This is where the rubber meets the road for horse lovers and rescuers.
If you’ve ever donated to save a horse from slaughter, I urge you to consider Kancia’s story.
After serving humans for 20 years, her owner was all set to take her to auction, where we all know kill buyers snatch up old, discarded horses like starved kids in a candy store. A kind woman intercepted the beautiful paint and her buddy before they could be terrorized in the slaughter pipeline. Susan found a home for the gelding, but the injured mare remains in equine limbo, and her time is running out.
As Susan said, “No one wants a horse with a bad eye,” and she doesn’t have the money to pay a veterinarian for the care Kancia desperately and immediately needs.
Does a horse that’s served humans her entire life deserve a brutal, violent death because she has an eye infection? If you saw this horse posted on a Facebook kill pen broker’s page, wouldn’t you rush to save her?
This is one of the ways horses end up on foreign dinner tables. While Kancia’s owner knew to reach out to a responsible rescue, many desperate owners don’t. We’ll do what we can to help, but what happens if circumstances get even more desperate? What if we were like so many so-called “rescuers” – who take in horses like badges of virtue, only to starve and neglect them when the accolades dissipate? Some rescues and rescuers are veritable revolving doors in the slaughter pipeline. Some hoard horses like the Crazy Cat Lady collects fertile felines, cramming them onto dry lots that are no better than kill pens.
“Nothing moves faster than an unwanted horse.”Tami Marler, MBA
Swingin’ D Founder & President
When owners get desperate, they fall prey to kindly strangers offering perfect homes, then selling the poor souls for their meat. They give their horses to eager horse lovers who are even less prepared than they are to care for an expensive, clumsy, accident-prone, mischievous, giant toddler on crack. Guess who always wants an unwanted horse.
One thing about kill buyers… They’re not picky. They’ll take sick, weak, old, young, skinny, fat… Every horse is worth exactly the same because foreign diners can’t taste the difference between a champion racehorse and an old nag.
Susan is trying to do the right thing. She’s trying to find a safe home for Kancia; but Kancia needs immediate veterinary care that Susan can’t afford. The worse Kancia’s infection gets, the greater her likelihood of irreparable, career-ending (or life-ending) damage. So, even though we don’t have room for Kancia, we’re doing what we can to keep her from permanently becoming an unwanted horse.
If you’ve ever donated to rescue a horse from a kill pen, THIS IS HOW YOU KEEP HORSES FROM ENDING UP THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE. By donating to reputable rescues that save, treat, train and re-home horses, you’re helping to choke off the slaughter pipeline and save horses from the terror of the trade. Real rescues add value to their horses to ensure they don’t become burdensome to their adopters, and screen adopters to ensure they’re capable (financially and otherwise) of caring for a horse.
We (I say “We” because I’ve felt the same) feel comfortable paying the kill pen broker because we see immediate results. We feel like we’re watching the horse being saved, even though we have no idea what happens to the horse once we’ve donated. More importantly, we don’t think about how the horse ended up there – something rescues must consider if we want to keep the horse from going back.
Giving to a rescue doesn’t give us that immediate gratification; and how can we trust that a rescue will use our money to save horses and not to buy new vehicles or vacations or whatever? For some reason, we’re more comfortable enriching a kill buyer and his broker, even when we know they’re using our money to slaughter more horses. At least he’s not lying to us like we’ve seen so many rescues and rescuers do. Plus, we don’t have to like or trust a kill buyer to make him rich. To give to a rescue, we need to be able to at least trust them.
All I can say is, check out the Facebook feeds and websites of horse rescues. Do they post about their horses, or are all their posts about raising money? Do they share their work and results? Do they ensure their horses are ready for the world, and that adopters are ready for the responsibility of a horse? Yes, there are a lot of charlatans and liars out in the rescue world; but there are also a lot of really good, earnest, compassionate, hardworking rescuers struggling to survive. We can’t let the few really bad, disgustingly putrid rotten apples spoil the whole bunch – not when we’re capable of discerning good from bad.
Would you rather continue to give your money to kill buyers that you know are profiting from the slaughter of horses, or can you take a chance on a rescue that’s devoted to keeping horses out of the slaughter pipeline through complete rehabilitation, healing, evaluation, training and transparent adoption?
Every penny Swingin’ D takes in goes directly to our horses. No one gets a salary, perks, or even reimbursement for the tens of thousands we’ve spent out of our own pockets. If it makes you feel safer, we’ll give you our vet’s contact information so you can donate directly for Kancia’s care.
This is where the rubber meets the road. If we’d rush to bail a sick horse from a kill pen, are we willing to protect them from ever landing there?