A recent review by ABC Action News in Florida has found that “an alarming number of Florida’s former prize-winning horses – including animals in the Tampa Bay area – end up abandoned, starving, neglected and bound for the slaughter in Canada and Mexico.”

According to Morgan Silver, executive director of the Horse Protection Association of Florida and owner of Marion County horse rescue, operating since 1990, this type of thing doesn’t really happen anywhere else in the country because only Florida has this large a concentration of horses in the U.S.

I had no idea this was happening in my backyard!

“About 100,000 horses, including retired show and racing horses, are sent to the slaughter pipeline through Mexico and Canada each year – killed and shipped to the European Union for human consumption, according to the U.S. Humane Society.

In all, an estimated 1.9 million American horses have been shipped to Mexico and Canada for slaughter since 2001 and there is no U.S. law to stop the practice.

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, is co-sponsoring federal legislation to ban the export of American horses for slaughter.”1

To date, the bill is stalled in committee but Buchanan is working to “continue building support and co-sponsors for our bill.”1

Peggy Womack, who runs Turkey Creek Stables in Plant City, said her business is serving more and more like a rescue; most often owners underestimated the cost in caring for the animal:

  • Silver recently almost lost a horse named Chic Soho Ardente to foreign slaughter. The Arabian stallion was adopted by a family Silver trusted to care for the horse but about a year later it was found at the New Holland auction in Pennsylvania- one of the most infamous kill auctions. The stallion had a microchip, so he was found and brought back.
  • Womack had an arrangement with a family to “partial board” (she would supply the stall and the family was responsible for feeding) but after a couple of weeks, the family stopped feeding the horse. The family tried to give the horse away because they couldn’t care for it. Thankfully, after having been nearly starved, it was rescued and is now in good health.

This is happening far too often. We hope that Rep. Buchanan will find support for his bill so that these animals will be protected from being ignored, forgotten and starved. These majestic animals deserve so much more than this.


  1. ABC Action News, WFTS Tampa Bay