Major track owner concerned over horses being sent to slaughter
“Obviously we have very strong feelings about aftercare, and we support any efforts that make sure horses aren’t shipped to or used for slaughter,” said Craig Fravel, CEO of the group’s 1/ST Racing. “This effort is something we support just like our other aftercare initiatives.”
The major track owner, of which Belinda Stronach is chair and president, issued the call after viewing a PETA video exposé about the slaughter of racehorses in South Korea and learning from PETA that American stallion Private Vow was slaughtered in South Korea. The Korea Racing Authority lists the date of the horse’s death as Sept. 22.
Bloodstock agent Jun Park, the American representative for the KRA, did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday.
“The Stronach Group is urging all North American auction companies, breeders, and owners to develop policies that prohibit the sale of Thoroughbred racehorses or broodmares to South Korea without the meaningful and binding assurances that these noble animals will be protected after their racing and breeding careers,” Stronach said.
Private Vow, a multiple grade 2 winner by Broken Vow, entered stud at Jay Adcock’s Red River Farms in Louisiana, where he stood for seven years. Because breeders stopped supporting the stallion—he bred nine mares in 2013 and 10 in 2014—he was sold to a farm in South Korea, where he began stud duty in 2015. Adcock said he was not aware the 17-year-old stallion was dead until he saw news reports Wednesday.
“It’s sad and it’s disturbing,” Adcock said. “He was not sold as a stallion just to get rid of; he was a viable stallion that wasn’t getting supported here that we sold to help another breeding program. He got 30 mares there (in) his first year.”
Adcock said he did know the Korean farm that bought Private Vow at some point sold the stallion to a breeder, who used the stallion only for his breeding program.
“I have sold a lot of horses and they’ve all done fine,” Adcock said. “The decision to sell this horse was a business decision. When you have a horse that isn’t getting support, you have to make room for one that will. You have to make decisions to keep yourself afloat.
“I don’t have a crystal ball and if I did, I certainly would not have made the decision I did. But I think that applies to all of us, doesn’t it? He was a good horse and a kind horse.”
PETA’s investigation went behind the scenes at the largest slaughterhouse in South Korea, owned by the national corporation Nonghyup. Three workers and Nonghyup itself were found guilty and fined for violating South Korea’s Animal Protection Act in January 2020. As a result of its findings, PETA has asked the KRA to introduce a retirement system modeled on the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, allocate 2% of prize money to aftercare, end its support for horse slaughter, and ensure that imported North American horses will not be slaughtered.
“The over 400 American racehorses exported to South Korea every year deserve peaceful retirements, not terrifying deaths on a slaughterhouse floor,” said Kathy Guillermo, senior vice president of PETA. “PETA is calling on North America’s Thoroughbred horse racing industry to stop selling horses to South Korea until the slaughter ends.”