tell you horror stories of well bred show horses ( horses with show records a mile long) that should command prices of 25K, that have wound up in the slaughter pipeline because someone thought they would be generous and give a kid, novice, etc whatever a good horse to start their show career with!

    Here are some tips if you do relinquish your horse.

    1. NEVER EVER offer your horse publically ‘free to a good home’. If you feel the need to give your horse away ask around first….local 4-h clubs, saddle clubs. tack and feed stores, farriers vets etc, to see if there is someone there deserving.
    2. NEVER offer your horse cheaply…if selling ask for at least 300 dollars above the slaughter price.
    3. Call your local horse rescue, if they are full ask for other references
    4. If you do sell/ give away your horse, make sure the people are on the up and up. Ask for
    references and check up on them, follow through, find out who they are.
    5. Deliver the horse yourself and make sure they are going to be where they are supposed to be
    6. Check back frequently until you are satisfied they actually do have a good home.
    7. Make sure you write everything on paper and add a clause that the horse can be removed if you
    feel they are NOT providing a good home.
    8. Involve a third party…someone professional that knows your horse, your vet, farrier etc, agent. It can be as simple as sending the horses health records or farrier records with the horse, but make sure you have witnesses as to what you are doing.
    ****9. all horse owners should have pictures of all their horses. Take mulitiple angle shots and close ups of any brands, scars, marks tatoos, and keep copies…do not give them away. If one finds themself in a situation like Vicki those horses can be better identified and found with good clear photos…. you can’t just go to the authorities and say my bay horse is missing! Be meticlous with your photos, and take them at varying times of the year, summer coat, winter coat etc.!


  10. Hi, if anyone would maybe like to see if they could help through giving her information that she may need to know a possible place to look, there’s probably a way to contact her to help with that…
    Maybe through the facebook page?
    If they’re in the kill system, they may not be at final destination yet, or they may have been rejected and dumped somewhere, so maybe someone can help her with some specific information that you don’t know she needs…
    I know she’s still actively looking, and others are helping, but, they could be a lot of places…
    Never give up!


  11. If someoone may be willing to help, these folks are actively looking for Suzy and Echo, and you may know something thay they need to know to look at the correct location.
    I’ve heard the kill buyers bragging about how they can hide a horse where no one will ever find it, and bring it out and ship it after the heat’s cooled down for that one.
    The links above can probably get you in touch with them, and we never know if you hold the key until you all communicate…
    They’re probably not going to go public with what they know, because that could be detrimental to the cause, but they probably know somewhere where, or someone who, they’d like to know more about…
    Thank you.


    • Dear Vicky, I would suppose these two have given you their names ???? If so I think it is time to tell those two names you were given…..If anyone can help you find your beauties , we need to have the names you were given, expose them right here and right now


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