Horse notes…

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1992:

In the first two years since
California began requiring necropsies of
all race horses who die while under Calif.
Horse Racing Board jurisdiction, on or off
a track, 538 horses have been exam-
ined––271 in 1990-1991, and 267 in 1991-
1992. The examinations are revealing a
much greater amount of stress damage
from training than experts previously sus-

An estimated 150 people partic-
ipated in a recent two-hour seminar on
extricating horses from wrecked vehicles,
hosted by the New Jersey Equine Advisory
Board and the board of the New Jersey
Horse Park. Among the most important
tips for rescuers: stabilize the vehicle the
horses are in, as unsteadiness can induce
panic; promptly put down any severely
injured horses, to avoid distress not only
to that horse but also to others in a
wrecked trailer; approach a horse from
behind his or her back, reaching over the
horse’s body to reposition legs if neces-
sary; plug the horses’ ears if noisy equip-
ment must be used; and have another trail-
er handy before pulling any horses out of a
wreck. Proper tying and lifting procedures
are too complex to briefly describe, but a
video of the whole seminar is available
from the New Jersey Horse Council, 609-
The Middlefield, Ohio town
council is considering an ordinance to
make horses wear diapers, for environ-
mental and public health reasons.
An estimated 30,000 to 60,000
of the 2.9 million quarter horses in the
U.S. are believed to carry a genetic defect
passed along by a particularly esteemed
stud that leaves them susceptible to poten-
tially fatal muscle spasms after eating
potassium-rich food such as alfalfa. ‘We
now have a nearly 100% accurate test to
see if a horse has the mutation, and we
could get rid of it in a single generation,”
says Dr. Eric Hoffman of the University of
Pittsburgh School of Medicine, who did
much of the necessary genetic detective
work. However, because many of the
genetically defective horses are show win-
ners, and because so many breeders have
heavy investments in the bloodline, the
American Quarter Horse Association is
apparently reluctant to respond with regu-
Killer-buyers are getting rough
with investigators, reports Ursula Liakos
of the Coalition Against the Horse
Slaughter Trade. Liakos told ANIMAL
PEOPLE that one woman doing inves-
tigative work for the group recently “had
her teeth punched out” by a killer-buyer
she confronted, and another had her cam-
era smashed. Further details are to be
revealed upon completion of the present
probe, which focuses on the sale and trans-
port of horses to Canada. The horses are
slaughtered upon arrival at any of four
major packing plants––three in Ontario,
one in Quebec––and their meat is sold to
European nations. France is the leading
Judge Thomas Riordan of the
Court of Queen’s Bench in Newcastle,
New Brunswick , ruled October 14 that
four work horses who were to have been
shot according to the provisions of rescuer
Clive Wishart’s will could instead be
turned over to the King’s Landing
Historical Settlement, where they will per-
form traditional tasks as part of a tourist
attraction. Wishart, who died in 1991,
willed that the horses should be shot
because he feared they would be abused if
he wasn’t around to take care of them. He
had purchased them from a man who used
them in pulling contests and a commercial
sleigh-ride concession. After a month of
deliberation, however, Riordan ruled that
shooting the healthy horses would be abu-
sive in itself. The case came to court after
the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
refused to do the shooting.
A horse named Stitches found a
good home in Madison, Mississippi, on
October 10, almost three years to the day
after Legislation In Support of Animals
first rescued her from prolonged abuse.
About 550 pounds underweight when ini-
tially seized, Stitches recovered once,
was returned to her original owner by a
judge, and was starved again. While
LISA fruitlessly pursued repeated reports
that Stitches had been abandoned in the
woods, Denise Sudbeck of Madison saw
her in a parking lot, bought her, and has
nursed her back to health.
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