Equine Welfare News

  • TAKE2 offers racehorses a second chance


    Excerpted from an article by Bob Ehalt on ESPN.com

    Much of the focus lately at New York racetracks has involved the health and well-being of the horses that sustain the sport.

    Yet for all of the attention centered on what’s been happening five racing days a week at Aqueduct, there’s also concern about the future of the industry’s equine athletes, something that can arrive rather quickly for a horse that might peak at the rather youthful age of three or four.

    Options for a retired racehorse are limited, but the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, the New York Racing Association and the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc., are hoping that the up and down world of show jumping can expand them.

    Together they formed and funded TAKE2, a jobs program of sorts for Thoroughbreds, which intends to open doors so that racehorses can become show jumpers once their days of springing from a starting gate come to an end.

    Read more about this story here.

  • Texas suspends burro-killing policy in state park


    Excerpted from an article by the Associated Press.

    LUBBOCK — The Texas wildlife agency said Tuesday it is suspending a policy that allows the killing of burros in a state park along the Mexican border after the Humane Society of the United States offered to devise a nonlethal plan to remove the destructive animals.

    The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will contribute up to $10,000 toward a humane society aerial survey of the wild donkeys at Big Bend Ranch State Park this spring to establish baseline data, agency executive director Carter Smith said.

    “We believe this could be valuable information to assess the problem with burros around the park,” Smith said. “We still have a long way to go to see if a viable, long-term plan can be developed.”

    Officials estimate that only about 300 burros live in the 316,000-acre park on the Texas side of the Rio Grande, he said. Park rangers have killed 130 there since 2007, although not during the peak October-to-April tourist season.

    “We are happy to work with the department and are pleased that they have halted lethal control of the burros while discussions are under way,” Texas humane society director Nicole Paquette said.

    Read the rest of the story here.

  • HBO Cancels “Luck” After Third Horse Death


    Excerpted from “Critic’s Notebook: Romantic intentions meet ‘Luck’s’ reality” by Mary McNamara in the Los Angeles Times.

    “Luck” did not happen to feature horses the way shows such as “Game of Thrones” does or “Bonanza” did, as nameless means of war or transportation, seen mostly in thundering aggregate, just another tool, like a sword or a shotgun. In scene after scene, “Luck’s” cameras wallowed in horseflesh, capturing the sweetness and magnificence, the sudden horror of an accident, the satisfaction of a job well done. “Luck’s” horses were more character than prop. Which made their destruction, accidental or not, typical of the racetrack or not, an insurmountable contradiction.

    Read the full story here.

  • They Kill Horses, Don’t They?


    Excerpted from an essay about the personal choices facing a family after a drought threatens their livestock resources. By Darcy Courteau for The Atlantic.

    I’ve attended livestock auctions with my father since I was a kid. We’d load a couple of horses, donkeys, or mules into a trailer, jury-rig its brake lights, and drive from our northwest-Arkansas farm to Missouri or Oklahoma, or somewhere farther south. At the sale barn, buyers and sellers walked among the stalls: mule skinners, old-timers, girls with project ponies, a trader bitterly lamenting a horse’s flaws—he would bid on it later—and groups of Amish men who fell silent as we passed. Dad always asked around about which men there bought stock for slaughter, and when he rode one of our horses through the auction ring, he announced that he would not sell it to a “kill buyer.”…

    Read the rest of the story here.

  • A Home For Every Horse


    Industry-wide campaign launched to help “unwanted” horses

    “A Home For Every Horse” on Equine.com is part of an industry-wide effort to reduce the number of homeless horses in America. The program, which seeks to place, foster, and sponsor America’s 170,000 unwanted horses is fueled by donations from sponsors like the Equine Network, Purina Mills, TSC (Tractor Supply Co.), and the American Horse Council’s Unwanted Horse Coalition.

    Efforts began last month to solicit and post free listings for horses available for placement through nonprofit rescue organizations on Equine.com. Bolstered by its sponsorships, The Equine Network will leverage its connection with more than 1.5 million horse owners each month to promote “A Home For Every Horse” in its online and print outlets.

    “Together… we can work with the Unwanted Horse Coalition to improve the lives of America’s unwanted horses and reduce the overall homeless horse population,” said Tom Winsor, Equine Network general manager.

    Visit “A Home for Every Horse” online.


  • Flying Donkeys Set to Arrive at LAX


    Kona Nightingales given a new life on the Mainland by the Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue

    Upwards of 100 wild donkeys from Hawaii’s Big Island are scheduled to fly into LAX on September 17th, 2011 at approximately 12:30am. These donkeys were captured as part of a population control project organized by the Humane Society of the United States. As there are few available homes for the donkeys in Hawaii, they are being brought to the mainland to the Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue (PVDR) , our nation’s largest donkey rescue with facilities all across the country.

    Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue was established as a non-profit organization in the year 2000 in Acton, CA by founders Mark and Amy Meyers. The Meyers, along with their staff, have since rescued thousands of donkeys from abuse, neglect, abandonment in 27 states as well as captured hundreds of wild burros throughout the Western States that were under threat of destruction.

    The Meyers will fly to Kona Airport just prior to September 16th departure to take charge of the loading of the donkeys. Pacific Airlift will be transporting the donkeys aboard a specially modified cargo plane that was designed to transport cattle and horses. The plane will be met in Los Angeles by Peaceful Valley’s transport teams and taken to PVDR’s 140 acre California Facility in the Tehachapi Mountains near Bakersfield, CA.

    Donkeys were taken to the Hawaiian Islands in the early 1800’s to help in the farming of sugar and coffee. As the processes became more mechanized, the donkeys were released onto lava flows where they thrived and multiplied. Residential and commercial developments have come into direct conflict with the donkeys.

    The Hawaiian word for donkey is: KEKAKE.

    These donkeys will be made available for adoption at a special Adoption Fair held during PVDR’s Open House: DONKEY TOWN 2011 on October 29, 2011. Information regarding the open house, adoption policy, where to donate, and other ways you can help can be found on the Hawaiian Donkey Rescue project page or the PVDR homepage.


  • Donkey Roping – Excerpt of Meredith’s Letter


    Donkey roping – a barbaric use of donkeys for practicing roping skills – has been reported in many states and detailed in an article about a roping event in Mineral Wells, Texas in 2009.  Meredith sent this response to the editor of the newspaper.

    I have been promoting and training mules and donkeys for more than 36 years, and I can tell you without reservation that this IS animal abuse. These donkeys you are using for your sport in this capacity will be ruined for any normal recreational purpose in the future by anyone else and will result in their demise. I opted publicly on the side of using the donkey to train for roping when there were complaints lodged against the TV show on RFD-TV because I noted the donkey was only used to train a beginner and was not actually roped. The loop was thrown under his back legs and the they allowed the donkey to walk through it, but the beginner could see it would have been a catch. Actual roping of donkeys is appalling and abusive, especially in an event of this magnitude! There are precautions taken when roping cattle that make it more humane (such as horn wraps), but there is no way to protect the donkeys, who should NOT even be involved in this sport because of their inherent nature to be loving and affectionate toward humans. Isn’t it clear to you from their behavior? It is clear to me that you are lacking good judgment, and I will do everything in my power to see that those who continue to abuse donkeys in this way are prosecuted for animal abuse to the fullest extent of the law!

    If you hear of donkey roping activities in your area, let us know and let’s stop this abusive practice NOW.

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