Sunday, June 7, 2009

PETA thwarts efforts to bring home racehorses

From Equine Welfare Alliance:

June 7, 2009

John Holland

Vicki Tobin

PETA thwarts efforts to bring home racehorses

CHICAGO, (EWA) – As reported today on ESPN’s Outside the Lines, PETA has inserted itself into the issue of American racehorses being slaughtered in Japan. The slaughter of Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand in 2002 brought outrage to American horse owners and was the catalyst for anti- slaughter awareness in America.

The Program reported on two thoroughbreds, War Emblem and Charismatic who are both standing stud in Japan. ESPN interviewed Michael Blowen, owner and founder of Old Friends, A Kentucky Facility for Retired Thoroughbreds and Kathy Guillermo, vice president of laboratory investigations for PETA.

Over the years, Blowen has developed an excellent relationship with key personnel in Japan that has smoothed the way for retiring these great athletes to Old Friends. He keeps a list of thoroughbreds that are nearing the end of their stud duties and has been following their stud careers for years. At the top of his list are War Emblem and Charismatic. Blowen has been in discussions for the past eighteen months and developing plans with his Japanese contacts for their retirement to Old Friends.

Despite the claims of slaughter advocates to the contrary, PETA had until now, remained out of the horse slaughter issue. But now, in true PETA fashion, the message was horrific visuals of the cruelty inherent with slaughter, however, their organization offered no assistance in bringing the athletes home. At one point, Ms. Guillermo actually challenged Blowen by saying she was not aware of anyone that was working to bring the horses home. Blowen had recently discussed just this effort on EWA’s Howling Ridge radio program.

Blowen’s most recent Japan rescue was Wallenda who earned $1.2 million in 33 lifetime starts on the track. Old Friends also expanded its facility from 40 acres to 92 acres last year and currently has over 40 retired athletes including Popcorn Deelites, one of the horses that portrayed Seabiscuit in the box office smash hit about the legendary California racehorse.

“I’m hoping things like PETA is doing won’t hurt our relationship with the Japanese,” Blowen said, asking the extremist animal rights group, “Are you just going to keep showing footage of horses in excruciating painful situations or are you going to try to build a relationship with the people that actually own these horses, that actually control them - to find a place for them and work really, really hard to bring them home?”

EWA couldn’t agree more.

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