Horse Protection Overview
Thanks to a generous grant from the Vancouver Foundation, TRACS has launched a project that will assist in raising awareness about the plight of equines in our country and will promote the adoption of horses to good homes. According to Agriculture Canada, 93,812 horses were slaughtered in Canada in 2009.
Of these, over half, 52,405 of the horses slaughtered in Canada were recorded as arriving from the United States. The last of the equine slaughter plants had been shut down in Illinois and Texas in 2007. Now those horses discarded by people are being shipped here to Canada and to Mexico for slaughter.
(Above) Richelieu Meats – Feb 10, 2010 – American horses slaughtered the next day
Those horses coming to Canada arrive at one of five federally-inspected slaughter plants from a variety of directions. Many are so-called “culls” from breeding operations and industries (for instance, Quarter Horses and Thoroughbred race horses) and many others are from private homes no longer able or willing to continue caring for their horses. Still others are from defunct trail riding businesses and from the PMU (Pregnant Mare Urine) industry, well-known for sending its unwanted foals and spent mares to auction and slaughter.
Until horse slaughter is banned entirely in Canada this sad business will continue.
Facilitating Adoptions Through Public Awareness:
Over the years, TRACS has rescued and re-homed hundreds of horses from the PMU industry many of them foals.
We have celebrated the lives that we were able to save, and have grieved over those left behind at auctions where feedlot operators picked up their quota.
(Left) Slaughterbound auction horses May 2009
Typically, TRACS rescuers expressed regrets about the fact that more could not be saved. Monetary and space constraints were always factors that prevented us from saving more.
Regarding funding for rescue, not only must organizations pay to purchase horses-at-risk from auctions (and sometimes directly from feedlots), but they must cover maintenance costs for rescued animals also. These expenses, depending on how long animals are held until an adoptive home is found, can be crippling.
Hay costs, farrier fees, dewormers and veterinary care are all necessary to horse maintenance.
In an effort to facilitate the adoption of equines who may otherwise remain indefinitely in sanctuary, TRACS is developing a database of qualified horse rescue centres, listed by province, in Canada. We encourage additions to this list, but require references on individual facilities that we are not familiar with.
A second database is in the development stage at this time also. We are compiling an extensive list of horse-related businesses. Our goal will be to inform these businesses of horse rescue centres that are closest to their area, and to encourage information- sharing with clientele in an effort to further advertise the existence of facilities in various communities.
Often in their search for “the perfect horse”, potential adopters or buyers will not be aware of the tireless work of rescuers, who rehabilitate and train sound, beautiful animals solely for the purpose of giving them a second chance. As an adoption incentive, TRACS is offering a $50 rebate to be paid, as funds permit, to adopters who obtain a horse from one of the qualified rescues listed in our database. In the event that an animal is returned for any reason to the rescue centre, the rebate amount will be deducted from the funds owing to the adopter and will be returned to TRACS by the rescue centre.