Pregnant horses rescued from meat buyers

Open Zipper, left, was purchased and shipped by a kill buyer, before rescuers intervened. Badly injured, she and fellow pregnant rescue Stratacaster, are now safe.

Open Zipper, left, was purchased and shipped by a kill buyer, before rescuers intervened. Badly injured, she and fellow pregnant rescue Stratacaster, are now safe.

A band of heavily pregnant Thoroughbred mares, including a badly crippled horse whose future is uncertain, was rescued from the New Holland Auction Feb. 29.

Four pregnant mares, most due to foal this month, and a fifth who is not pregnant, were rescued by Gerda’s Animal Aid, Inc. of Vermont, with the help of numerous charities and individuals who stepped up to offer foster farms and financial support, says Gerda Silver, of the Vermont-based nonprofit.

Working frantically for two days, Silver and other Thoroughbred advocates were able to join forces to buy back three horses who had already been purchased by meat buyers, and successfully outbid meat buyers on the others, Silver says.

The Thoroughbreds, who came through the auction with paperwork, were identified by Silver as: Murphy’s Code, 15; Lilly and Ice, 21, Stratacaster, 19, (not in foal); Open Zipper, 10, badly crippled; Lovely Ness, 7.

All horses have been checked by a veterinarian, who predicts that many of the mares could give birth any day. Open Zipper is expected to foal a little later, and will face complications due to disfigured, injured legs, which prevent her from easily lying down, Silver says.

Heavily pregnant mares, pictured at the New Holland Auction last week, were rescued by a Vermont horse charity. Three had to be bought back from meat buyers. Photo courtesy Gerda Silver

Heavily pregnant mares, pictured at the New Holland Auction last week, were rescued by a Vermont horse charity. Three had to be bought back from meat buyers. Photo courtesy Gerda Silver

As Silver and associates wait to see what comes next for the horses, the animals are being well cared for by foster and quarantine farms, she says. Murphy’s Code has already been adopted by a Virginia woman. Murphy’s Code has already been adopted by a Virginia woman. Lilly and Ice is at a foster farm in Connecticut. Open Zipper and Stratacaster are with Thoroughbred advocate Kay O’Hanlon Myruski, and Lovely Ness is with horse lover Barb Devers.

Following a hectic two days spent trying to help the horses, Silver admits she is still appalled that horses in this state could be put in this position to begin with.

The longtime operator of the Vermont 501 (c) 3 says the thought that mares carrying full-term foals could be shipped to slaughter is “sickening.”

A pregnant mare is led to safety.

A pregnant mare is led to safety.

“How disgusting is this? It’s bad enough to have regular horses go through. But this is beyond comprehension,” she says. “I’ve been told the meat buyers will take anything, just as long as the mares don’t foal on the truck.”

Three mares had already been purchased by meat buyers, including Open Zipper, the crippled mare. In her case, the mare had already been transported two hours away from the auction by the time her whereabouts were discovered, Silver says.

Crediting her board member Barbara Coakley for tracking down the mare who fell through the cracks, Silver explains that it felt like she was on a “mission” to save her.

“I knew there was a crippled, older Thoroughbred, and when I found out she’d slipped through the cracks, I was crushed. I didn’t want any of them to be lost, for sure. But to lose one and have her possibly endure that kind of trip to Mexico was just too horrible. I had to find her,” Silver says. “Finally our board member Barbara called and found out that the kill buyer’s son had her. She called and asked him to please bring her back, and he said he would, but he wanted $700 for her because he’d have to drive her two hours to bring her back.

“For him to do this, I got to tell you, I was pretty impressed, and so grateful that I cried.”

Murphy's Code receives some care following her rescue las week.

Murphy’s Code receives some care following her rescue las week.

Though the mare is in rough shape, and some have suggested she may need to be euthanized at some point after she gives birth, Silver says it is a relief to know that the pregnant mares will be able to deliver their foals in peace.

“I feel really proud that we were able to save them. But now we’re responsible for their lives, and we’re going to have babies on our hands, all who need to be trained and cared for,” she says. “The excitement and the stress of the auction is over. But it’s only the beginning. To me, what happened to these broodmares is absolutely shocking. I know they send horses to slaughter. But to send pregnant mares who have full-term babies in their bellies, is shocking. Nobody else bid on these mares except kill buyers.”

But, there were many kind-hearted souls who stepped up to help the mares when the time came.

Silver credits the following people for stepping forward to help save the pregnant mares: Barb Devers, who has Lovley Ness and another mare on her property; Kay O’Hanlon Myruski, who has Open Zipper and Stratacaster; Michelle Crawfard of Crawford Farms; Chuck Beam; John Murrell; Christine Mariani Egidio; and  John Elmer.

In addition, Facebook followers of Gerda’s Animal Aid reached into their pockets to raise money to buy and ship the mares from New Holland, Silver says.

176 responses to “Pregnant horses rescued from meat buyers”

  1. Theresa

    BTW the article is partially incorrect when saying mares were purchased by out bidding meat buyers. I purchased one of these pregnant mares (and one of the three thoroughbred yearlings dumped there that day) and I am NOT a meat buyer. I am financing EVERYTHING myself, no donations, I am not rich but can swing this. Monstrella is due to foal any day now and I DO plan to register the foal and have it be a PA bred. Any credentials can help secure the foal a future. You can never tell what can happen to your personal situation.

  2. Lois Dawn

    I own Mabeline and her foal here at New Freedom Farm in Buchanan VA they made the local news. Tried to share here. Please friend me or like our FB New Freedom Farm to see news coverage.

    1. josephine chapman

      Only just seen this what a FANTASTIC thing to do all of you WELL DONE This should never happen wonder were they all from same Stud Farm I was not suprised Meat buyers from Mexico the Country has no respect for Horses Hope all mare foasl ok GOOD LUCK to you all

  3. Lynne Jones

    God Bless all who helped in the rescue of these horses. THE BOTTOM LINE IS: NO HORSE, DONKEY, OR DONKEY SHOULD BE SENT TO SLAUGHTER – WILD OR DOMESTIC. AND, NO DOG, CAT, ETC. SHOULD BE PUT TO SLEEP WHEN THEY ARE NOT MEAN BUT LOVING AND ONLY WANT A HOME, AND THEY DON’T HAVE AN ILLNESS THAT CAN’T BE TREATED BY A VET. This is just compassion, love, and caring for God’s gifts to us to have companions that are our family members. I firmly believe that anyone having anything to do with harming an animal IN ANY WAY – from mistreatment to slaughter, from owner, killer buyer, auction house, transporter, etc. should be punished the same as it that animal was a human being. I pray that the crippled horse can come thru the birth is good shape, foal and herself, and she can be helped to survive by a new loving home. GOD BLESS ALL WHO IS HELPING THESE HORSES. Praying we don’t have to wait long for the SAFE ACT TO PASS and then we can go after true punishment for all offenders, BLM and their accomplishers as well as all others, and the our dogs, cats, etc.

    1. Heather

      Yes. This. ^

  4. Mary Ellen

    wow so glad they were saved. Being from Lancaster County it is hard to believe what goes on here. Puppy mills and horse auctions its all about money and greed. Keep up the good work everyone.

  5. Aimee Konkol

    So glad you were able to save them–I wonder if you could tell me if you know of any place like this in WI and if not –how do you start a place like this–Wonderful wonderful work thank you

  6. Jo-Claire

    So the question remains…which farm or farms dumped these horses at auction?

    1. Deirdre

      THAT’S a great question! I’d like to know who put them at the auction, and then I’d unleash my BAD NEW YORK temper on that POS!

    2. Brigit Paul

      If the owners could no longer take care or manage these pregnant mares/or any other horses for that matter, why would they not contact the rescue organizations in their State/County, or Humane Societies, in their areas, and ask for assistance, on rehoming these mares? if it is all about getting cash on their investment, many rescue organizations, do not just give the horses away. They check references and there are adoption fees in place. Some of those funds could be returned to the previous owner. Some times I am sorry to be part of the human species. It is time for Governments to get more involved and assist Equine Rescues in a financial way.Brigit.

      1. Christine Egidio

        Unfortunately, rescues are often full. They simply cannot provide care for all of the unwanted horses. The answer is to stop breeding.

  7. Christa

    “…she could leave none behind… Thank you so much for that Gerda.

  8. Linda

    There may be some “responsible” breeders, but there are still those, as one previously stated, “always looking for the next great one”, which still brings about more foals. And if they aren’t what the breeder is looking for, oh well, send them on their way and let’s try another one. Sorry, but breeders ARE the problem.

  9. Cindy Bryant

    The bottom line: don’t blame and hate the kill buyers. They are simply filling a niche. I oppose slaughter as much as anybody but the real problem lies with the breeders. Overbreeding in search of the “next great one” is the primary problem in all breeds. This leads to cull horses that something has to be done with. We humans believe everything is disposable including animals and children. Blaming kill buyers is not the answer and honestly I am not sure what the answer is. As bad as it is, slaughter beats horses being turned out and let go hungry as you can witness on most any road you drive on. This is a breeding issue, not a killing issue.

    1. Lynn

      Another tree hugger that wants to blame the breeders. There are very many breeders out there that are very responsible. They find good homes for their horses. I know I’m one so stop blaming the breeders.

      1. Jodie

        Sorry “Lynn”, but I believe that Cindy is correct. Get your head out of your self righteous ass and realize that not all breeders are saintly, like you must be. Most will sell every possible cover they can to make as much money on their stallion as possible, or will over breed their broodmare in the hopes of finding themselves in possession of a new winner, when in reality, 50% fewer foals would result in just as many winners with a dramatically reduced need for slaughter. It’s not all breeders- that is true- but it starts with you.

        1. Lynn

          Dear Jody my head is never been up my ass and you’re not worth my time of day bye Felicia

      2. lexi63

        we have a “responsible breeder” in the group . ha ha ha ha ha ALL THE DOG breeders same the SAME EXACT THING as FIVE MILLION – with almost 1/2 of those being murdered in shelters are pure bred dogs , but the “responsible breeders” have NO IDEA what is going on in the shelters as they are not the ones there that hold the dogs as they take their last breath and carry them to the dead pile that goes to the county land fill once a week on ‘GARBAGE’ DAY . every time i hear a breeder say how “responsible” they are i want to vomit . and the breeders ALWAYS blame the shelters too for not cleaning up their mess . keep adding to the problem breeder , someone will always be around to clean up YOUR mess one way or another .

        1. Lynn

          You are very obviously one of those people they can’t see good in anything. There’s no use in me even going back-and-forth with you you’re setting your ways. And just a little note no one again no one, cleans up my messes. Because I don’t have messes. My horses are all well cared for and have never gone to the killers. They are in a loving home is and always will be. Good luck with your tree hugging

          1. Mrs. Allen

            Lynn.. it is the breeders fault…. if we don’t stop adding to the over population (humans as well) the culling will never end. (For humans the culling is thru wars, disease, cancers, and monsanto. This issue isn’t only for animals but humans as well.

          2. Heidi potter

            Lynn , if you care for horses so much why are you insulting people who help them ? Horses aren’t trees , maybe to you who sees them as an industry , a way to make a living , I feel sorry for your horses as you seem to have no compassion for their welfare .

          3. Lynn

            Number one I do not make my living through my horses. I am retired after 38 years at AT&T thank you. Number two you know nothing about me how dare you assume that I am a bad person or that I don’t care about my horses. My horses are all extremely loved and very much well cared for you can ask anyone in the industry about me. How dare you make any kind of comments like what you have just made to me. know what, you don’t need to hug a tree you need to be hung from one. Have a great day. And please make no further comments to me because I have no intention of answering you or paying any attention to your rudeness

          4. kathy

            Wow guess you have some serious anger issues Lynn. Doesn’t matter what anyone says on here, you just take offense. How you have gotten this thread so off course is unreal. Maybe its time ti just go back to something simple….like how are the rescue mares doing?

        2. Sharon

          Many dog breeders are part of the problem. The other very large part being irresponsible owners. But there are in fact responsible breeders (many of whom also participate in rescue for their breed) who insure via contract that any dog they breed is returned to them at any point in the dog’s life should the owner not be able to keep it.

          I know these people. I have seen this happen. Responsible breeding does not lead to dogs landing in shelters. If people only obtained pets from rescue or responsible breeding then shelters would have many fewer dogs arriving at their doors.

          1. Kathy

            Sharon, you’re so right. I know numerous responsible dog breeders who spend so much of their own time and money on rescuing dogs — fostering rescues, doing home checks, transporting the dogs to new homes, paying for vet care, running waddles (in the case of the Basset breeders I know) and getting pledges to support the dogs they take in, and educating the public.

            The breeder of our two JRTs ran a rescue on her property in South Jersey until her town changed the zoning laws and forced her to stop (she should have been grandfathered in, but she didn’t have the tens of thousands of dollars it would have cost to fight them). She also required puppy purchasers to sign a contract that not only would the puppy be spayed or neutered at the age of 6 months, but if the dog ever had to be rehomed for any reason, then it would go back to her. And she’s the registered contact on the microchips, as well. She also ran all necessary health checks on every single one of her dogs before she ever thought of breeding them.

      3. Nancy

        Lynn, can you at least acknowledge that there are some breeders, everything from the backyard to the big QH and racing barns, who regularly dump at auctions when they didn’t get the foal they want? It’s extremely commendable that you keep contact with all the horses you have ever bred or sold, and ensure that they have great forever homes, perhaps even a buy back clause…but there are breeders who are not as enlightened as you. These are the breeders that give other responsible ones like you a bad name. You should direct your anger there, not at the people who work so hard to save horses. And tree hugging is actually a wonderful past time. You oughtta try it.

        1. Lynn

          Thanks but I’ll save my hugs for my horses

          1. Nancy

            …but you didn’t answer my question.

          2. Lynn

            And don’t plan on it I have more important things to do than to go back-and-forth with someone that is going to accuse me of being an irresponsible breeder or is going to condemned the thoroughbred industry have a nice day

          3. Nancy

            Actually, I commended you for being a caring horse owner, and I put the blame on all equestrian sports, as well as the backyard breeders, for the glut of “unwanted” horses- not just the racing industry. I never accused you of anything.
            But read what you want, I guess…

          4. Lynn

            Thank you for that have a good day

    2. Annice Johnston

      I agree. Starvation is a long slow death. I think that the money spent on abolishing slaughter would be better spent on improving the transport and conditions at slaughter houses. Not popular with a lot of nice people and do-gooders but I know a lot of others in the horse world, including vets, who agree.

    3. lexi63

      touche’ Cindy Bryant

  10. Leila Mohseni

    So so glad all the mares are safe! I hope the foaling all goes smoothly and that Open Zipper does not have to be put down!

  11. Barb

    Thanks DO go to my good friend Chuck Beam who called Kay and me about these mares he was commissioned to ship. He also tracked down for Gerda where the crippled made had gone. He ALSO let John know he had let two mares go to KB when John know who they were and thought they had gone private. Thanks Chuckie.
    These mares were probably there at NH because of a forced legal thing. They could not be bought beforehand. Most were in great shape weight and temperament wise. The caretaker was giving them carrots when Chickie picked them up. They got two trailers to take them to NH when they could all have been jammed on Chickie’s 26 ft. Trailer.

  12. Helen Drummond

    Why can’t they leave animals alone to be free they have a god given right to be free like you and I, it’s horrendous animals being killed, but to kill them while pregnant,I have no words to describe how I feel, just wish all of them could have been saved. Heart wrenching

    1. Barbara S

      Please don’t start with animal rights drivel. Horses are domesticated animals. They don’t know how to survive “free”. They need humans to care for them. NYCLASS is an anti carriage group in NYC that has wasted millions of dollars trying to put an end to the carriage trade to “save” the horses. To date, they haven’t saved a single horse even when asked to help truly needy horses. All their supporters claim to love horses, but they throw their money away going after horses that already have a good home.

      I’m really glad this rescue was able to save these mares. I agree that late term mares (and mares with foals at their side) should be exempt from being sent to slaughter. I also have no quarrel with responsible breeders like Lynn.

      1. Lynn

        Thank you!

      2. Jo-Claire Corcoran

        Since we do not raise horses for food in this country, ALL horses should be exemoted from slaughter. Slaughter is about human food consumption, nothing else. And nothing trumps food safety.

        1. lexi63

          why are horses different then cows or pigs or chickens or turkeys ? ANIMALS ARE OUR FRIENDS – THEY ARE NOT FOOD because we have a SELFISH, SELF CENTERED 5 MINUTE URGE to eat their flesh , what a selfish way humans think , some are “food” and some are not, who says so ? the greatest thing a human being ( with such “big brains” ) certainly can figure out that TO DO NO HARM TO OTHERS , is the moral thing to do PERIOD . I feel sorry for all the animal murderers out there who can’t figure this out and who go around with the CANCER CAUSING HORMONES AROUND INSIDE OF THEIR BODIES & INTESTINES FOR MONTHS & YEArs at a time it takes to digest the flesh of OTHERS , they carry around DEATH, MISERY, DISMEMBERMENT , SUFFERING & , HORROR inside of them all for their “appetite” for OTHERS flesh . if there where more people like this man in the world we would SURELY have a kinder, better more peaceful place to live Best Speech You Will Ever Hear – Gary Yourofsky ——- Melanie Joy – Carnism: The Psychology of Eating Meat

          1. Jo-Claire Corcoran

            As I stated, we do not rause horses for food in this country… since they are not raised for food, they are medicated differently than food animals. Medicated with substances which are banned from use in ALL food animals.

            This article is about horses, the issue is horses who were bred and then dumped by their owner to go to slaughter.

          2. Lynne Jones

            Jo-Claire, You are so correct with your reply about the horses.

          3. Barbara S

            When you quote Gary Yourofsky as being a humane leader, you lose your argument. The following quote by him is reprehensible.

            “Every woman ensconced in fur should endure a rape so vicious that it scars them forever. While every man entrenched in fur should suffer an anal raping so horrific that they become disemboweled. Every rodeo cowboy and matador should be gored to death, while circus abusers are trampled by elephants and mauled by tigers. And, lastly, may irony shine its esoteric head in the form of animal researchers catching debilitating diseases and painfully withering away because research dollars that could have been used to treat them was wasted on the barbaric, unscientific practice vivisection.” Gary Yourofsky, PeTA Humane Education Lecturer, quoted in the University of Southern Indiana Student Newspaper, The Shield, January 24, 2008 –

            See more at:

          4. Kathy

            PeTA is a repugnant organization dedicated to eliminating the ownership of all animals, whether raised for food or raised for companionship. They would rather euthanize stray animals than find them homes. The HSUS is no better.

        2. Carolyn McDonald

          Jo-Claire – your comment about euthanasia and the cheap cost of a bullet, i’m totally with you and needless to say i agree with all you have said. I think Barbara S is a breeder.

          1. Barbara S

            The last horse I bred was in 2006. He was sold to a good home. I’ve also taken back horses I’ve sold when the new owner couldn’t keep them.
            I have never sold a horse at auction. In fact, I once bought a weanling to keep him away from an auction.
            I don’t like slaughter. I understand how awful it is. But, I’m also a realist. Until the do-gooders on this page can find a practical alternative, you all need to stop slamming other people who deal with reality.

          2. Jo-Claire Corcoran

            I deal with the reality every day. I have 5 TBs here 4 are OTTBs, all rescues. I run a horse rescue in total we have 7 TBs, and 22 horses in total in the rescue. So I live the reality every single day. I also work every single day on getting the SAFE Act passed. lobbying in DC, repeatedly, not just once a year or making phone calls.

            Glad you stopped breeding, but as what happened with my first OTTB, the breeder would not take him back, nor help to save him… the barn manager helped, and she really couldn’t afford to.

            But until AQHA and the JC start putting aside so much from every registration, and the tracks put money back from every race, and enforce their anti slaughter rules…. and as long as slaughter is an option, then people will continue to overbreed and dump

            There are some good people in the racing industry, Sam Elliott, formetrly at Suffolk Downs and now at PARX is one of them…They all need to be more like Sam… working on zero tolerance breakdowns. which he made freat strides at Suffolk, and enforcing anti slaughter policies…tracking horses, keeping middlemen and kill buyers away from the backside, etc

          3. Carolyn McDonald

            How many horses did you breed prior to 2006? And what was your connection to the weanling? You say you’ve taken back horses you’ve sold (bred) when the new owner couldn’t keep them, what did that tell you about breeding indiscriminately?
            So, we so called “do-gooders” are to find a practical alternative – oh, I think not. The horse breeding industry, has created this terrible mess resulting in inexcusable horrific suffering of these horses, and they are responsible for finding the practical alternative e.g. drastically reduce breeding horses. Does that make sense? If people like myself, lexi63, Lynn Jones and Jo-Claire, to name just a few, are regarded by you as “do-gooders” then people like yourself on this page are the “bad-doers”.

            PS: We deal with the reality, as displayed by our realistic comments.

          4. Barbara S

            I bred all of a half dozen horses over a period of 10 yrs ending 10 yrs ago. I’ve been responsible about every horse I bred, and you have the nerve to say I’m part of the problem. Someone has to breed horses or they will cease to exist. My horses were neither TBs or QHs of which there are plenty available.
            The weanling I saved was before I bred anything. I had no connection to him other than that I was aware of his situation which would have been auction if I hadn’t stepped in.
            The horses I took back were because their owners ran into financial difficulties after they had been purchased. That has nothing to do with indiscriminate breeding.
            Your comments are not realistic because you want to save every horse without offering an alternative other than to stop all breeding. That would cause extinction in one generation if that were to happen, but that is the goal of animal rights activists, isn’t it?

      3. Carolyn McDonald

        Barbara S – you stated that late term mares should not go to slaughter nor mares with foals at foot. But it’s okay for mares that do not come under this category to go to slaughter….?

        1. Barbara S

          Since we can’t realistically ban the slaughter industry without creating other problems, I made the suggestion to ban a relatively small segment of horses that would be likely to get such an exemption. This would be similar to when it was made illegal to sell a horse at auction that could not bear weight on all four legs.

          1. Carolyn McDonald

            And what might those other problems be?

          2. Barbara S

            More horses left to starve out of sight, horses dumped off on other properties or in the middle of nowhere to fend for themselves. People attempting to destroy a horse without knowing the proper way to do it humanely.
            I would love to be able to save every horse, but as a practical matter, there are not enough good rescues to do it.

          3. Lynne Jones

            And, good rescues and good sanctuaries are taken over by CROOKS and then the animals end up again back in the slaughter train. This happens every year, I’ve known two that it has happened to and each ended up with rich people backing it and disgusting, crooked attorneys that didn’t follow through. Even if every person contributed to a rescue they selected a small amount of money every month, it would help tremendously. Oh, and watch those that you put on the Board, one of those I mentioned above got on only to desimate(?) the sanctuary. They didn’t give a d__ about the horses. I think these animals might still be saved if I had some help from the outside. I could then use good volunteers and small contributions to continue their care for feed, feet trimmings, supplements, and vet care.

          4. Jo-Claire Corcoran

            the problem with your statement, is hirse slaughter is for human consumption and US horses are not safe for the food chain. Look at race horses as a prime example, all the medications and substances which are banned from use in ANY animal intended for human consumption are given to them on a very regular basis.

            The human food chain is not a dumping ground for irresponsible horse owners.

          5. Barbara S

            I’m aware of that. But, if that hasn’t stopped slaughter up til now, what makes you think that argument will stop it in the future?

          6. Jo-Claire Corcoran

            Because before the bills were always about humane issue. We are really getting close to stopping horse slaughter and thet transport of horses for slaughter

          7. Carolyn McDonald

            On the horrific journey to either Mexico or Canada, horses are deprived of food and water, the horses are crammed in, foals are sometimes crushed to death, horses who are injured, sick or weak often go down and arrive if not dead, close to death. Since when are horses killed humanely in the slaughterhouse? The whole process of the slaughter begins with the abhorrent journey and ends with horses shaking in fear, the cries, as the horse ahead of him is clumsily INHUMANELY killed and then it’s his turn to suffer an unspeakable death. Treated as objects, not living creatures and cruel creepy people making money out of their terrible suffering.

            Horses dumped have a better chance because usually they’re either noticed or someone hears about it. Equine uneducated people attempting to kill a horse improperly make sure that the horse is finally dead and I don’t think that that is such a bad thing. I’ve witnessed this myself and the important thing was that the horse didn’t suffer for more than a few minutes while the distressed person used the second bullet to do the job.

            The breeders create this mess. Horse breeding is well and truly out of control.

          8. Barbara S

            The reason the trip to slaughter has become so horrific is because banning slaughter in the US made the situation worse for horses. It would have made more sense to better regulate horse slaughter and transport in the US.
            I don’t agree that dumping horses is a better solution. They can starve, break a leg or get hit by a car. Dumping them in someone else’s pasture to deal with is cowardly and wrong.
            I’m still waiting to hear a realistic means of dealing with unwanted horses. Rescues are great, but there just aren’t enough.

          9. Jo-Claire

            You keep forgetting that nothing trumps food safety. It doesn’t matter how many unwanted horses there are…. however, to put into perspective…. the number of horses going to slaughter accounts for less than 1% of the total horse population in the US. Those numbers will be affected by natural attrition, people will have to euthanise instead of trying to get the last 50.00 out of their horse, they will have to be more responsible with breeding. Breed registries will have to step up to the plate and help provide after care. Those horses going to slaughter over a years time can be absorbed easily.

            Horse slaughter though, as an aside, can never be made humane…. horses anatomy and physiology means there is no head restraint which works, and in Canada, horse slaughter is actually better regulated than it ever was in the US…. it still is a huge problem. We still have a problem with neglect etc… because slaughter does not prevent neglect,,,, Slaughter does encourage excess and bad breeding…

            But again…. bottom line is, we do not raise horses in this country for food…..

          10. Barbara S

            Your solution might work in a perfect world, but the world isn’t perfect. One of the biggest problems with euthanasia is the high cost. I had a boarded horse whose owner retired and was no longer able to afford her. He agreed that if we couldn’t find a rescue to take her, that euthanising would be kinder than sending her to auction.(she was an aged mare with a funny looking knee that was not child safe). We priced the cost of the vet and disposal at $400. In some places it is much higher. Not everyone has that kind of money. We did get lucky and found a rescue willing to take her, but it was a close call with the owner’s deadline.
            Exactly what do you expect breed registries to do?

          11. Jo-Claire

            If you can’t afford to euthanise a horse, then you shouldn’t own a horse, a bullet is a couple of dollars…. is quick and painless. Cost me 85.00 for renderer here and 150.00 for vet. Breed registries need to be putting aside money to help with euthansia funds, aftercare programs, etc. AQHA wanted to be the largest breed registry in the world and they succeeded… they need to take responsibility for AI and encouraging people to breed anything with a uterus. There are currently gelding clinics as well as euthanasia clinics which help offset the expenses, breed registries should help fund those as well as hay banks etc.

            Using the food chain as a dumping ground for toxic meat is not acceptable in the least. And horse slaughter exists for the sole purpose of providing a meat for other countries to buy. Problem is those consumers were led to believe the horses were raised for food when they were not.

            How can you justify sending a non food animal into the food chain, when animals intended for the food chain must be raised under food safety guidelines…. which if not followed carry hefty fines. You cannot.
            There is no way to justify sending toxins into the food chain, especially when the most vulnerable to those banned substances are children, pregnant women, elderly and those with compromised health. Birth defects, spontaneous abortion, cancer, etc…..

          12. Barbara S

            I wish you well in your effort to save every horse, but I still don’t believe it is a realistic solution.

        2. Jo-Claire Corcoran

          She was referencing the USDA/APHIS rules and regulations. … actually only ones which are not supposed to transport to are mares about to foal.

  13. claudette tetreault

    how could anybody do this the wonderful horses that are going to have foals, it is disgusting and I hope hovever did this should be thrown in jail.

  14. Lynne Jones

    This is atrocious. Kathy, yes slaughter has to be abolished and all people having to do with this horrible act should get legal hell for the balance of their lives. I hope the crippled mare can be saved and given a good home. I have horses I’ve saved but in So. Calif. God Bless all of you that helped rescue these beautiful pregnant horses. It’s unforgiving that these a__h__ has no compassion for these animals. No compassion should be given to them. They are the worst of the worst and then some. There should be limitations on the breeding of TBs and all horses, so all have a chance for a good, loving, compassionate home with hugs and kisses coming their way. I wish I could save them all because they would plenty of hugs and kisses. Mine get them.

    1. Margaret McConnell

      I am 70 and riding a horse again is near the top of my bucket list. I would care for one of these mares just to save her life. I miss the smell of a horse and sweet feed. There is nothing like sitting atop a horse on a beautiful day being totally in the moment.

      1. Lynne Jones

        Margaret. Congratulations on your being on a horse at 70. I am 74 and hope one day to do the same. I rescue but because of the distance couldn’t take the mare. I wish someone close buy could get her and give her and her baby a new loving, hugging, home. I hug and kiss my five horses, one donkey, and one recently gotten pony sized mule. I don’t own property but hope I can afford one after I stop working even if it means back to Florida.

      2. Lynne Jones

        Margaret: Congratulation on getting on the horse at 70. I’m 74 and hope one day to that with one of my five. I also have a donkey, and a new pony sized mule. I’m slowly getting the donkey and mule to come to me. I treasure these animals. I don’t have a property where I can be with them every day as I’m still working, but drive ninety miles each weekend, weather permitting, to be with my treasures. I make my day and I know my blood pressure is better just grooming, hugging, feeding, and kissing them. They are God’s most beautiful animal. TO see one running with the beautiful mane and tail flowing so beautifully is a most gorgeous picture one can see. God Bless you and be safe. One day I hope I will be able to do that even if I have to move back to Florida to find property I can afford, as I’m in So. Calif.

  15. Regina

    This is so wrong. This needs to be stopped from ever happening. So glad these horses were just a few that has been rescued . Hope more will be caught before it happens again!!

  16. Ginger

    I agree about bashing the owners, breeders because you are right they will go under ground.
    I hope we find a way to protect these horses after they race to give trainers, owners incentives to donate to charities, or reduce their breeding programs .
    A percent of each purse , in each race go to a slush fund to help these animals.
    Veterinarians given subsidies to enthanize free of charge for the ones that need it , so would not go to slaughter.
    Throughbred industry regulates breeding a senior horse .
    Not recognized after 19 or so.
    It will take time.
    But we must breed responsibly and have a place to turn to when breeders have reversal of fortune or the bred set dies and the family gets rid of these horses

  17. MaryAnn Myers

    This is so sad… The parties involved in this need to be help accountable. Thank you so much for stepping in, everyone, and saving these mares.

  18. Lauren

    People, please stop being nosey nellies and doing your sleuthing. It’s been stated SEVERAL TIMES that the rescue is taking care of it. Your posts are only serving to possibly prevent them from getting the information they need for the foals.

    If you care about the foals, LET THE RESCUE DO ITS JOB.

  19. Bev

    Rescue is a hard world to live in .. Thank the Good Lord for the saviors of abused/neglected/unwanted horses…Its horrible what humans are capable of but nothing will change until the laws are… The most important thing here is that these beautiful animals are safe… You can help by not supporting horse racing, carriage rides, pony rides, the circus, etc etc… anywhere where animals are used for profit.. The animals suffer while humans get rich.

    1. Barbara S

      There is NOTHING wrong about an animal being used for “profit” when the profit goes back into caring for the animal. You are one of the people trying to take away homes from animals that have them, because you think there are an infinite number of rescues and sanctuaries waiting to take them in. This very article makes it quite clear that there are not enough places to take in horses in real need, but yet you want to ban pony rides, carriage rides, circuses, etc. Please get real and stop living in your animal rights fantasy land.

  20. Cheri

    The dreadful horror these innocent horses and their foals narrowly missed crushes my heart in it’s entirety. Anyone or anything that involves the slaughter industry is greasy and soulless. Those who rescue and rehabilitate are beautiful and caring. Sometimes these worlds are in juxtaposition for the very life of the horse… each time, it leaves a scar. There are no words to describe the level of praise I wish for the rescuers and the disdain for those who lead these horses to the gateway of Hades.

  21. Pamela Towne

    Weren’t there more mares than just the ones that went through Gerda’s Animal Aid?

    1. melissa

      Yes 2 mares went private monstreta and belles call

  22. Mary McLeod

    I just want to thank those who bravely go to the auctions and rescue the horses who have no idea why they have ended up unloved. Thank you to all who have participated, are participating, and will participate in this rescue. God bless each of you and the horses. Love to all, Mary in Boone

  23. Barb

    I saw Open Zipper yesterday at Kay’s where she will have her foal in April/May. She is 300 lbs. underweight, is very wobbley behind and has two old broken knees that probably weren’t tended to correctly. Needless to say, she’s survived on those legs for years. The vet doesn’t think she is in pain. But she should not travel anymore, at least till she regains strength. Kay loves her already and I am sure, knowing Gerda, that Open Zipper “s well fair will be the main consideration. Most of you would fall in love with her and all the other mares too.

    1. Ginger

      She looks so sweet in the picture.
      I hope all goes well for her and you!re right she propably has walked on those legs for a long time.
      I hope she can stay where she is with her stablemate , and live in peace!

    2. jeff greener

      My name is Jeff Greener. I am the owner of RJG Racing Management. I purchased Open Zipper from her breeder in Canada when she was 3 or 4 years old. she only ran for me 2 or three times and was claimed away from me. I would like to make a donation to the person who is caring for her. Can you put me in touch 717-314-8439

      1. Lynn

        OMG, A responsible race track person. I’m not saying this to be facetious. But it seems like this site all they want to do is Condemn racetrackers and breeders I am so happy that you wrote this you are a hero.

  24. Sandy Carr

    God Bless the rescuers, caregivers, those up put up money…all those people who remind me of what good people can do.

  25. Toni

    It’s “whose” future.

    1. beverlyhartford

      Really, such a petty and small minded comment from the English police! The horror of the topic should be the point, not the incorrect use of the ‘

  26. melissa

    Please understand open zipper is under vet care with an amazing veterinary clinic. Updates will be given as they come and what is right for her will be the deciding factor. In the end it comes down to a quality of life for this poor girl.

  27. Sherry

    Yes you can out them and here’s why, if it is a person who is in racing and the race track you make it known to the track that the horses were sent to slaughter and let the track deal with them. Stop making excuses for these sick people

    1. melissa

      Sherry we have been in contact with the track there is a lot of behind the scene stuff happening still and we can not publicly share it as we can’t chance any witch hunts just yet.

      1. Suzy

        Besides, these mares have not been near a track for years, and may have had several owners. Once the people at the track find the horse a nice home, who is to say what the “nice” home decides to do with them years, and years down the road.

    2. Kathy

      If you’re going to out anyone, make sure you have the right people. It’s not fair if you accuse someone who is innocent — and you might find yourself on the receiving end of a suit. So let’s not anyone jump the gun before you’re absolutely certain that you have the person or persons who actually sold these mares. Doing otherwise can do more harm than good.

  28. Lise from Maine


    Who owned these horses? Disclose who they are and shame them big time.

    1. Barb

      I don’t know who owned them but I got the impression it was due to a legal matter as I was told they HAD to go through an Auction.

  29. Dooris Brooks

    I agree that slaughter has to be abolished. Thank God for people like you that look out for them. There is an answer. Are you familiar with the Old Friends Retirement Facilities? The Old Friends at Kentucky Downs was Michael Blowens’ baby and he is president. They have these all over the U.S. Michael has some of the horses at his farm. I am familiar with this one as my daughter works for Michael. She manages the Kentucky Downs farm and horses and believe me, she loves and takes care of them as if they were own. They operate strictly on donations, money from tours, and a once a year race. This money is used to feed the horses, get them vet care, and whatever they need. I understand the jockey of one comes to visit his horse and is impressed with the set up. Just recently they brought War Emblem home from Japan after the Japanese family had finished breeding. He was a winner racing and it was time for retirement. Good luck and God bless.

    1. Lynn

      Trying to get a normal horse into old friends is like trying to get lightning in a bottle. They seem to only want to take champion race horses that are retired. I normal horse has no shot at getting in there unless a person wants to donate thousands of dollars.

      1. Lynn

        Trust me I know I have been trying to get my stallion in there for several years now. I was told he was on a waiting list. I can’t see how he could possibly be on a waiting list for over three years with no phone calls. No he wasn’t famous but he was a fan favorite is his race track. He won 13 races and ran till he was 12 years old quite a nice horse.

      2. Debra Medlock

        Not all are well known or winners at the track. Zippy Chippy never won a race. Fighting City Hall was just an old campaigner who ended up in 2500 Claimer in Portland. Clever Allmont, the same. Someone loved and supported the efforts to get them to Old Friends. Funding helps, of course. BTW, having the Silver Charms and War Emblems at the farms brings the visitors in and their $$. Maybe a GoFund account to help?

        1. kathy

          If you contact Laura or Michael at Old Friends they will help you with places that have availability. Or try Lorita Linderman (she is on facebook) does a lot with TBs needing placement.

        2. kathy

          I also have a retired stallion who lives at Old Friends. He is not a big stake horse but was a very game claimer over the years. They primarily take stallions as they are harder to find a retirement facility for than mares and geldings.

          1. Lynn

            My horse is a stallion. I have called Michael several times. With no return calls. Also my partner has contacted him face-to-face. He promised to check on him. Never did.

        3. Julie

          I am a volunteer at Old Friends at their main Georgetown location. We currently have 104 horses at Dream Chase alone, with plenty of horses who never saw a stakes race or even a winners circle. With the exception of a select few, we are entirely run by volunteers like myself, who is simply an undergrad student at UK who loves racing and horses and in between my class load for a double major and a part time job gives as much time as I can to such an amazing cause. Everyone I have met loves these horses like no other and are in the same boat as me, we may not have all the time in the world, but what we do have we are more than thrilled to give to these incredible horses. Michael is one of the most inspirational people I have ever met, and every horse on this farm and the satellite farms he loves like his own children.While we have received an outpouring of support from fans and those in the industry, we are entirely reliant on donations, and recently took a hit with our smaller barn being lost in a fire (industry leaders graciously donated enough to cover its reconstruction but that is a large chunk of money that has now has to go to that versus the care of over 100 horses on our property alone). Horses like Silver Charm, War Emblem, Game on Dude, Touch Gold, Alphabet Soup, and Sarava help bring in fans and are the ambassadors for our farm. However, one of the horses fans love most is Archie’s Echo, who was saved from New Holland like these mares. And unfortunately, we do have a wait list. I do not know exactly how long that wait list might be, but I am sure it is rather lengthy. Sadly spaces really only open up when we get the funding for more land (which we are working on) or our current residents pass on, which while a large majority of our herd is in their late teens/twenties, the farm manager and staff give them top care so we have a great deal of horses entirely happy and healthy at this age (For example, you would never know Silver Charm is 22, especially with how he puts on a show for visitors). I guess the point I am trying to make is I know there is a problem with horses needing forever homes and safe spots to land, that’s clear, and I am sorry that Old Friends couldn’t take your horse who like every horse in trouble is entirely deserving of a safe retirement. If we could take every horse I have zero doubt Michael would, and trust me, he tries. But please realize that Old Friends is truly one of the “good guys” in this game. If you are still looking for a forever home for him please let me know, I have a whole list of contacts and organizations throughout the country involved in aftercare.

          1. Lynn

            I’m sure this farm does save a lot of horses. I’m not doubting that they don’t do good work. I just can’t understand why I could never even get an answer or return call or anything from Michael. I found that extremely rude. Then I saw on the Internet that there were problems with monies and people that were handling them etc. with old friends. Made me wonder if that’s why I’m not getting any calls. whatever. This is a very special horse. He is one of the only remaining Pinebluff studs in America. I am going to breed him to a couple of mares for people that have shown interest. I have been paying for him for the last two years to remain at a farm because I don’t want anything to happen to him. He was my heart and soul this horse ran his heart out on the racetrack. He was a moderate to cheap claim or his entire life but managed to beat a graded stakes place horse, manage to win over 15 races, and managed to rack up 90,000 some dollars. Ran till he was 12 years old, defeated colic for 10 days, of which seven other horses had the same symptoms and they all died he was the only one to survive. My boyfriend and I slept in the barn for 10 days and nights with him getting him up off the ground massaging him through his pain. He was the most courageous Horse you ever saw. During that same year of which the vet said I should turn him out. He ended up winning two races. That’s heart! this horse is extremely special and all I wanted was a place for him to finish out his years where he would never be riden again and he would be recognized for the warrior that he was and still is. However I guess it’s not to be I guess old friends is too good for him.

          2. lexi63

            thank you so much for saving this wonderful horse , but i dont understand why you would even think about breeding him ? adding to the already HORRIFYING OVERPOPULATION of these animals , here you saved this one & the amount that are NOT saved & go across the borders is grotesque in numbers & here you want to add to the problem ? there is NO REASON to breed this animal , he should be gelded & the 2 that you where going to breed should be SAVED IN HIS NAME AT THE THE KILL PENS . for God’s sake do’nt add to the problem , it doesnt matter how much heart he had , there are thousands this week that will go across the border that have the same heart & the problem is what if 2 colts are born ? people will use those to add to the overpopulation more . HELP STOP THE MADNESS & GELD THIS ANIMAL . to hear people think about breeding on a slaughter PIPE LINE page is an OUTRAGE . i hope you rethink your plans & decide to SAVE IN HIS NAME INSTEAD OF ADDING TO THIS GROWING PROBLEM. the slaughter business GROWS by the day & hearing people talk about breeding just boggles my mind.

          3. Lynn

            Number one I’m breeding him to my mare and none of my horses have ever ended up at the killers. I have always found them a good home. Number two not really your business what I do with my stock. Number three your tree hugging goes nowhere with this girl. It’s not the horsebreeders fault all you guys want to do is blame in the breeders. Try looking at a killer sale sometimes and you’ll see Lotta quarter horses Arabs and every other kind of breed not just thoroughbreds . But you guys seem to want to harp on thoroughbreds. And finally not that it’s any of your business but he cannot be gelded he is a ridgeling and I purchased him as a five-year-old it would have endangered his life. Now you know the story I hope you’re happy bye

          4. lexi63

            typical response from a breeder.

          5. Lynn

            Typical response from someone Who jumps on any bandwagon to get attention.

          6. Nancy

            One doesn’t have to breed only thoroughbreds to be a breeder. All those other horses you see at auction were purposely bred by someone. Roaming bands of stallions aren’t out there breeding random mares…
            It’s wonderful that you have committed yourself to taking such care to make sure every horse you have ever owned or bred has a loving forever home. You must recognize, however, that for many breeders it’s the almighty dollar that rules, and if the horse does not bring a return on the investment it goes to auction. This applies to all equestrian sports, not just racing. These are the people who give excellent owners like yourself a bad name. You should direct your anger towards them, not those who work tirelessly to save the throw-aways.
            And just because someone cares about animal welfare, it does not mean they are into hugging trees… It means they are a compassionate human being. I think we can all agree that we need more compassion in this world.

          7. Lynn

            Sorry, by anger was not directed at anyone that is trying to be nice. My anger was directed at a wonderful person who told me “get your head out of your ass” that was unnecessary and rude and I reacted to it thank you

        4. Lynn

          Sorry but the two you mentioned were famous horses. Zippy chipy he was famous for never winning a race in a huge number of starts. And Clever Allmont was a good horse on the race track. Sorry but you’re wrong about that. They were famous horses in their own right. name me a $2500 claimer that didn’t have a foot race with a human being to make him famous but now lives at that farm and I’ll believe you. As far as contributing to that farm everyone contributes when they go to see the horses. That should not be A prerequisite to getting into that farm. Horses should be considered that are not “famous”

          1. LYnne JOnes

            Lynne , you are right. All horses should be saved, winning or losing ones from the races. They all deserve to have new loving homes, no matter what. The breeders area a disgrace.

          2. Lynn

            My point exactly! Thank you!

          3. kathy

            Swans Way is at Old Friends in Ky. He did all of his racing in Mass. And NH. Not all are big time horses. They do an amazing job with all their retirees.

          4. Lynn

            Here’s the write up on swan. Like I said if they’re not sponsored by someone or famous they don’t get in…..He is primarily sponsored by novelist Leslie Epstein, head of the graduate program in creative writing at Boston College, even though our Swan is missing one of Proust’s Swann’s “n’s.” Leslie’s father and uncle, Philip G. and Julius J. Epstein, wrote “Casablanca,” among other movies. His son, Theo, is the General Manager of the Boston Red Sox. His daughter, Anya, was the head writer and a producer of “Homicide: Life on the Street” and his son-in-law, Dan Futterman, was nominated for an Oscar for “Capote.” We’re trying to get Leslie to retire to Old Friends. You can’t fault Leslie or Swannie’s bloodlines.

  30. melissa

    Please be polite we still dont have paperwork for the foals again please don’t go crazy we are awaiting the stallion reports there will be time to do it. I am concerned that this article could cause us to not get them and if anyone goes crazy we may never get those reports. AGAIN LET GERDA GET THE INFO FIRST!!!!!!!!!

    1. Bev

      Your comment is confusing. You state that this article may have harmed or could harm efforts to get foal papers but this article could not have been printed without permission from gerda. Perhaps that should have been considered before the interview.

      1. melissa

        Bev your 100% correct but with such an out pouring support an article like this is good as I was the bidder and have done a some of the behind the scenes work getting info I personally feel this article should have waited a little bit longer and been 100% correct but it’s out there now so if this doesn’t have any impact on the paperwork for the foals great but people contacting the wrong people would definitely ruin our chances to get that paperwork.

  31. Lisa Haymaker

    Someone could, just as likely, have taken/purchased these mares, in foal, from either Richard Miller or Peter Giangiulio, both who bred the earlier foals. That does NOT mean they had any knowledge of their fate here. Mr. Giangiulaio is a director on PA Breeders; I have a hard time believing (hope not anyway) that he would have a hand in this. Let’s have confidence the good folks who retrieved these mares will get to the bottom of it all soon enough.

    1. melissa

      Lisa you are 100% correct we have spoke to Mr Miller he sold 5 mares to a women 6 months ago and to his understanding she was keeping all and the foals. The people involved with pulling these mares have been diligent on getting information we are not sharing all of it as right now we don’t want to ruin the chance of getting the stallion reports and paperwork for the foals. We dont want anyone to go on a witch hunt to the wrong person/persons the correct people will and are being contacted.

  32. THE VAULT: horse racing past and present

    There should be TWO from me! Both listing owners.

  33. MsMoose

    According to equibase, three of these mares’ last foals were bred by a “R.N.Miller. Coincidence, or ……???? Slaughter is always horrific; slaughter of a mare carrying a foal is double-horrific!

  34. Jeannie

    I will take zipper and her goal. Please, let’s give her a chance. I will come get them after she delivers. Please email me if this is possible. I have a small horse farm in to with a wonderful trainer and vet.

  35. Ginny

    My heart is heavy for these mares and their fate before their life-saving intervention. Of particular concern is the mindsets of the people who operate these auctions as they willingly receive (for slaughter), these mares in foal. For God’s sake, it’s bad enough to have to live with the auction in its present form, but this is unconscionable. I am particularly grieved by “Zipper’s” injuries and will contribute to her vet bills. I hope she will be able to be saved. God I hate this.

  36. Karen Nason Abdulfattah

    THANK YOU for saving these beautiful mares and their soon to be born foals. It is horrific to think of them being trucked to Mexico or Canada with no care, no food, no water, and no hope! It is sad to think no one but kill buyers bid on them. A horse of my own has been a life long dream but I am now in no shape financially or physically to care for one. God Bless you for all you do. It is also happening to our “so-called” Federally Protected Wild Horses. Thousands that were sold to a known kill buyer, Tom Davis, for $10.00/ head cannot be accounted for~~on the papers he had written they were being sent to Mexico to be “in the movies” Unfortunately, it can be a very good income for someone with a heart of stone. Buy for $10/ sell for $100.00 right across the border. This one individual has bought @ least 1700 Mustangs and the BLM woman who worked with him was given a promotion for adopting so many Mustangs out to new homes. The whole idea of slaughter makes me sick.

  37. Susan Kayne

    Any recourse against thoroughbred owner/breeder who dropped them off … And who continues to breed and race.

  38. Lisa Haymaker

    Not saying this is the responsible party, but R.N. Miller of PA is one name that pops up in the history of these mares & their previous foals. Questions, of how they ended up at New Holland, might start with him/her.

    1. Lisa Haymaker

      Peter Giangiulio (PA) came up on two (doing breeder searches on the mare’s progeny. I don’t expect my post to be approved, given these names being mentioned, but am hoping it will be passed along to the authorities needing to know. Thank you & keep us posted please.

  39. Bev Dee

    I am so happy to hear all of these horses are safe. However, I would never ” thank” anyone in the slaughter chain for “help” when they drove a horse “back” [to safety]. Why is it so easy to forget that the son did not drive that horse to safety as an act of kindness. He did it because there was money involved. $700 to be exact. I would have cried tears of joy to see the horse safely out of their hands, but as soon as the lead rope was handed over, I’d have given that 2nd or 3rd generation killer a piece of my mind that he soon would not forget.

    1. J

      Kill buyers wouldn’t buy horses if there were none presented to them to buy. Instead of bashing on them how about criticizing the thousands of careless breeders and owners who continually breed and sell animals at the sales without a care and the uneducated horse owners who get in over there head financially and education wise to even have a large animal.

    2. melissa

      Bev the problem with giving a kill buyer a piece of your mind Is you can ruin any future possibilities of saving the next one they get. Even if you don’t like it rescuers have working relationships with kill buyers to save horses and they are definitely needed.

      1. Bev

        Melissa you enable a kill buyer every time you pay one of them for a horse. Good hearted people and rescuers aren’t going to change the outcome as a whole. They just change the outcome for the horse they save from slaughter. There is ALWAYS another horse in line to take their place on the truck. These people make their living selling horses. They don’t care whether it is to you or the slaughter house. Giving one of them a piece of my mind won’t ruin your relationship with them because “you” are their PRIMARY market. They make more money from bleeding hearts than they do at the slaughter house. But because there are so many horses with nowhere to go they can AND WILl always fill the spot you made on the truck with another horse.
        Want towns a difference for ALL horses????? Network and work to push anti slaughter legislation through congress. Until it becomes illegal you are paddling upstream and at a premium price.

    3. janwindsong

      The kill buyer industry is nothing but a mess of low llife untalented leeches.

    4. slewsgirl

      Spot on, Bev. Chuckie Beam should never be thanked for anything with all the blood on his hands.

    5. Barbara S

      It costs money to trailer a horse. The vehicle owner needs to be compensated for having and maintaining the truck and trailer. Time,tolls, and fuel spent traveling both directions should also be compensated. Even when a horse is trailered for free, it is a good gesture to compensate for fuel.

  40. comedyflyer

    #Yes2SAFE….I twitter constantly …So glad Susan that you keep the info flowing…a big shout out to you & all those involved in this rescue…so much suffering has been avoided……thank you…

  41. Jan Berman

    The stomach turning horror here is not slaughter or the possibility of ! The sickening part is that a human who had guardianship of these vulnerable animals and their unborn, could so easily send them off down this path. There are alternatives! Rescues and advocates will still work on placing a group like this if they are given the chance before auction, before those mares are subjected to all the illness, diseases and risk at both auctions and KB’s feedlots, before the risk of aborting a baby on the truck or in the filthy feedlot happens. All it takes is a few minutes of considering the horses, the mares, so trusting and dependent. Somewhere in even the worst of us there has to be a shred of decency. If not, you are in the wrong business for sure

  42. Jenifer

    What exactly is wrong with Open Zipper’s legs? I can offer a home after her foal is weaned if you please don’t put her down.

  43. Emma

    This is horrifying 🙁 Poor girls.

    I will say I would have trouble believing that any of these mares came from a TB breeding facility if there isn’t explicit proof. I can’t imagine a farm spending thousands of dollars for 9+ months of prenatal care for four horses and then dumping them.

    I hope they all foal out safely, and that they and their babies will be healthy going forward, but I do hope that the TB world isn’t vilified because of where they were found. Thank goodness for the people who saved them.

    1. Morgan Kennedy

      I have one of the horses rescued from there. A multi-million dollar Thoroughbred facility.

    2. lexi63

      the thoroughbred world needs no help in “villifying” them they do a GREAT job at this all by themselves , you are talking about people who BREED & USE animals SPECIFICALLY FOR PROFIT , they cull the unwanted in a heartbeat & without a care about what happens to them . trust me on this, i had been an insider for over 35 years & i know these people all too well ( behind the scenes). THIS NEWS STORY is an ALL TOO CLEAR ABSOLUTE depiction of what these people ( the overwhelming majority) from the breeding sheds/farms who cull the tiniest victims who end up in holes in the back of farms to the dumpers of horses who ran their hearts out in the triple crown races found at kill pens , while they are telling people how much they do for the unwanted horses out of one side of their mouths they are making plans to dump 20 of those same horses so send them over the border out the other side of their mouth . So i don’t know where you get your “idea’s” that the thoroughbred sport horse industry needs not be painted with the brush this example of pregnant mares dumped unmercifully depicts exactly what the people in this INDUSTRY DO. It is entirely cold hearted and i don’t care what anyone says , who ever says this is not par for the course for the entire INDUSTRY is NOT dealing in reality. There are some VERY good people out there but those would be the ones picking up the racing industries “TRASH”. This is just another heartbreaking story and thank God brought to light by . & Sorry but i really can’t stand to see people defending this sickening closed society of horse abusers, cullers & killers & that badly need policing & refuse to do it among themselves as they are all doing shit that they know they shouldnt be doing.

      1. Annice Johnston

        The whole situation is very sad and disturbing. However, there are plenty of horses other than Thoroughbreds going to the kill buyers. The largest registry and annual foal crop is AQHA and there are plenty of QHs going thru the sales rings. And there are many in the Thoroughbred industry trying to improve the future of these horses.

      2. Carolyn McDonald

        Totally agree with all your comments here lexi63. Shame on the horseracing industry which does an excellent job of keeping the kill buyer industry in business. A handful of mares saved here but what about the thousands of others which the racing industry has purposefully bred for the $2 bets, greed, big egos and human entertainment which they call a “sport”. It’s a BLOOD SPORT that destroys horses in races, in training and in the horrific slaughterhouses where these sentient beings suffer unspeakable deaths.

        1. Lynn

          You know since you’re so smart and so intelligent about the thoroughbred industry. Why don’t you look at the hunter jumper industry and the cross country and see how many horses are broke down and Put down or received career ending injuries. Or the backyard ” horseman” that starves their horses to death. There was a young girl killed and her horse put down the next day doing cross country the other day it’s all over the Internet. But this is something all the little rich girls can’t wait to do with their little horsey’s. Try doing a little bit more research before you condemn an industry. And oh by the way no we don’t raise them for a two dollar bet. We raise them for their majesty their beauty and their courage. Go hug a tree

          1. Carolyn McDonald

            You suggest that I do a little more research? Came across a broodmare that had 12 foals from 2000-2013 in my research recently, gives birth and within weeks is impregnated again. In the state of pregnancy for 13 years with no respite. Of those 12 foals only 5 raced and of those 5 only 3 won a race and of those 3 only one was successful and this gelding won almost $1.5million in prizemoney alone. She herself was well bred, had won in racing and was bred only with top sires and was 19 years of age when she went through the sales, went for a song and not surprisingly I came to a dead end as to her outcome. Some horses are put through purely for tax benefits so for her service to the industry she was disposed of and highly likely went to slaughter.
            I was born into a racing family which has been racing horses since the early 1800s and to this very day some extended family continue to carry on with the family tradition. About 20 years ago my father was informed that some of the family’s horses were being mistreated. Rather than sit in the Members’ Lounge on raceday, I took off my rose coloured glasses and worked for a trainer to find out for myself what really goes on with these horses. I witnessed horses being abused, mistreated, bashed, drugged, sent out to race when sore and carrying injuries and of course put on a kill truck when no longer viable. Since that experience I set out to investigate and research the welfare of the racehorse and have done so and continue on with it.

            A question for you Lynn, why are you so keen to part company with your much loved stallion that did so well in racing? One would think that he’d be one of the family and treated accordingly.

          2. Lynn

            I am not as you put it “keeen to part with this stallion. I am a retired person living on pension and Social Security and trying to keep my horses. My significant other died recently and has put a financial burden on me. Not to mention physical and emotional problems with his parting. This horse is a part of the family that’s why I’ve been trying to get him into old friends I don’t want anyone to ever ride him again or ever abuse him again and I know the only place that I could do this would be at old friends. You know the shame is is it you worked for a trainer that did all of that. I am a hands on owner trainer/groom. My horses have never been mistreated they have never been put on a kill truck, they have always been loved and respected for the majestic creature that they are. So you have to realize that there are good and bad people in any industry. It’s a shame that you never looked for the good people and only looked for the bad.

    3. lexi63

      here are the pedigrees for these mares – all came from different places (florida-kentucky,canada-new york ) ,But they are all elderly mares , in their upper teens I wonder how they all ended up here at this auction , simply sickening , this had to be their final breeding for most – I hope someone digs & finds out who dumped these poor girls , they NEED TO BE EXPOSED. If someone wants to dig and find out who dumped them, i will make phone calls & drag their names through the shit piles they should be drug through.

      OPEN ZIPPER ( raced 15 times – winner ) :::

      MURPHY’S CODE ( raced 1 time unplaced ) :::

      LILLY AND ICE ( ran 64 times – winner ) :::


      LOVELY NESS ( 1 start unplaced ) –

      1. melissa

        Shelly mandel is the name we have been told for open zipper and stand n ovation

      2. olemissmom

        Good for you, if not the TB breeders, then somebody was looking to profit from breeding these mares and they should be called out who ever they are.

      3. Christine Egidio

        The problem with doing that is two-fold. First, sadly, what they did is perfectly legal. Second, if you make a huge scene and call out the person who dumped these mares at auction, the next time this happens (and it WILL happen again), the owners may just sell directly to killbuyer and not even run the mares through auction for fear of being villified. Anything you say to these people will not change them. But things you say can affect what happens to future horses.

      4. Annice Johnston

        Just curious, do you attack the QH breeders for overbreeding? There are 3,288,923 Quarter Horses registered, and 1,291,807 Thoroughbreds. I might be looking in the wrong place but I do not see much about QH rescue/rehome organizations, whereas there are quite a few of those for Thoroughbreds.

        1. Lynn

          Thank you!!!!!!!!!

        2. lexi63

          yes, do not worry yourself that i blame only thoroughbred breeders , when it comes to the innocent animals at the hands of breeders = murderers- yes the aqha & its members are just as much to blame as ALL BREEDERS perhaps more as you stated they breed in even higher numbers to feed the slaughter pipeline ( many arabians & other breeds too have no reason to be bred , yet people and their ego’s think they have the “ONLY PROPER ARABIAN LINEAGE THEY ARE BREEDING” who also do not take responsibility for the offspring they bring into this world but breed simply for profit and ego . ALL BACKYARD breeders are to blame as well, let me just breed 2 more from my stallion , WHY ? who knows ALL PET & SPORT ANIMALS in the united states are OVERPOPULATED & people need to help stop the madness instead of contributing to it as all these animals are the ones who are paying . I am a vegan so i am sure myout look on animals is far different then most here , yes little me that “crazy vegan ” I have the “outrageous idea” that BREEDING ANIMALS TO BE MURDERED for no matter what the reason is WRONG and it is in the hands of humans as they ARE THE CAUSE. PERIOD. this stuff doesnt need to happen and shouldnt happen and shouldnt be left to others to clean up the “mess’ the IRRESPONSIBLES make . So educate people every chance you get and let them know that these animals are overpopulated and to please help stop the madness , stop contributing to the suffering of the innocent .

          1. Barbara S

            Since you are an emotional animal rights vegan, am I correct that you want to see an end to the breeding and keeping of all domestic animals? That is the ultimate goal of true animal rights activists. You want to spay and neuter all living animals and ensure that they become extinct. You aren’t actually interested in animal welfare, just your long term goal of extinction.

          2. Jo-Claire Corcoran

            I blame the FDA, USDA, the kill buyers etc… for providing a dumping ground for adulterated horses which they then sell for human consumption.

            I do blame AQHA for years of encouraging the breeding of anything just to increase their numbers without regards to diseases like HYPP…

            I do blame AQHA for being pro slaughter…. at the same time I blame the racing industry for not providing enough oversite and non enforcement of anti slaughter policies.

            I am not a supporter of PETA in any way shape or form.

          3. lexi63

            WOW how judgmental of you. ” an emotional animal rights vegan”, ha ha ha ha , let me quess , your an animal eater / hypocrite ? one who pretends to love animals , but only when you dont feel a hankering for their flesh in your mouth ? you wouldnt know if a chef served you a horse meat or buffalo burger and it would’nt matter, when you have a hankering for a bloody burger all you want is that warm dead suffering, rotting, flesh in your mouth .

          4. Jo-Claire Corcoran

            lesson 101, how not to win people over yo your way of thinking

          5. Barbara S

            lexi63 It would appear from your response that my assessment of you is correct. You also never answered my question. Do you want domestic animals to become extinct?

          6. Jo-Claire Corcoran

            ummmm I am not Lexi

          7. Barbara S

            I know, but I couldn’t find a “reply” link for Lexi’s post. That’s why I put her name in my comment.

        3. Kim Howell

          Amen!! AI and embryo transfer, legal in QH NOT THOROUGHBREDS, have caused such a glut on the market for QH it’s staggering…but the PETA puppets and anti-racing chain rattlers never mention it. Does the horse industry have problems? Yes. Is it all Thoroughbred racing/breeding?? HELL NO!! Want to stop horse slaughter?? Close the pipeline!! If your culture eats horse, raise them for food like beef. Don’t give them Bute, lasix, steroids, etc. Don’t buy horsemeat from North and Central American slaughter plants. Boycott them! You have no idea what you’re eating!! Personally, I’d starve before knowingly eating horse…and stay away from my BEAUTIFUL RACING THOROUGHBREDS!!

  44. Terri stufflebean

    Please email me update so
    Awful, thank God for good people to help!

  45. Kate

    Did they track down where these mares came from?

  46. lorikay4

    Someone knows the names of who took these mares to auction. Out them!

    1. melissa

      The name of a women who possible shipped Open zipper crippled mare, stand n ovation who is with Barb and a mare who went private belles call was mentioned but not conformed yet.

    2. Gail Hirt

      I keep asking myself why it is so important that everyone needs to know where they came from, who had them, ya da ya da….The rescue is still trying to get information on them and if you go slamming everyone that had a hand on these horses before they ended up at New Holland, no one will work with the rescue. Bottom line is…the rescue is still working on this information. The horses are safe and being well cared for. If anyone really wants to help, help the horses by donating to Gerda’s Animal Rescue through paypal at

      1. melissa

        Thank you Gail people need to understand everything takes time and we are all working behind the scenes to get what we can done .

      2. Annie Metz-Faulkner

        Thank You, Gail, for the voice of reason!!! All you armchair specialists, just simmer down, let them handle it the way they know best. The horses are now in safe hands, lets all take a deep breath. And, Thank You, Rescue people!!! You are so very needed!

      3. Marion Mohrman

        Gail, thanks for your comment so we all keep our eyes on what is important, those mare are safe. Let’s not lose site of that

  47. Colleen

    I hope we can get an update at some point with photos of their foals!

  48. Kathy

    This is horrific — it turns my stomach. Slaughter HAS to be abolished.

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