Sexually exploiting horses for fun, profit, and advancement of science

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1997:

The rare sentencing of two serial
sexual assailants of mares in less
than six weeks leaves horse people
less relieved than fearful.
Found not guilty by reason of
insanity or mental defect of sexually
assaulting a pregnant mare on June
1, 1996, Sterling Rachwal, 33, of
Weyauwega County, Wisconsin,
was on May 13 sent to a state mental
institution for up to 18 and a half
years––two thirds of the 28-year
maximum for conviction.

Rachwal had similar convictions
in 1982, 1984, and 1988, and
when arrested last year was awaiting
retrial after a successful appeal of a
conviction for allegedly sexually
assaulting three horses who were
euthanized due to their injuries.
“Whatever causes this defendant
to act in this fashion is a problem
of long standing that won’t be
cured in a couple of years,” assistant
district attorney James
Fassbender told the court. But there
is apparently no minimum time that
Rachwal must be confined. He was
to have served 14 years in prison for
the 1993 assaults.
Paul Millhouse, 49, of
Spring Valley, California, on May
13 pleaded guilty to misdemeanor
lewd conduct, as charges of sexual
assault and trespassing were
dropped. On June 10, municipal
court judge Larrie Brainard barred
Millhouse from entering the city of
Lakeside, where San Diego Zoo
spokesperson Joan Embery first
reported Millhouse for allegedly
sexually assaulting horses more than
a decade ago. Millhouse was
charged, however, only after two
private detectives hired by one of
Embery’s neighbors videotaped him
in the act of disrobing and fondling a
horse, then restrained him at the
scene until police came. Brainard
also ordered Millhouse to stay 200
yards from any livestock, to pay
$300 in fines and restitution, and to
seek counseling.
Objected defense attorney
Sujung Kim, “He does not hurt the
horses. We think it’s unreasonable
that the court ask him to stay away
from all animals.”
The difficulty of prosecuting
alleged sexual assaults on horses
was highlighted last year when Carol
Jackson, of Eagleville, Tennessee,
reported witnessing her neighbor
Earl Graves, 68, in the act of having
sexual intercourse with a miniature
mare in his carport. Finding no
law against bestiality in Tennessee,
sheriff’s deputies charged Graves
with indecent exposure. The case is
apparently still pending.
Even harder than prosecuting
alleged offenders is catching
them. Police in southern England,
the Washington D.C. area, and
Germany have been baffled for more
than 15 years by serial sexual mutilations
of mares, which along with
similar unsolved assaults in Tupelo,
Mississippi, and near Boston,
Massachusetts, may be mostly the
work of one individual. Five such
attacks in three weeks, all in southern
England, followed the May ITV
broadcast of a series, Touching Evil,
which featured the investigation.
Over the years, at least 27 men in
England and three in Germany have
been questioned, and in one German
case a man confessed to nine such
assaults, reportedly driven by hatred
of women, but a resident of
Garmissen, Germany, suspected of
sexually attacking mares with a
stiletto and a curved saber, may
have escaped prosecution because
the key evidence, a marked map,
was apparently lost when his abandoned
car was crushed for scrap.
The assaults, progressively
more frequent and vicious,
occurred mainly in England, 1981-
1993, but included similar attacks in
Virginia in 1990-1991, clustered
around major holidays, and in
Maryland between August 26 and
October 5, 1993. Parallel attacks
began in northern Germany in 1992,
coinciding with escalated activity in
Hampshire, England, a long ferry
ride away. Between then and mid1996,
more than 300 German horses
were attacked, 10 times as many as
in England; 89 were fatally injured.
Then came a nine-month lull.
“You have people who
rape a woman and then turn against
her for what they’ve done,” Scotland
Yard detective chief inspector
Des Thomas speculated in 1993.
“We may have a person who has a
sexual attraction to a horse, who
then feels disgusted with himself.”
PMU mares
Hope that sexually related
alleged mistreatment of horses, on a
vastly larger scale, might soon end
through marketplace competition
was set back, meanwhile, when the
Food and Drug Administration
rejected the applications of Barr
Laboratories and Duramed Pharmaceuticals
to market synthetic estrogen
supplements as generic alternatives
to Premarin, the Wyeth-Ayerst
product produced from pregnant
mares’ urine, or PMU. About
65,000 mares kept at the 483 PMU
farms currently active––mostly in
Canada, some in North Dakota––
spend September through May of
each year confined to indoor stalls,
wearing urine collection cups. Most
of the foals they birth each June are
sold for slaughter.
expose of the PMU industry published
in April 1993, citing reports
by the Canadian Farm Animal
Concerns Trust, led to Premarin
boycotts by Friends of Animals,
PETA, the International Generic
Horse Association/HorseAid, and
the Animal Protection Institute.
Many more animal protection organizations
have endorsed the boycott,
including Project Equus, an arm of
Animal Rights Mobilization, whose
literature kit includes extensive
background on efforts to defend
Premarin led by Wyeth-Ayerst and
the North American Equine
Ranching Information Council.
(Project Equus, POB 6989,
Denver, CO 80206.)
About 6.5 million of the
estimated eight million postmenopausal
women who take estrogen
supplements use Premarin,
worth $860 million in sales during
1996, believed to be the most lucrative
of all prescription drugs.
Spinoff horsemeat sales to
Europe and Japan are also increasingly
Ipswich Equine Rescue,
of Ipswich, Massachusetts, is trying
to buy Premarin foals at slaughter
auctions, according to IER supporter
Greta Marsh. But the effort may
chiefly help to support the auction
prices, to the advantage of the farmers.
Rescued foals will compete
against wild horses and others for
adoption placement; more of the
others may be slaughtered instead.
Stallions, too “A 22-year-old horse was
repeatedly raped, tortured, and in
the end butchered at the Western
College of Veterinary Medicine over
a period of several weeks,” an
anonymous letter to A N I M A L
P E O P L E recently alleged––but it
came with shocking documentation
from the March 1997 edition of the
Canadian Veterinary Journal.
Wrote researchers Claire
E. Card, Stephen T. Manning, Pam
Bowman, and Taryn Leibel, “Both
forelimbs” of the emaciated horse
“trembled when bearing weight.
Bilateral carpal enlargement was
present and both joints were displaced…
The stallion had extreme
difficulty in balancing when a foreleg
was lifted. The left forelimb had
a valgus deformity. The flexor tendors
of both forelegs were chronically
bowed. The horse walked reluctantly,
using a slow shuffling gait.
The master problem list included
poor body condition, chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiac
disease, chronic musculoskeletal
disease of the forelimbs, and
generalized weakness.”
Despite all that, and evident
“poor libido,” they reported,
“Breeding or semen collection was
attempted” for about six weeks
“using natural cover, manual stimulation,
artificial vagina, pharmacologic
induction of ejaculation, and
After the latter, involving
the insertion of an electrode into the
horse’s rectum, “the horse stretched
out into lateral recumbency, and
suffered cardiac arrest.”
Translation: he died.
[The Western College of
Veterinary Medicine: c/o University
of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon,
Saskatchewan, Canada S7N 0W0.]

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