A Personal Request From Habitat for Horses


IMG_2091They seem to come in every couple of days – used, abused and neglected, every color and kind of horse imaginable, plus donkeys of assorted types and colors. Usually they are still standing, but sometimes they are so weak that we bring they in on a slide and place them in the sling until they can regain their strength.

Last week it was an old, very gentle gelding, absolutely used up and starved until he looked like a homeless reject, with matted hair and skin sprayed over his bones. The cops called us, they did the paperwork and we took him to the vet. He spent two days in the Anderson Sling, then walked off into the pasture around the medical barn to graze. In five days he’s gained 20 pounds. He will make it because he has the desire to live.

We received a call from a Sheriff’s Department in a county several hundred miles away. A paint mare and a little mini needed help. The seizure was done, the court IMG_2239took them away from the owner and now they needed a place to rehabilitate. Of course, we brought them in. The mare will be fine. She’s out in the pasture with the other horses, making friends and munching hay. The mini is another story. Her front feet haven’t been trimmed in years, something that we don’t touch until we have a complete set of x-rays. One look told us what we didn’t want to hear – the coffin bones on both feet have rotted away. She’s walking, somehow, and while we know that it won’t last long, she’s not in pain. When she does start hurting, we’ll hold her tight and let her go gently to sleep. Until then, full rations, daily grooming and a lot of love.

A donkey came in yesterday. He spent four days and nights out in a pasture laying on his side, unable to get his legs under him because he was too weak from starvation. Once he stepped off the trailer, his life changed. Unlimited water, unlimited hay, in a pen next to a dozen other donkeys, and he’s regained that spark of life. Before the cops got there, he had simply given up.

Yesterday I answered the phone and heard another police office asking us to make an emergency run. “He’s just a baby and he can’t get up,” she said in a voice that was barely holding it together. Twenty minutes later our crew arrived to find a lone thoroughbred yearling flat out, all by himself, in a weed-filled pasture. Thirty minutes later they pulled into the vet clinic. It was indeed an emergency, because the little guy was going into toxic shock.

IMG_2210Two vets and three techs worked on him for an hour trying to get him stabilized. IV bags hung, catheter inserted, sedatives, blood drawn, urine tested, they scrambled to lower the temperature of 105 and to stop the shaking. Maybe, just maybe, they could pull him through the shock and bring him back. I watch our crew, all of them tough veterans of neglect and abuse cases, as they watched the medical crew work. One of them had tears, none spoke, one had to walk away.

We named him Zorro, a strong name, one filled with strength. I rubbed his face, swept away the shavings from his eyes, and prayed. Four hours later, Doc and I decided that it was time to let him go. His system had shut down. There was to be no more tomorrows, no more sunrises, no playing, no running. Someone, we still don’t know who, put the baby to a weed-filled pasture and let him starve to death.

The story of four horses and a donkey, all within a week, is typical of what we do. Three people in the office handling paperwork, six out on the ranch handling the horses and donkeys, vets, medications, farriers, feed, hay, fuel – it all adds up to a very large bill at the end of each month, a bill that somehow gets paid by the donations of people that want us to be here, that support us and care about the animals we serve.

None of those five were prospects for slaughter. Regardless of what the pro-slaughter propaganda machine tells you, slaughterhouses won’t buy sick, skinny, close to death animals. They want the fat, healthy horses with a lot of meat on the bones.

None of these five were owned by desperate people that have run out of money. They were owned by senseless, selfish idiots that had rather starve an animals than find a way to feed it. Zorro could have been worth thousands of dollars if someone had trained him, but instead they let him starve to death. There is no excuse for any of these five to suffer starvation. It’s simply brainless ownership.

Either very early in the morning or late at night, I’m at this computer, finding and reposting news stories to this website or writing my own stories. Of late, the reposted stories have centered around horsemeat, opening slaughterhouses in the states or the BLM’s head over heels rush to destroy all the wild horses in America. It’s the same thing I’ve been doing for the past twenty years, plus doing investigations, taking people to court for violating animal abuse laws, hauling horses out of mud-filled pastures, holding on to those who are too weak to walk another step – all without receiving a dime from Habitat for Horses.

IMG_2246Why? If you have ever looked deeply into the soul of a horse, you wouldn’t need to ask. What I feel about horses isn’t unique or special. It’s the same passion felt by 80% of Americans. To kill a horse and eat it is as abhorrent as microwaving a kitten.

We work damn hard to save a life, we spend a lot of money to repair the damage done by mindless humans, travel hundreds of miles and spend countless hours doing all that we can to bring them back from starvation and abuse. In a week, five animals pass through our gates, trying for one last chance at life. It’s a scene repeated at rescues across the nation by people just as devoted as us.

In that same week, the slaughter machine kills 3,385 mostly healthy American horses in Mexico and Canada. That’s 170,000 a year, last year’s slaughter total. Per day – 466.

Zorro was 1 of around ten million horses in the US. The entire slaughter pipeline only accounts for 1.7% of our horses. Eighty percent of the American people oppose horse slaughter, yet it continues.

That doesn’t make sense.

Those who starve horses like Zorro aren’t part of the slaughter equation. We will always have that slice of mindless sub-humans who can’t figure out why a horse starves, that will push the dead body aside and buy another one. But if our goal is to do all we can to save horses from destruction, then those 3,385 horses that perished last week are just as important as Zorro.

On March 13th, the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R. 1094/S.541, was introduced in Congress. This bill is specifically designed to stop the interstate transport of horses or horsemeat intended for human consumption. As such, the bill will prevent slaughterhouses from opening in the US and bring to a halt the shipment of horses and donkeys across the borders or overseas for slaughter. Knowing what is scientifically proven, that horsemeat from the US is potentially toxic, it will protect consumers around the world.

All of you know, or should know, how hard people have worked to bring an end to this horrible practice that profits a very small minority of people. We all need to work harder to obtain co-sponsors and to get these bills on the floor, passed and before the President.

Please contact, by phone, your two US Senators and your Representative and politely urge them to co-sponsor H.R. 1094 and S. 541, the Safeguard American Food Act (SAFE). You can find the phone numbers of your Legislators HERE. Try it. This page won’t close.

But don’t stop there. Pass this message along to everyone you know that cares about horses and urge them to do the same thing.

Please support the equine rescue of your choice. None of us can do the work we do without your financial help on a monthly basis. Without it, horses and donkeys like those five would have no chance at all.

Just as important are the 466 horses that were killed today on the slaughterhouse floor. It’s hard to even wrap your mind around that number, but every single one was just as precious as those that pass through our gates. Their chance at seeing tomorrow is gone, but we can do something about those still on the way.

Please make the calls. It’s painless, takes 15 minutes, and the horses need you now more than ever.

Jerry Finch

Habitat for Horses

AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • Hi Jerry, We’re asking all the same questions and feeling all the same pain as you (although we know you’ve been doing this for longer and have seen a legion more cases of abuse and neglect) …. but just wanted to share this link also, for those who might need an even easier way to contact their representatives. It’s from the ASPCA and we’ve shared with our communities here on FB. Anyway, here it is http://blog.aspca.org/content/breaking-congress-moves-ban-horse-slaughter-us
    Keep up the inspiring work you do – we know you will, because we know it is your “heart”.

    March 13, 2013
  • Belinda Caron

    Thank you Jerry. Thank you all who are working to help stop this nightmare of abuse and slaughter.

    March 13, 2013
  • I ask myself that question every day too, Jerry. America hates horse slaughter, our horses are not fit for human consumption – why can’t we shut it down?

    I know Big Ag/Cattle are spending millions to get horse slaughter back on American soil – but WHY?

    March 13, 2013
  • Thank you Jerry for being a great mentor! We too feel the same as you. My prayers is that the slaughter machine folds and fails miserably. We will keep fighting until all are safe. Hugs forever Ramona Foxworth

    March 13, 2013
    • sherriey

      Hi girlfriend!!! you must have gotten my forward of this? hope all is well. haven’t heard from ya in awhile. e-mail sometime.
      love and huggs

      March 13, 2013
  • Margaret

    Imdont understand the brainless cruelty that makes up horse tripping. Another rescue told me how this all plays out. In NV right now they are arguing over the bill because the rodeo people are arguing what happens if the horse accidentally trips? An accidental trip is like what happened to Fort Larned last weekend when the gates opened. He almost fell on his face in the dirt. The jock was thrown and the horse took off! I wish someone had gotten his “unofficial” time cause I think he would’ve broken every record out there.

    But when you rope two legs 9.999 times out of 10 that horse is going to go down. And he’s for sure going to go down when the roper yanks on the rope. It’s a disgusting “sport”. I almost lost my lunch watching the videos.

    I heard people in Elko NV whining about this is our life and our culture. Unbelievable. If its so great why don’t they open the rodeo to one and all? Why hide? Why sell the horses for slaughter at the end of the season?

    These same people are saying they will to bring back bull fighting if they can’t have horse tripping.

    March 13, 2013
  • chevon

    Hi my name is chevon i live in Oklahoma and me and my mom wanna help stop the slaughtering of horses but don’t know where to start what do you think the best thing we can do to make a difference

    March 13, 2013
  • Sandra A Walton

    Thank-you for that fantastic article, and for telling it like it really is. No candy coating it. It is awful how our horses are being treated, along with most animals in this country. Human consumption of horse meat is all about money and greed. I have contacted Mr. Blunt several times on this issue, and I feel he will never help, but maybe others will. I have been involved in many abuse and neglect cases, and you are right. So many times, they just go get another poor animal. Trying to rescue an abandoned Pit Bull right now. We have to stop this madness just for the almighty dollar! Keep up the battle.

    March 13, 2013
  • Very grateful, Jerry, for what you do and also for keeping us informed as to what is going on all over the world, involving the welfare and destruction of horses. We rescue what we can and spread the words that you send out to educate those who want to know and try to understand what can be done to help. Please know that there are many who appreciate you and others who assist horses, even though you may not hear from them. God’s blessings to you and your staff!!!

    March 13, 2013
  • Jerry, When you feel that the world is such a terrible place for horses, I hope you remember too all the wonderful and kind horse lovers out there – the ones you sometimes miss because they are looking after their horses so well you will never need to meet them. The ones who stay with their colicky horse at midnight, the ones who go without so that their horses are fed. There are many well loved horses out there. I am so sorry you always have to see the sad and terrible side of horse ownership. I hope Congress is able to stop transporting our horses to slaughter in Canada, Mexico, and Japan, and that they ban the return of slaughterhouses to the U.S.

    March 13, 2013
  • Debbie Stoutamire

    The old, very gentle gelding so reminds me of Jeb when he came in that fateful day. Bless his heart, and bless you and the Habitat for caring about those who have been left behind.

    March 13, 2013
  • Becky Mayes

    Thank you Jerry and to all of you who continue to help and do not give up on these lovely animals in adverse situations. You have assisted and found homes for many of our horses from the Virgin Islands when you already had your hands full with horses in your area. You never turned your back on us. Good luck and keep up the good fight. I will share your article.
    Becky (VICCTRE)

    March 13, 2013
  • Gracemarie Elliott

    Mr. Finch, I have cried through your entire communication. I know this is of no help to Domestic American Horses, the people who Love them, Responsibly Own and Care for them, Ride them, and give the Noble Horse thé respect it Deserves.

    I would like to take this opportunity to Thank You for being an Angel to and for Horses as much and more than You have time or money for; and I would like to Thank You for Educating me (as hard as it is to Read ) on thé Realities of thé Horrors of thé American Horse Slaughter Industry. I would also like to Thank all other “horse loving

    March 13, 2013
  • Gracemarie Elliott

    Continued with Trouble by Apple i-phone/sprint:

    Thank You and all thé other Horse Loving Angels across America for all that You do under thé most complicated and HeartBreaking and CRUEL of circumstances. I do what I can in an attempt to help having owned three Wonderful Horses while raising my Daughter successfully in large part Because of them.

    We need to start educating Americans about thé End Result of thé HorseRacing Industry.

    Most of them End up in thé SLAUGHTER House After thé $$$ has extinguished itself at thé RACETRACK. I hope all The Kentucky Derby etc etc etc Fans will begin to see what They are supportent. Greedy HorseOwners and Others out to make money betting on Horses and in some cases racing them to their Own Deaths for large sims of money then discarding them like trash When They are no longer useful. I want this to STOP! HorseRacing like Greyhound DogRacing should be outlawed. I know this Will Take some Time or possibly forever. How ever, i Will never stop Trying, Hoping and Praying. I hope to be able to House Rescue Horses one Day . I Will never have thé stomach to watch thé other “stuff” but hopefully May be able to save or Help save some by giving them good and shelter possibly in thé future. I know that I Will adopt at least one.

    Never give up! Any Horses that we save are better than None!

    Please forgive errors as this is coming from Cell phone momentarily.

    Most Appreciatively and Very Sincerely,


    March 13, 2013
  • Coralie Benton

    Thank you for being here!

    March 13, 2013

    Thanks for the article, Jerry. I think that you ended on the exactly right note! If we can close this door to slaughter for US horses, we will have a chance to work on some of the other issues that we face. Just taking slaughter off of the table will give us a better bargaining position with the BLM over Wild Horses and Burros, and will force AQHA, the Jockey Club, APHA, and the others to curtail over-breeding. I am fed up with greed in every corner and concern in my life.. I want to somehow make people hear their selfish selves.

    March 14, 2013
  • Lin Month

    The horse is a kind and magical animal. He is a gift from God as man’s faithful servant and companion. There is no humane way to slaughter a horse. Those sending horses to a horrible and terrifying death in a slaughterhouse are missing part of their brain. Only death will put a stop to them (although they should watch themselves — St. Francis is back!).

    March 14, 2013
  • Billie Wood

    Jerry. God Bless you and all who fight for justice for these precious Souls.
    Thank you so very much.

    March 15, 2013
  • Marcia

    “Senseless, selfish idiots” is a kinder description than I can think of.

    May 15, 2013