Prominent Vet Admits 10,000-12,000 Thoroughbreds Are Slaughtered Every Year

It has long been the prevailing wisdom of those familiar with this hideous industry that thousands of “retired” Thoroughbreds end up brutally slaughtered in abattoirs north and south of these united states each year. Having written extensively on this issue, I believe that it is in fact a majority. Yes, a majority. But until now, I had yet to see anyone closely associated with racing go on the record with a number. Then this in yesterday’s Daily Gazette, in an article about “Thoroughbred aftercare”:

“This is a particularly cogent point when considering numbers Dr. [Patricia] Hogan – one of the most prominent equine veterinarians in the U.S., and [someone who] works closely with the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association – cited with regard to horse slaughter for human consumption. Despite laws banning it in the U.S., horses still make their way to abattoirs in Canada and Mex­ico. While foal crops these days number around 20,000 per year, 10,000-12,000 off-the-track thoroughbreds are vanned across borders to be slaughtered.”

In prior posts I have cited a Wild for Life Foundation study that estimated that 19% of the American horses slaughtered each year are Thoroughbreds. According to the Equine Welfare Alliance, 114,091 U.S. horses were slaughtered in 2016. 19% of that is roughly 21,000 (Thoroughbreds only, not including Quarterhorses and Standardbreds). Obviously, 21,000 is far greater than Ms. Hogan’s 10,000-12,000. But is there a meaningful difference, the kind of difference that would make one say, that’s a whole other story? Of course not. The story here, the big, bold, screaming headline here, is that thousands – multiple thousands – of used-up “equine athletes” are being bled-out and butchered – after, that is, enduring terrifying treks across our borders – every single year. Racing’s dirty, blood-drenched little secret.

So remember this the next time someone says that an afternoon at the track is but an innocuous passing of time – good, clean, family fun. All actions have consequences, and the consequence of $2 bets, admission tickets, and pulls of racino slots is killing, is carnage. In a word, it’s unconscionable.


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  1. This is horrific for the horses. To think that Sec. Zinke recommends slaughtering wild horses in custody and ones free on the range to save $4 million is deceitfully disgusting when the BLM program of land leases to ranchers/investors costs the taxpayers $100 million to maintain. This has to stop both regarding race horses and related industry horses and those wild horses who do so well in the deserts of our country.

  2. This business is unadulterated evil to it’s very core and back.
    Our government needs to stop facilitating this business by furnishing millions in either taxpayers money, corporate welfare and/or casino profits.
    They are equally responsible for keeping this legitimized animal cruelty going just as the bettors are.
    In addition, this industry pulls in billions in wagering profits, via the Interstate Horse Wagering Act, and never seems to account for this money.
    This money is supposedly not taxed at all, and is largely operating with virtual impunity, and accountability.
    So where is this money going, and why should they get handouts?
    You would think the government would ask these questions before furnishing them with taxpayers money, corporate welfare, and casino profits.
    Instead they seem to just rubber stamp this industry year in and year out.
    With most local and state budgets in virtual bankruptcy they still find money to give to this business!
    It’s totally outrageous, and so is the dying of racehorses.
    It’s got to go, and it will go.

  3. 4-year-old Dewdrop’s Heart was just rescued from the Bowie, Texas feedlot over the weekend. She last raced at Mountaineer on May 29, 2017.

    The 2001 bay horse Tequesta entered stud in 2007 after suffering a suspensory injury. Standing at Blue House Farm in PA, his 2017 fee was 1K. You can see him currently listed for sale on the PA Kill Pen Network FB page.

  4. The dumping of racehorses happens every single day – just scroll through your social media of choice and you will see the discarded former “family members”.

    And the no-slaughter policies some racetracks have?…What. A. Joke.

    Mountaineer, for instance…just this past week, these three racehorses who last ran at Mountaineer found themselves dumped;

    Wave Ofassault. 2012 bay mare. Last ran for (O) Jeff Zook and (T) Donna Zook on 8-23-17 at Mountaineer. She finished last – “folded up, [eased]”…over 59 lengths back. She stands at the end of a lead, listed for sale with a deadline on the “Moore’s Equines for Rescue” FB page. Now this is what MEFR states regarding their equines for sale and the deadlines they impose; “This is a strict deadline and any horse that does not make it will ship to slaughter”.

    Whatsupnotmuch. 2008 bay gelding. Last ran for O/T Burton Sipp at Mountaineer on 8-29-17. He, like Wave Ofassault, is facing a deadline at Moore’s Equines for Rescue.

    Coca Kota. A 2014 dark bay filly. This three-year-old last ran for O/T J. Edwin Shilling at Mountaineer on 9-24-17. Yes, that’s right, SEPTEMBER 24. She finished 8th of 9 – “tired in the upper stretch”. Coca Kota waits for salvation at Fisher Horses and Tack. According to friend and fellow equine advocate Lynn Hadfield, Fisher’s are dealers who buy and sell every week at New Holland.

    Wave Ofassault. Whatsupnotmuch. Coca Kota. All last raced – and very recently – at Mountaineer. All facing very precarious futures. And all of this is a very common occurrence in this industry…the sending of its horses to auction and slaughter.

  5. Yesterday, this from the PA Kill Pen Network; “There may be close to 200 hundred horses in the [kill buyer’s] pen. Over 80% are sound…a large part of the sound horses are ones who have made more money than some people. Both standardbreds and thoroughbreds.”

    And of those horses – already run through auctions and purchased by the kill buyer – are the following who were identified via their lip tattoos so they’re thought to be…

    -2010 TB mare, Tres Rios

    -2001 TB gelding, T. Mac

    -2003 TB gelding, A Shot at Glory

    -2010 TB gelding, Calvary Raid. Calvary Raid was a DNF at Delaware Park on June 8, 2016 in a 4K claiming race.

    Tres Rios. T. Mac. A Shot at Glory. Calvary Raid. Four tattooed Thoroughbreds owned by a kill buyer…four among how many other discarded racehorses. If no one pays their bail and gives them a home, they WILL be slaughtered.

    And this goes on day after day after day all across the country…

    • The racing industry needs slaughter as its disposal system. Discarding unwanted horses is a necessity when stalls, at the track, are valuable pieces of real estate. Trainers move the horses in and then move them out when they can no longer “hit the board.” It is well documented that Deputy Broad went from “track to plate” within nine days and there are most likely thousands more that have experienced that same fate yet the racing supporters still defend this killing machine. Reprehensible….

    • Thanks for sharing Joy.
      This is a disgusting display of the disposable commodities of this deleterious business.
      All of these racehorses obviously suffered during their “career,” struggling to get through the race, and some with DNF in their PP’s.
      Yet, they were used to fill races, and increase wagering profits because the owner/trainer certainly didn’t make any money to abuse these racehorses.
      Take for example A SHOT AT GLORY.
      A very rich HBPA connected farm by the name of HILL N DALE is a prolific breeder, and makes millions selling horses through auction companies like Keeneland or Fasig-Tipton.
      They made $11,000 consigning A Shot At Glory.
      They own a farm with hundreds of acres, and they can’t provide a home or cough up some money to get this mare out of harms way – so typical of these pro-horse racing entities.
      They breed, and breed with total disregard for the long term effects of this ridiculous need to fill races.
      I highly doubt anybody will save them, and there are so many more waiting behind them.
      From coast to coast the unwanted OTTB problem is a shameful display of an industry that exploits, and dumps their commodities while they boast about their billion dollar profits at the sales and wagering windows.
      This is the reality behind horse racing.

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