N.Y. Racing Assn. bans selling horses to slaughter
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2010:
NEW YORK–The New York Racing Association on December 11,
2009 announced that it would bar from competition any horse owner or
trainer who is caught selling horses for slaughter. The association
“also urged horsemen who are part of what is widely considered the
premier racing circuit in the nation to support rescue and adoption
efforts, and to find humane ways of dealing with horses who are
unable to continue racing,” reported Joe Drape of the New York Times.
The New York Racing Association governs horse racing at three
of the most prestigious tracks in the U.S.: Aqueduct, Belmont Park,
and Saratoga. The two latter host the second and third events in the
horse racing Triple Crown series, which begins each spring with the
Kentucky Derby in Louisville.
The racing association crackdown came after more than 170
starving horses were found in April 2009 at Center Brook Farm in
Climax, New York. Property owner Ernie Paragallo was barred from
racing in New York, and in August 2009 was charged with 35 counts of
“The scandal erupted,” recalled Drape, “after horse
advocates discovered that Paragallo-owned horses were earmarked for
slaughter in ‘kill pens.'”
Allegedly illegal slaughter of former racehorses came to
public notice in Miami-Dade County, Florida, just a week after the
New York Racing Association acted.
Florida law allows horses to be slaughtered for human
consumption only if the consumer owns the horse. The Calder Race
Course in Miami-Dade has “zero tolerance” for owners and trainers who
illegally sell horses to slaughter, spokesperson Michele Blanco told
Alexia Campbell of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
But Animal Recovery Mission founder Richard Couto, a former
South Florida SPCA investigator, on December 17, 2009 recognized
two former racehorses at an alleged illegal slaughterhouse and called
police. Calder Race Course trainer Laurie Goedecke, of Davie,
Florida, identified the horses from a newspaper photo as two she had
worked with, one of whom she believed had been retired and adopted
“But Dance Hall Graeme, offspring of 1973 Triple Crown
winner Secretariat, was later euthanized. The filly [found with
him] is slowly recovering at Goedecke’s friend’s farm in Southwest
Ranches,” wrote Campbell.
Couto has for about two years documented and tried to close a
neighborhood of alleged illegal slaughterhouses in Miami-Dade. Kim
Segal and John Zarrella of CNN profiled his campaign on December 28,
In July 2008 Couto helped to rescue and later adopted another
descendant of Secretariat named Freedom’s Flight, whose ancestors
also included 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew.