Interesting article. I agree; if you cannot ensure their safety, don’t sell them to ANY country that will slaughter them. South Korea is just the first. And yes, I saw that PETA is involved. This time, I don’t care. I am not a believer in the slippery slope; I believe that we can make one rational decision at a time.
It is ironic that someone whose father just dumped a 26 year old stallion–who had earned millions for the family–at a charity farm, where he lasted just six weeks before dying, should feel qualified to lecture other people on how older horses should be treated.
Agreed. Cheap SOB.
@LaurieB comparing Awesome Again’s situation to that of the plight of TB’s in other countries isn’t even a comparison at all. I actually commend the Stronachs for being a voice in this situation when the rest of the industry would’ve swiped it under the rug. It wouldn’t have even been brought to the press and the rest of us would’ve never known a horse like Private Vow ended his life in one of Korea’s biggest slaughterhouses in September. At least someone is willing to stand up and call a spade a spade; it’s just a shame it had to be Belinda.
Awesome Agains’ situation; I think is a double edge sword. Old Friends relies on stallions like that to gather audiences and keep their mission alive and the farm is relatively close to his original location. Gulch was similarly placed at Old Friends; as was Charismatic. I’m sure placing Awesome Again at Old Friends also came with a hefty donation with the stallion which ensured further success of Old Friends. At least Awesome Again was looked after and placed locally, accordingly, and with someone fully capable of giving him an excellent home. He wasn’t dropped off at some halfway house of a rescue on a back alley somewhere.
I will reiterate my statements from the Arch thread. What do people think happens to the thousands of thoroughbreds in Russia, China, Japan, Korea, Puerto Rico, Turkey, Dubai who do not make the cut either in racing or breeding every year. Not every stallion or broodmare or racing prospect exported is the cream of the crop or purchased by millionaires or billionaires. Many change hands not long after their purchase. They disappear. It is a known fact that aftercare for thoroughbreds in these countries is minimal if not non existent. Combined with the fact that in some of these countries; there is drastic cultural differences than that of the US in regards to the horse.
I fully understand and accept that breeding and selling prospects and breeding age horses is part of the business. Selling some of these horses for export has kept some farms afloat. That being said; knowing all the given facts that have been known (this is nothing new) the industry continues to willingly export to places like Korea under full awareness and acceptance of what the plight of those animals likely will be (especially if they are not huge names like a stallion like Hansen or Tapizar, etc). I get it, it’s a business and as long as the sellers are not the ones dropping the horse off at the killers; maybe they don’t care or don’t want to accept the fact.
But for those that continue to sell to a place like Korea; I take that action as an acceptance that those who sell have acknowledged what could be a likely fate for the horse they once loved and cared for, bred and raised. At some point the “business” excuse needs to be placed aside and welfare should always be at the forefront. The industry continues to wonder why it loses fans and supporters and has become a target for scrutiny from sources like PETA.
I mean, after living in Holland and Belgium, not to mention the culling enterprises of Germany and France, I’m hard pressed to wonder why we would single out South Korea.
Because it’s rare for a thoroughbred whose name we would recognize to be exported to any of those countries these days.
We only care when it “affects” us.
Ironically, Private Vow would have been at similar risk in North America. When you flunk out of LA, it only gets worse. How many stallions of similar performance have been sold domestically? (Answer: countless) And how many could we account for up until their end of life?
Also, I still have not forgiven Stronach and family for the mess they created in California and parts of Canada, investing heavily in regional markets only to pull their decent stock and dump the rest with a fire sale. How many of those horses went to slaughter? Oh right, no one cares because they were not names.
I am disappointed about Private Vow. I appreciate everyone acknowledging the problem. But boy is this all rather hypocritical for North Americans to single out South Korea for a problem that still happens at home.
Yes, there’s a valid comparison to be be made. Is Private Vow dead because his owners wanted to get rid of him easily and made a stupid decision? Yup. Is Awesome Again dead for the same reasons? Yup. There you go.
It isn’t just in South Korea that bad things happen to good horses.
Ironic considering how many TBs we slaughter in this country…
None??? I mean, through neglect and abuse and indifference?
I say this as someone who believes that outlawing slaughter in the United States was a horrible idea antithetical to ending abuse and neglect. It merely made the problem something most people could look away from.
We don’t have horses slaughtered in the US (at least not at slaughterhouses.) We ship them vast distances to Mexico and Canada. And TBs are a small percentage.
The South Korea example is interesting. I watched the PETA video. They have a clip of an interview with a Korean official, I think a vet, who says that every year they have about 1600 racehorses retire (not including breeding stock) and have resources to retrain/rehome about 20. It’s a quandary. I’ll be interested to see if there’s any action from the sales companies.
I don’t understand why anyone would “Commend” people who had a hand in this TB auction in Hemet, CA for pointing a finger at others.
I remember the condition those poor horses and foals were in. Unhandled weanlings as young as 3 months abruptly separated from their dams etc… Talk about pot/kettle.
The situation will be an easy fix. When exporting to a country that has little room for retirees, and does slaughter horses, a repatriation agreement would accompany the bill of sale, if (and that’s a big if) the original stallion /mare owners care enough about the horse.
The horses that are trucked to Canada and Mexico aren’t being mentioned or monitored by the Stronachs. I’m not at all impressed by their “commitment”.
The Stronach group is always so weird with their commitments.
It’s like you can never totally predict what they will do.
I don’t know them personally, but I’m starting to envision they function like the Roses from Schitt’s Creek.
That was my first thought when this came out. What sense does it make to be concerned what a country halfway across the world is doing, when you can’t even take care of the situation in your backyard.
It makes no sense, if you credit people with having a memory regarding what you’ve done in the past. Apparently they think everyone has forgotten or, that few people knew.
I wish that someone who is adept at social media would point out the hypocrisy on a larger platform. Perhaps many people are unaware of what the Stronachs did. Once people are aware of this, they will see the xenophobia shining through.
Given that the group is headed by an international businessman with dual citizenship, I think it’s less xenophobia and more… ??? I don’t know what the motivation is. PR? Trying to get in front of a potentially viral headline? Collectively, Americans really don’t like it when bad stuff happens to our Kentucky Derby runners overseas. Though we couldn’t care less when they go to slaughter or end up for sale on Craigslist here in North America.
Interesting. Where are their citizenships held? The U.S. and Canada? Japan? South Korea?
I believe both Frank and his wife still hold Austrian citizenship in addition to Canadian.
I don’t think Belinda holds American citizenship. Not sure about Andy.
And they own most of United States racing.
I see. Then I stand by my suspicion regarding the xenophobic probabilities.
Australia and Canada both allow the the slaughter of racehorses (as does the U.S. albeit in a backdoor manner, since the U.S. does not prohibit them being exported for slaughter.)
Singling out a small Asian country while nothing is said about English speaking or European countries that slaughter and consume racehorses, is disingenuous IMHO.
Austria, not Australia.
They also have always been at the forefront of aftercare. They had their adoption program in Kentucky before they closed up shop there. Now they run it out of Canada.
But then there were the fire sales in CA and AB. All of the young stock and broodmare essentially dumped after the Adena crew jetted out of town as abruptly as they entered.
Their decisions never make sense to me. I am still spitting mad about all of those horses in CA and AB.