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May 13, 2011

Talk Back: Help for Horses

After I became CEO of The Humane Society of the United States a half-dozen or so years ago, I saw the need to create a department devoted to protecting horses—in part, amazingly enough, because there are no national anti-cruelty organizations devoted to the protection of horses. We needed to plug that gap. Since that time, there’s been just a dizzying array of issues and crises to confront—from horse slaughter to soring to wild horse and burro protection.

Recently I’ve posted several stories about horses saved from neglect and cruelty, some who were on the brink of starvation and others who were being transported to a slaughterhouse for the horsemeat trade. In Maryland, Arkansas, and Texas, The HSUS Animal Rescue Team has helped rescue and care for hundreds of horses in the last few months.

Many of you wrote in with special concern for these animals and with appreciation for The HSUS and other groups nursing them back to health. Below is a video from our recent rescue of more than 130 Arabian horses in Queen Anne’s County, Md.

I’ve just arrived in Texas, after a round of book events in Florida. This weekend, we are celebrating the grand opening of our Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption Center in Murchison, Texas. I also have book reading and signing events in Tyler and Houston this weekend, and I am hoping for great turn-outs of our supporters.

Here are a few of your comments about the Maryland horses:

When I read stories such as this, I'm sad, naturally, to be reminded how uncaring people can be. But I'm also immensely proud of HSUS and deeply grateful to you, your staff, and allied organizations like Day's End Farm Horse Rescue and the ASPCA. In this imperfect world, we all face difficult decisions and painful compromises. But time and again, in situations such as the one described here, HSUS demonstrates that it's one organization I can trust to do what's right and compassionate and to know how to make good happen within the framework of the real world.  A million thanks to you all. Keep up the good work, and know that I'll be doing whatever I can to support your efforts. —Devon Smith

When is this "for profit" nightmare going to end for animals? It just seems endless, from puppy mills to horse mills. It seems as though the suffering never ends. Where would they be without groups like the Humane Society and all the rescue groups across the country? A big shout-out to all of you for your never-ending desire to help save ALL animals. We would all welcome the day when these stories would be so reduced to nothing more than a blurb or a sidebar. That would mean the neglect and abuse had ended. Sadly not in my lifetime. —Lois Silvanovich

In response to the story of Moonstruck, a foal whose mother survived a trailer crash on the way to a slaughterhouse, you were happy to hear that they and other survivors are now safe at Blaze’s Tribute Equine Rescue in Oklahoma:

Thank you for sharing this inspiring story! It gives me hope that more horses will find happy homes and peace in their remaining years. —Lisa S.

Thank you so much for including information on the horse slaughter industry. So many people believe that closing the U.S. horse slaughter facilities is the reason there are so many available horses now. It is not! It is economy-based. The same number of horses are being sent over the border to meet this horrific fate, as there were before the plant closures. Horse slaughter is a brutally cruel, nasty business, with NO real economic benefit to ANY community. None. Thank you for speaking up against it! —Christy Lee

I also wrote earlier this year about Uno, an especially sick horse we rescued from neglect in Arkansas along with 113 others:

What a great story about the rescue and especially how wonderful that Uno has made such an amazing recovery. The HSUS workers are to be commended for doing what can only be described as God's work. After all, these are His creatures first and He expects us to care for them—not abuse them as these poor horses have been. —Suzana Megles

Finally, 43 horses we helped rescue from neglect in Texas last December are doing well, and several are available for adoption through our Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption Center:

I am so THANKFUL for HSUS! All the hard working, dedicated staff are so wonderful, kind, and amazing. Also, everyone involved in this rescue...bless your hearts! It was heartbreaking to watch the video and slideshow but I know the horses are on their way to a much brighter, happier future. It warms my heart to know there are such amazing people out there! Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart to all you kind, wonderful souls!! May God bless you and the animals too! —Karen Wagner

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