June 19, 2008

A project has been launched in the United States to help with the rehoming of horses.

The Animal Welfare Institute and the National Black Farmers Association have launched what they call "Project Wanted Horse" to help horses in need by finding them homes on farms operated by the NBFA's 94,000 members.

The institute says it hopes the scheme will go some way to disproving the arguments of the slaughter industry that it is necessary to prevent a glut of unwanted horses.

"One of the horse slaughter industry's main arguments is that there are no homes for these animals," said Chris Heyde, deputy director of government and legal affairs for AWI.

"The coming together of our national organisations sends a significant message that these horses are valued and wanted."

The project aims to rehome horses rescued by equine protection organisations from the slaughter pipeline or from an abusive situation.

The AWI will oversee the placement of horses with NBFA members. Each placed animal will be accompanied by a legally binding contract, ensuring quality lifetime care and that they will not be resold only to end up on the path to slaughter.

While horse slaughter no longer occurs in the US, more than 100,000 American horses were exported to Canada and Mexico, where they were killed, processed and exported for human consumption in Europe and Asia.

Each year, thousands of horses are purchased at auction by killer-buyers, stolen from farms and acquired illegally. Across the border, they are often slaughtered using barbaric practices that are illegal in the United States, such as shooting and stabbing.

NBFA president and founder Dr John Boyd says horses play an important role in the lives of members, not just because of their role on the farm, but because they are often part of our families.

"By joining with the Animal Welfare Institute, we hope to end the transportation and brutal killing of these animals for human consumption."