Oilman helps 10 trotters slip slaughter pipeline

Ten Standardbred horses, including this one, were rescued from a Pennsylvania kill pen with help from Dallas oilman John Murrell.

Ten Standardbred horses, including this one, were rescued from a Pennsylvania kill pen with help from Dallas oilman John Murrell.

A Texas oilman who has donated tens of thousands of dollars through the years to help save slaughter-bound Thoroughbred ex-racehorses swooped in last week to help save 10 Standardbred trotters from the grisly fate.

John Murrell, of Three M Oil Co., Dallas, donated $2,500 toward a $10,000 Go Fund Me to save the trotters before they were due to ship on Saturday to the slaughterhouse. After the fundraiser had fallen short of its goal, Murrell interceded.

“I’d heard about the 10 Standardbred trotters, and then I got a message from Diana Pikulski of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation saying they were trying to help the (Standardbred Retirement Foundation) by chipping in and helping them get information out there. I couldn’t put up the full $10,000, but I said to find out how much they needed and I’d do the best I could,” Murrell says. The two charities are not affiliated with each other. “When I found out later they were $1,800 short of their goal, I said we could do this. I decided to send them $2,500 to put them over the top.”

The Standard Retirement Foundation of New Jersey rescued 10 trotters by raising nearly $10,000 using Go Fund Me.

The Standard Retirement Foundation of New Jersey rescued 10 trotters by raising nearly $10,000 using Go Fund Me.

It was on Pikulski’s recommendation that Murrell agreed to help longtime Standardbred Retirement Foundation Executive Director Judith Bokman and the 28-year-old charity for trotters. “After Diana assured me she was a delightful, respectful, and trustworthy person, I decided to reach out to offer my help,” Murrell adds.

Bokman, who co-founded the New Jersey retirement foundation, says she is eternally grateful to Murrell as well as myriad donors. Never before had she attempted to raise so much, so fast, and through a Go Fund Me campaign, she says.

But tough times demanded new thinking, she explains.

“We’ve been rescuing horses from slaughter for a long time. Last year we assisted in taking out 115,” Bokman says. “We’ve been involved in many rescues, but we’ve never had this large a number (of horses needing rescue). Instead of three horses, there were 10. Because there were so many, and because I felt like I was always going back to the same people to ask for help, I put up a Go Fund Me page to try to reach some new people.”

Rescued Standardbreds have been brought to safety and will remain in quarantine in New Jersey for now.

Rescued Standardbreds have been brought to safety and will remain in quarantine in New Jersey for now.

After putting out a plea on Facebook, Bokman raised roughly $8,000 to save the band of horses who, for the most part, were Illinois bred. “It took six days to raise that money, and I was pretty disappointed to see that only five percent of the money came from people in harness racing. The others who gave are just people who love horses,” she says.

Murrell, who owns and races Thoroughbreds, has been a longtime proponent of aftercare efforts. And he and his wife Kelley donate generously to Thoroughbred rescue efforts. Though he cringes to think of all that money flowing into the hands of meat buyers, he says he loves all horses, and helps when he can.

“I can’t save them all. That would be foolish and I’d be broke. But, I was very impressed with Judith Bokman and what she was able to accomplish with her fundraiser.”

The horses were rescued from the kill pen in Shippensburg, Penn., says Bokman, who notes that all horses are safe. Each horse was purchased for $770, and a shipper was commissioned to collect the horses and transport them to quarantine in New Jersey, she adds. Six of the horses have a new home arranged, and the charity continues to screen applicants for the others, she says.

The plan now is to get the horses comfortable, attend to their feet and let them recover their ordeal in a quarantine facility.

“Most of the horses are sound. They’re not happy—they all look miserable—and their feet are tremendously long,” Bokman says. “But, they all had shoes on and it looks like most of them had already been under saddle.”

And most important, she says, the horses are all safe.

18 responses to “Oilman helps 10 trotters slip slaughter pipeline”

  1. Erik1986

    I would guess,from their condition, that they were dumped by Amish farmers, not tack trainers/owners.

  2. lulu

    He is a really good Man !!!!!

  3. Patty Wilson

    John strikes again!! You gotta love that man when it comes to helping horses. He is always there.

  4. Mary McLeod

    Thank you John & Kelley Murrell, Judith Bokman, Diana Pikulski, Gerda Silver, ALL who donated via GoFundMe for being a village and rescuing these equines who were, through no fault of their own, in a desperate situation. Thank you Susan for keeping us informed. xoxo to ALL who work hard to save ALL we can, Mary in Boone

  5. Diana. Leahy

    Thank you, hope there are more out there like you

  6. Sally

    Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Murrell.

  7. Susan Lindberg

    Thank you Judith Bokman and John Murrell for these precious lives saved. Bless you both.
    Breaks my heart .. this will never end until we hold the racing industry, AQHA and the like responsible for overbreeding and the careless treatment of these animals. They are not throw aways…they have a right to live and he cared for. Such greed and uncaring makes me sick and ashamed to be a human being.
    Write and call your legislators – we must put an end to horse slaughter – stop the shipment of our horses to Mexico and Canada and the certain cruel, inhumane, barbaric death that awaits the them.

  8. Susan Ifland

    Thank you John Murrell, you are a good man!

  9. Kitty

    Thanks so much to everybody for saving these poor animals, and especially to Mr. Murrell for all he did for these and the others. I see the Amish are still using, abusing and throwing away these beautiful and sweet horses! Despicable.

  10. Mary Bourdeau

    My standardbred mare was the best riding horse ever. I got her when she was 4 and I was 14, and she raised me and both of my children before she passed at age 28. Thanks to everyone who cares enough to help!

  11. Laura

    Thanks to all involved – special thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Murrell for once again donating.

  12. Billie Hurst

    I wanted a horse all my life and when I moved to a rural area I got my horse. He was what I was told was an American Standardbred. He was so smart and gentle and my 11 yr old son rode him all over the mountains. He was only 3 yrs old and I knew nothing about horses, but loved them. He would go stand on the hill next to our road and let us know when a car had turned in off the highway.We had a watch horse !!! Thank everyone who helps to save horses .

  13. Kathryn Baker

    bless everyone who helped rescue these horses from a gruesome fate.

  14. G. Killoran

    Only 5% coming from the racing Standardbred people – not good enough.

  15. SusanA

    Just thank you to all involved. God bless you all for your tireless efforts.

  16. Barb

    Thank you to all the rescues and John Murrell for donating $ and caring to come through for these mostly Amish standies. Gerda Silver of Gerda’s Animal Aid personally came up with $ to save two of these twelve from NH. It seems never-ending. But each life saved reaffirms life and humanity. Kudos again to all who helped save them and for the cooperation of the major breed rescues involved.

  17. gerda silver

    He is a GOOD man!!!

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