According to Sir Francis Bacon, “knowledge is power,” and that is what the anti-cruelty summit brought to Wellinton. A lively audience of contrasting opinions faced a panel of experts including forensic experts, veterinarians, and humane agents. Also participating on the panel was Jennifer Swanson, co-founder of Pure Thoughts Horse & Foal Rescue.
Jennifer Swanson is local to this area and was very pleased that this conference was held in the community. ” It’s right before one of the most significant horse shows about to take place here in Wellington, and some people have absolutely no idea what could happen to their horses,” she stated. ” I expected the kids to be texting and talking to one another, but not the kids or people attending. They were very focused, participated in the conversations, asked questions and made comments. Our theory has always been that the youth of today are the decision makers of tomorrow.”
Discussions about the closing of the US slaughter plants became heated. One audience member remarked that the anti-slaughter campaign to shut down the US slaughter plants made it worse for the horses since they are now being shipped to Canada and Mexico. It was then explained to the person by Swanson that horses have always been shipped to Canada and Mexico and through the FOIA ( Freedom of Information Act), hundreds of photos have been released showing the inhumane treatment and atrocities horses were subjected to while horse slaughter was legal in the US.
Richard Cuoto, of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the Miami area and investigator of the heinous crimes of illegal horse slaughter farms, brought out that it isn’t necessarily an unwanted horse problem, but more likely a crime of greed. In Florida, horse meat sells for $10. to $40 per pound, and although it is illegal to sell horse meat in Florida, it is not illegal to slaughter a horse. Cuoto agrees there is too much of a gray area in the laws in this state and what exactly constitutes neglect.
On the subject of horse racing, Swanson’s newest division of Pure Thoughts called Florida Thoroughbred Rehabilitation and Placement has thus far taken in 39 ex – racing equine athletes and suggested at the conference that the racetracks become more fiscally responsible towards the after care of the Thoroughbreds. ” I was very comfortable speaking on our experience with Calder Race Course, Gulfstream Racetrack and the FHBPA; all of these organizations have made huge steps in the development and ongoing success of the after race life of these horses. It is a perfect example of how, when working together, a difference can be made,” explained Jennifer.
Swanson continued to explain how a new program at some of the racetracks and accepted by horse owners and trainers will now utilize a percentage of funding from the purses of the tracks to help with aftercare. Also, the jockeys have committed to assist financially with the aftercare of the horses and in Swanson’s opinion these are huge, positive steps.
Finally the controvesial subject of carriage horses in New York was raised with pros and cons concerning the industry. Suggestions about antique automobiles replacing horse carriages were brought up and has been proposed by the ASPCA.
Pure Thoughts Horse & Foal Rescue brought rescue horses to the event and showed that unwanted does not mean disposable. ” The great thing was that people listened because when I opened my emails yesterday I had an email from a girl who was at the event. She and her mother had spoke and they decided they would like to open their barn to a rescue horse. It was a good day, and we hope to see more of these throughout the year, at equine events and throughout the state as well as the country. It was awareness, and that is what is needed,” Jennifer ended with as she kissed one of her horses good night.
For more information about Pure Thoughts Horse & Foal Rescue, please click http://www.PTHR.org