From: The Middletown Press
By: Kaitlyn Schroyer
HADDAM NECK >> After the beloved family pony is sold, who knows whether that pony will end up on a kill buyer’s trailer traveling to Mexico or Canada to be slaughtered.
However the trail of unknown horses is ending with the growing use of microchips. The beloved pony can be scanned at auction for a microchip and the former owners alerted before the pony is on its way to the slaughterhouse.
Microchipping for horses is a fairly new thing as horses don’t tend to run away from their homes, according to the Equine Rescue Network. However with the prevalence of horses shipping to slaughter, microchipping is growing in popularity.
“It’s the up-and-coming new way to identify horses,” Stacey Golub, equine veternarian and founder of the Connecticut Draft Horse Rescue in Haddam Neck, said.
When a horse arrives at auction, an ERN volunteer scans the horse for a microchip if the horse is at risk and headed to a possible kill buyer. If a horse is found with a microchip, the ERN contacts the former owner and all emergency contacts in the registry.
The ERN will even offer temporary funding to hold the horse safe between 24 hours and seven days and aid in coordinating transportation. However if the bidding exceeds $325, which is because if the horse sells for over that, they are not considered at risk for slaughter.
In that case, the ERN will notify the highest bidder that the horse is microchipped and suggest they contact ERN if they ever decide to sell the horse.
“It has given owners a great way to help alert them if horses they sell might end up at auction,” said Amy Gardner Anderson, owner of Bear Paw Stables in Middletown. “But once a horse is out of your care, there are no guarantees he or she will be safe.”
Gardner Anderson said she personally experienced having a former horse almost go to slaughter.
“I sold my horse once, the owners did not keep on touch and he ended up in a bad situation,” Gardner Anderson said. “I was fortunate to find him by chance and bought him back.”
The ERN’s registry, called the Equine Protection Registry, also includes medications the horse has received.
“The majority of common equine medicines have a warning label ‘not for use in horses intended for food,’” Golub said. “Receiving these makes them ineligible to be slaughtered for human consumption. Registering this information with your microchip can help protect them from being sold to slaughter.”
In addition, horses found in a natural diaster or found while investigating neglect and abandoned horses have scanners, according to the ERN.