NBC4 Investigates: Champion Horses Sent To Slaughter

After bringing thousands of dollars or more of profit to their owners, these horses are bound for slaughter houses. A mere commodity sold for a pittance when no longer making big money. Here at Habitat for Horses, we believe that ALL horses should be provided with loving homes – even if they are no longer productive. ~ HfH

From: NBC4 Investigates
By: Denise Yost

Bound for the slaughter house.

Bound for the slaughter house.

CENTRAL OHIO – It’s not illegal to slaughter horses in America, but since 2007, when the last U.S. horse slaughterhouse closed, hundreds of thousands of horses have been sent to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico, where some of that meat ends up on dinner tables in Europe and Asia.

NBC4 investigates the central role Ohio is playing in supplying the international demand for horse meat.

Horses are American icons, symbols of grace and freedom woven into the fabric of Central Ohio.

NBC4’s Duane Pohlman went undercover at a livestock auction in Ohio to discover the very dark side to the horse trade, where even thoroughbreds are sent to slaughter.

Kevin Silverlaspia is a thoroughbred horse from the most royal of racing blood. He is a direct descendant of the last two Triple Crown winners, Seattle Slew and Secretariat.

He’s also related to California Chrome, this year’s Kentucky Derby winner.

On March 27, he claimed his place in the world of champions, running to victory at Penn National. Then, he disappeared from the tracks.

Seven months after his last win, and after several ownership changes, NBC4 found Kevin Silverlaspia alone and very thin in an Ohio stable.

NBC4 confirmed it with something all thoroughbreds have – a tattoo under their lips. His was worn, so with the help of animal rights experts, NBC4 checked it against more than 400 possible combinations to discover the mark: M09194. Only one thoroughbred has that tattoo: Kevin Silverlaspia.

After winning nearly $77,000 on the track, the champion horse was alone and broken. Waiting for what would be his final journey from track to table.

Sugarcreek Livestock Auction is in the heart of Ohio Amish Country.

NBC4 went undercover to find Kevin Silverlaspia, one of hundreds of horses – from work horses to quarter horses, standard breeds, and thoroughbreds.

The horses were hauled to the auction house on Oct. 10 where they were sold to the highest bidder.

It is, for the most part, a meat market for horses.

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  • Lisa

    yep– and the authorities HELP STEAL horses from private owners, for the same reason- profit. It is all a big scam, the horses pay the ultimate price- but twice I have had horses taken UNLAWFULLY and under subterfuge, and I am tired of it- NOBODY HELPS US– we WANT OUR horses back, but we can’t get any help– bc we haven’t got boatloads of money.

    November 20, 2014
  • Maggie Frazier

    How sad that this reporter “reported” this news & made no effort to at least save this one Thoroughbred? Wouldn’t that have made a better story? Too bad he didn’t contact a rescue since there certainly seemed to be many around that area. Peta? I seem to remember that organization as being FOR slaughter? Am I wrong? Certainly a better ending for this story would have been a rescued FIVE year old!

    November 20, 2014
  • MS

    IT’S ILLEGAL, IT’S IMMORAL, IT’S CRUEL, IT’S UNCONSCIONABLE, IT’S SHAMEFUL … I would think those from the private sector would do something to help our horses — there are ranches, sanctuaries who could be called upon … donations could be given … what’s going on! … THIS IS SO WRONG … IT’S SUCH A HUGE BETRAYAL … how desperate for money these killers are … these horse killer-buyers should be imprisoned and severely fined …. THIS IS HORRIFIC!

    November 20, 2014
  • MS

    What do we do to put these killer-buyers out of business? PLEASE, who’s enforcing the laws banning transport of our horses beyond U.S. borders?! PLEASE, there are ranches, sanctuaries that can take these horses in … why are you leading them to SLAUGHTER?! How desperate are you for the bottom line?! When does the buck STOP! PLEASE, do NOT kill our horses, PLEASE do NOT lead them to slaughter beyond our borders! PLEASE — it’s horrible and cruel and unconscionable to do this to our horses! IT MUST STOP! WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO?! WHERE ARE THE HORSE RESCUERS?! PLEASE, WHERE ARE YOU?!

    November 20, 2014
    • jfinch

      There is NO law banning the transport of horses past the borders. So far this year, 123,000 horses and donkeys have been transported to Canada and Mexico and slaughtered. It is not up to the sanctuaries and rescues to stop the murder, it is up to you to stop voting in the Senators and Representatives that refuse to allow the bills to reach the floor for a vote.

      Every anti-slaughter bill dies again when Congress stops for the year. Once again, the meat people win.

      November 20, 2014
  • Daniel Cordero

    Jerry is right, save for the number which is actually higher: 129,493 not accounting exports to Canada and Mexico during October. And for each one of these equines that are rescued from slaughter another perfectly sound, wonderful horse takes its place in the killing pipeline. The plants know it, the killers know it and the breeders know it as well.

    The only way to stop the carnage is through Congress and this is why it is so important to oust from the Capitol the small gang of unworthy individuals that think they’re better than the rest with their “secret holds”. And only God knows if we will have a new bill next February.

    November 22, 2014