ASPCA Pledge to Fight Animal Cruelty

Pledge to Fight Animal Cruelty

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

They Slaughter Horses, Don't They?

INSIDE EDITION goes inside a horse
auction in New Holland, Pennsylvania.

The thoroughbred Soccoro Sky, has the blood of champions running through her veins. Her grandfather was Seattle Slew, the 1977 Triple Crown winner, one of the greatest racehorses of all time. The five year old Soccoro Sky has even been a winner, herself. But you won't believe where INSIDE EDITION found her.

Just five days after a dismal seventh place finish, she was sent to a horse auction in New Holland, Pennsylvania where horse rescue groups say she was to be sold for slaughter.

At dozens of auctions around the country, many horses are sold to dealers known as kill buyers for just a few hundred dollars. Their final destination is a dinner plate overseas.

Hundreds of horses of all kinds are sold at New Holland every week. As many as 15% are shipped out of the country and slaughtered for human consumption. For many thoroughbreds, the end starts as soon as they finish in the back of the pack at the tracks.

Actor Paul Sorvino, who appeared in hit films like Goodfellas, and his daughter Amanda are on a crusade to expose what he says is a cruel and inhumane process.

"If a horse can't run fast enough on the track, he goes to slaughter. So he is literally running for his life," Sorvino tells INSIDE EDITION.

A video clip provided to INSIDE EDITION by the Sorvinos, shows a dealer taking a thoroughbred right from the racetrack to a Pennsylvania auction to be sold for slaughter.

In the U.S. there are currently no horse slaughter plants in operation. But they do exist in Canada and Mexico, so horses are often crowded onto trucks for a long journey across the border. According to Sorvino, the trip is long and arduous. "They're not fed. They're not watered. They're not taken care of."

In videotape from the Humane Society of the United States, a horse is shown being prodded by a rifle before being killed by a shot in the head at a plant in Canada.

The Humane Society says conditions can be even crueler in Mexico. At one plant, a frightened horse is shoved into a small pen before being repeatedly stabbed in the neck. Callous workers can be heard cheering when the horse finally goes down.

"They're just dying in this barbaric, despicable and unconscionable way," says Sorvino's daughter, Amanda.

Ultimately, the meat is shipped overseas to butcher shops, many that even specialize in horse meat, and restaurants that have horse dishes on their menus.

While slaughter seems brutal, Jim Holt, the veterinarian at the New Holland horse auction, says if the horses weren't killed for food, thousands would simply be abandoned, and left to die a slow painful death. He tells INSIDE EDITION, "We feel that it's, at this point, a necessary evil."

Soccoro Sky was ultimately saved by an animal rescue group. Sadly though most unwanted horses aren't as lucky. Sorvino says it's up to owners of the horses, especially in the racing industry, to take responsibility for their animals.

"Think about that horse winning with the roses around his neck, and then one year later he's hanging from one leg in a slaughter house," Paul Sorvino says. "Think about that and then say we've got to do something."

There are bills now pending before both the House and Senate that would permanently ban the export and slaughter of American horses for human consumption.

Paul Sorvino is speaking out about his
crusade to expose what he calls a cruel
and inhumane process.


For more information on the controversial issue of the horse slaughter industry, including pending legislation, visit the links below:

Humane Society of the United States: Facts on Horse Slaughter

The following organizations are involved in horse rescue and advocacy efforts to ban slaughter:

Another Chance 4 Horses, Inc.

Pure Thoughts for Horses


The American Veterinary Medical Association is one of several animal advocacy groups that oppose the efforts to ban slaughter.

Watch the Undercover Footage and Take Action

Watch our undercover footage of U.S. horses exported to Mexico for slaughter—then take action.

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