November 11, 2010

Bucky Be Lucky — Thursday's food for thought photo by Tina Phillips: Race horses

I read an article in Wednesday's paper that left me shaking my head. While we are concerned about the fate of factory raised cows and pigs and chickens, many don't realize that innocent Thoroughbred racing horses, who for one reason or another can't race anymore, as well as other horses, can end up auctioned off by the pound, trucked to Canada or Mexico for slaughter, and sold for meat. (Although the U.S. shut down horse slaughterhouses in 2007, they are still legal in Canada and Mexico.)

Some racetracks have set up funds for retraining and placing retired racehorses in new homes, but that's not what happened to four-year-old Bucky B. Lucky. He ended up at the Enumclaw Sales Pavilion, auctioned by the pound and destined for a slaughterhouse. He was truly lucky, recognized and purchased by a horse lover, who gave him to a horse rescue farm. You can read Bucky's story here. Thoroughbreds may be four or five years old when they are retired from racing, but could easily live another 20 or 30 years. And what about all the other horses slaughtered every year for food, those not lucky enough to be "worth" rescuing.

The attitude of the man whose business involves disposing of horses, was very upsetting to me. I leave you with this disturbing quote from the Seattle Times:

"... Ron Mariotti, the owner and auctioneer of the Enumclaw Sales Pavilion, makes no secret that he is running a business. He sells horses, including Thoroughbreds, to the highest bidder. If the bid is below what he can get selling the horse for meat, he’ll sell to a meat buyer or truck the horses himself to a Stanwood feed lot, where they are hauled to legal slaughter houses in Canada.

'Some go to slaughter, some go to new homes,' Mariotti says about the horses he auctions off on the first Sunday of each month. 'A horse is a product, just like a cow or a steer. The bleeding hearts who’ve got it in mind that they’re going to save every one, they’re idiots.'"


  1. I've heard of this...and it is treason, after these people "make their money" off a thoroughbred the only regard they have for them is to auction them off!

    Forgive me, but these people are degraded. Things like this upset me to no end too. I'd like to auction Mariotti off and see how he likes it.

  2. Thank you for this post. So many people love horses even above other "food" animals. If they knew what went on, they'd be appalled.

  3. I'm so glad you blogged about this. It saddens me to think of the fate of these beautiful creatures. It wasn't until I saw what happened to these race horses that I stopped going to the races or watching them on t.v. It's been about 5 years now. It's absoulutely horrific how these horses are treated.

  4. Rose,
    Sad but true. Mariotti sounds like a callous @#$%^&*.

    The key is to inform as many people as possible. People being appalled was what got horse slaughterhouses closed in the U.S.

    I don't know how people feel they have the right to treat animals as commodities.

    I agree.

  5. This was a good post, I am glad someone is speaking out for the horses. You're right, I think people forget about them sometimes because they aren't "food animals."

  6. Usually I love my country, Canada, but some things about it make me ashamed. This is one.

    A really great book on the subject of thoroughbreds and their lives and various fates, is Jane Smiley's novel _Horse Heaven_, which follows the fates of four horses and the people around them. I was astonished that any good novelist could be so brave as to tell a story partly from the point of view of the animals involved, but she does, and it works...

  7. Kiersten,
    Thanks. I'm not sure people really know what happens to horses. I didn't.

    It's a collaboration between our countries. The world isn't a safe place for animals.

    Thanks for the Jane Smiley title. I'll look for it.

  8. You and Rose are sort of making me laugh about the Mariotti thing. You're right - you go get 'em, girls!

    Soo sad. I'm glad you're drawing attention to this.

  9. Jenny,
    I'm wondering if Mariotti should be auctioned off by the pound or the piece.

    Seriously, it really is a sad circumstance.

  10. I'm so glad you posted about this! I've had horses on and off my whole life. People have no idea how they are is so upsetting! A lady I know rescued a race horse that was about to be put down, because she was crippled. I wish I could rescue them all...all animals actually. I think that's why my husband is hesitant about buying us some land to build on..he knows I will end up with a ton of animals. :o)

  11. Michelle,
    Thanks for your comment. You just have to go to any Humane Society to see that there are too many people behaving irresponsibly towards animals. I hope you get that land someday!

  12. Evil morons annoy me. Sometimes the thought of all the cruelty that goes on every day is too overwhelming.

  13. River,
    Tell me about it.


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