This year, as a humanitarian effort, the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) and the Aminal Welfare Institute (AWI) launched 'Project Wanted Horse," assuring that any horse rescued from slaughter or an abuse situation would be placed on one of 94,000 NBFA farms across the country. Del Camino Equestrian Enterprises Inc., which takes a very special interest in "senior" horses has honored the NFBA its 2008 Best Humane Business Innovation Award for its commitment to senior horses.

Though the average horse has a life span of 20 to 40 years, depending on his breed and health history, working horses in industries such as horse racing and other competitions, ranching, professional riding instruction, and others are retired at the age of 12 to 15 years. Do you think these horses still go to pasture?

If their offspring can command big money, some retirees will go to pasture... but only for awhile. Congress passed a bill in 2006 to ban slaughter in the US., but In today's horse "business," the profitable path is taken-- about 100,000 "retired" horses per year are sold to Canadian or Mexican slaughter houses, for use as food export products.

The "justification?" The slaughter industry says that it can't find good homes for the horses.

With its Project Wanted Horse, the AWI promises to find rescued horses good homes and to provide shelter, food, and veterinary care, allowing each horse to live out his remaining years as a loved and valuable adopted horse. AWI will administer Project Wanted Horse.

There are ways that you can help to keep these 100,000 horses per year from crossing US borders for slaughter. One way is to support a new bill which is stalled in Congress now. The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008 (H.R. 6598 ) prohibits the slaughter of American horses for human consumption and their export for slaughter in other countries. The Humane Society of the United States has information on the legislation, the sponsors, and supporters of the Bill and contacts you can make here.

Note: H.R. 6598 contains some graphic descriptions that you may not want to read. Most animal lovers don't need to read things in graphic detail to know what is happening; often they imagine as much as they need to.

Resources: Del Camino Equestrian Enterprises Inc, National Black Farmers Association, Animal Welfare Institute Press Release; Humane Society of the United States Photo Credit: NAL

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